Interview with a Nutritarian: Sue

As a Grandma to three energetic grandsons, Sue is thankful to have lost the 117 pounds that she was carrying around on her small, 5’ 2-1/2” frame. She’s your typical American woman who was caught in the downward spiral of yo-yo dieting, malnutrition and poor health as a result of the dieting industry; that is, until she was introduced to eating for health. Welcome to Disease Proof, Sue.   

 

before and after weight lossWhat was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian eating-style?

When I was 28-years-old I weighed 245 pounds and wore a size 22.  Climbing the stairs caused me to be out of breath, and leisurely walks and bike rides were tiring. In our house we ate a steady diet of McDonalds, pizza, roast beef with mashed potatoes, and we didn’t eat fruits and vegetables except for some occasional sweet corn. Needless to say, my body was starving for nutrition and I didn't even know it.

When my son started school, I decided that I would lose some weight, so I started the cycle of yo-yo dieting.  I tried many different diets: Weight Watchers, Protein Power, Atkins, The Carbohydrate Addicts’ Diet, and Pure Weight Loss...these diets worked temporarily, but I always gained the weight back. Nothing made me healthy, and I was always on a continual search for a quick fix to lose unwanted pounds.

However, at the end of my 89-year-old mother’s life, I spent time assisting her in a nursing home. Watching her in physical therapy trying to do simple tasks like lifting her hands above her head made me realize that I needed to take care of myself NOW! That was my “wake-up call.” 

    

How did you feel then?

I didn’t feel well.  I was pre-diabetic, lethargic, and my legs, feet and back hurt.  I intentionally stayed away from my doctor, because I was afraid of what he might find. 

 

How did you find out about ETL?

I joined a 12-week weight loss program, led and taught by Dr. Kachmann, a neurosurgeon in Fort Wayne who introduced me to a healthy lifestyle. At one of the sessions, Emily Boller shared her story of how she became healthy as a result of following Dr. Fuhrman’s books, Eat to Live and Eat for Health. I bought Eat to Live and couldn’t put it down. 

 

How do you feel now?

I’m totally energized and no longer pre-diabetic.  I walk for exercise; plus, I take yoga classes 5 days / week.  I have three grandsons and I can keep up with them; even from opening to closing at Disney World for five days in a row!

 

 

Before

Current

Weight

245 lbs

128 lbs

Waist Circumference

46”

 29”

Hips

59”

 40”

Chest

47

 33”

Fasting blood sugar

120 (at age 16)

 81

 

      before and after weight loss portraits

Do you have any success tip(s) to share with others?

  • Put your health first.

  • Read "Eat to Live." Mark it up and know what it says. 

  • Eat high nutrient foods, and don’t worry about weight loss as you’ll naturally become thin, healthy and happy as a result.

  • Take your time and get used to eating correctly.  Your body will love you for it!

     

In a nutshell, what has nutritarian eating done for you? 

At age 61, I’m now healthy and eat lots of fruits, vegetables and beans, and very little meat; plus, I’m no longer bound by counting calories and points, and the downward cycle of yo-yo dieting.  Eat to Live has changed my life!  

Congratulations to a healthy and energetic Grandma . . . for years to come!

Childhood diet linked to asthma prevalence, adult diet linked to asthma severity

Asthma has skyrocketed in the U.S. – the prevalence of asthma doubled between 1986 and 2005. Obesity is known to mechanically compromise proper function of the lungs and airways and is associated with asthma-related inflammation. Increased prevalence of asthma in obese individuals has been demonstrated in several studies, and there exists a dose-response relationship such that as BMI increases, asthma risk increases. Obesity is thus an independent risk factor for asthma. It is now widely believed that the rise in childhood obesity is a causative factor for the recent rise in asthma. [1, 2]

Inhaler. Photo credit: net_efekt (Flickr)

In addition to obesity, metabolic abnormalities in children and teens, such as high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and hyperinsulinemia, regardless of body weight have now been associated with asthma. This means that even if a child is of normal BMI, the standard American diet is likely taking its toll on lung function, producing early metabolic abnormalities that may set the stage for asthma, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic disease. [3]

In adults who already have asthma, previous data has been inconclusive when trying to determine whether obesity affects asthma severity. However, there is a strong connection between poor nutrition and asthma, including evidence that a single high-calorie, low-nutrient meal can spark airway inflammation, which can exacerbate asthma symptoms. Asthmatic adults consuming a single high-calorie, low nutrient meal, high in animal protein and added fat (1,000 calories worth of fast food hamburgers and hash browns) showed increased airway inflammation four hours later. Researchers compared this to a 200 calorie meal, which did not increase inflammation. [4]

Obesity, resulting from the cumulative effects of years of overeating low-nutrient, high-calorie food is a risk factor for asthma. However, deleterious effects of a low-nutrient diet on lung function occur even in the short term, and can begin early in life. Collectively, these studies tell us that asthma is another disease whose major causes include poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle.

Since asthma is both a lifestyle- and inflammation-related disease, dietary changes and weight loss are effective at improving asthma symptoms. A high-nutrient diet floods the body with protective micronutrients, reduces inflammation, and promotes weight loss – allowing the body to resolve the risk factors for asthma mentioned above (obesity, high cholesterol, etc.). Dr. Fuhrman has had much success using a high-nutrient diet to treat patients with asthma – many recover completely and no longer need asthma medication. He recently conducted a survey of hundreds of nutritarians, in which 82% of respondents with asthma reported a significant improvement in their symptoms after switching to a high-nutrient diet. Here is just one example:

“Dr. Fuhrman has truly been a blessing to me and my family. My husband has lost weight as so has my 11-year-old son. My son had put on a lot of weight and has asthma, making it almost impossible to complete the running portion of a physical challenge in gym class. But a couple of weeks ago, I had tears in my eyes as he crossed the finish line without wheezing!

I have more energy and have never felt this good. I tell everyone I know about Eat To Live and Eat For Health and will continue to sing Dr. Fuhrman’s praises.

-Jean”

 

References:

 

1. Sutherland, E.R., Obesity and asthma. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am, 2008. 28(3): p. 589-602, ix.
2. Canoz, M., et al., The relationship of inflammatory cytokines with asthma and obesity. Clin Invest Med, 2008. 31(6): p. E373-9.
3. Cottrell, L., et al., Metabolic Abnormalities in Children with Asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 2010.
4. High-fat meals a no-no for asthma patients, researchers find. ScienceDaily. , in American Thoracic Society 2010 International Conference. 2010: New Orleans, LA.

 

Be immersed in a nutritarian lifestyle!

 Dr. Fuhrman's upcoming Weekend Immersion is being held January 14-16, 2011 at The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village in Princeton, NJ.

Be immersed in a nutritarian lifestyle:

Health Getaways

  • Seven lectures presented by Dr. Fuhrman that will transform your thinking about health and disease
  • Dr. Fuhrman's great-tasting high nutrient cuisine at every meal that is sure to satisfy;
  • Recipe and menu planning instruction that will inspire and spark your culinary skills;
  • Exercise classes
  • A warm, friendly environment to make connections, build relationships, gain knowledge to control the future of your health and have fun!

When you leave stay connected with a FREE 1 month subscription to Dr. Fuhrman's Member Support Center.

 


Read more!

 

Metabolic rate: the slower, the better

“Metabolism” has become quite a buzzword in our culture. Weight gain or inability to lose weight is often blamed on having a slow metabolism and the prevailing myth is that a faster metabolism is preferable, because it would lead to weight loss. However, having a fast metabolism does not mean that you are healthier – in fact, it may cause you to age more quickly. Many supplements claim to increase your metabolism and promote weight loss, but these are merely stimulants. Instead of trying to increase your metabolism with the goal of losing weight, I say, get your body to run on fewer calories and slow your metabolism for a longer, healthier life.

A new study on thyroid function and longevity in families supports my view. This research is part of the Leiden Longevity Study in the Netherlands, in which recruited families had at least two siblings were alive and had reached age 90 or older – these individuals are referred to as “nonagenarian siblings”.

Since thyroid function is influenced by genetics, and thyroid hormone regulates both basal metabolic rate (energy expenditure at rest with an inactive digestive system) and overall daily energy expenditure [1], the researchers studied thyroid function and longevity in nonagenarian siblings and their family members. [2, 3]

In a study published earlier this year, it was established that middle-aged children of nonagenarian siblings had altered thyroid function compared to a control group. They tended to have higher levels of thyrotropin and lower levels of thyroxine (T4) and free triiodothyronine (free T3 – active form of the hormone), indicating lower thyroid function and therefore lower metabolic rate.[2]

A second study measured thyroid hormone levels in nonagenarian siblings and correlations to longevity of their parents. Low thyroid activity in nonagenarian siblings was indeed associated with their parents’ lifespans.[3] The average lifespan of the parents of nonagenarian siblings was an impressive 93 years.

These studies suggest that hereditary factors associated with metabolic rate (thyroid function) are associated with lifespan. This means that taking steps to slow metabolic rate, rather than accelerate it, could be beneficial.

How might a higher metabolic rate promote aging?

One theory is that increased energy expenditure shortens lifespan – that the human body works somewhat like a machine – if it is forced to work too hard and too fast, it will “wear out” more quickly. In a number of small mammal species, daily energy expenditure is indeed inversely related to lifespan, supporting this theory.[4] Accordingly, caloric restriction has been consistently shown to prolong maximal lifespan up to 60% in a variety of species.[5] By reducing calorie intake and still meeting micronutrient demands, daily energy demands are also reduced. Eating predominantly high nutrient, low calorie foods can help to achieve this effect – the body’s micronutrient requirements are satisfied with fewer calories, leading to reduced energy intake and therefore reduced energy demand.

Oxidative damage resulting from the continuous production of reactive oxygen species (as a byproduct of energy metabolism) over time is a related theory of aging.[6] A high nutrient diet would also be effective in this case, since whole plant foods provide both variety and abundance of antioxidants.

The point is we want to eat a diet with excellent micronutrient quality, we will not be hungry as often, we will be comfortable with eating less, and our metabolic rate will slow so that we can eat less and not get too thin.

Don’t buy into the myth – when it comes to metabolism, faster is not better.

 

References:

1. Kim, B., Thyroid hormone as a determinant of energy expenditure and the basal metabolic rate. Thyroid, 2008. 18(2): p. 141-4.
2. Rozing, M.P., et al., Low serum free triiodothyronine levels mark familial longevity: the Leiden Longevity Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 2010. 65(4): p. 365-8.
3. Rozing, M.P., et al., Familial Longevity Is Associated with Decreased Thyroid Function. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2010.
4. Speakman, J.R., et al., Living fast, dying when? The link between aging and energetics. J Nutr, 2002. 132(6 Suppl 2): p. 1583S-97S.
5. Fontana, L., The scientific basis of caloric restriction leading to longer life. Curr Opin Gastroenterol, 2009. 25(2): p. 144-50.
6. Hulbert, A.J., et al., Life and death: metabolic rate, membrane composition, and life span of animals. Physiol Rev, 2007. 87(4): p. 1175-213.

 

Moms, we really do have the most influence

Emily Boller as newbornI was born at the tale end of the infamous Baby Boom. This picture was taken on the day that I was brought home from the hospital.  My parents were of “The Greatest Generation”; a term coined by journalist, Tom Brokaw, to describe the generation who were children during the Great Depression and teens/young adults during World War II. This generation of youth learned the value of sacrifice, hard work and commitment. I remember my mom saying how much she loved the first weeks of spring as a child to be able to go out and pick dandelion greens for supper, because fresh food sources were so scarce after the long winter months. A few years later she mourned the death of her brother, a young soldier fighting in Europe, as she herself helped with the war effort by growing a Victory Garden. Women all across America grew lush vegetable gardens; supplying over 40% of the nation’s food, on top of carefully rationing additional food supplies.1

 

Fast forward three decades. 

  • Teen girls traded growing and preparing food for after school activities. 
  • A magical applicance called a 'microwave' was introduced.
  • At the touch of a button food could be instantly heated.
  • Pre-packaged and processed meals flourished. 
  • These young women eventually married and started families of their own. 
  • They met friends at McDonald’s Play Land for their toddlers' play dates. 
  • Happy Meals replaced green beans and carrots. 
  • Carbonated drinks replaced glasses of cool water. 
  • Coupon clipping for artificially flavored, processed food replaced working in the garden.   

 

Fast forward another decade; the Happy Meal toddlers became teens. 

  • Soccer and dance practices replaced the family dinner hour. 
  • Traditional, sit down meals became a thing of the past. 
  • No longer was anyone home at the same time. 
  • Big Macs 'supersized' replaced Happy Meals.
  • Dad nuked cold spaghetti in the microwave and watched the evening news . . . alone. 
  • Thankfully, Death by Chocolate ice-cream was in the freezer.

 

Emily Boller as a child eating an ice cream coneWhen I was a kid, ice cream cones were rare commodities reserved only for very special occasions.  However, when I became a mother, the 99 cent cones at McDonald’s were routine lifesavers. Sure, freshly cleaned grapes would have been a better choice, but the drive thru was more convenient to a busy soccer mom. Unfortunately, I raised most of my kids in the fast lane on waffles, processed cereals, pizzas, chicken nuggets, mac n’cheese, pot roasts, “homemade" beef n’ noodles, and plenty of chips, sweets, and junk food in-between.

I recently asked my 21-year-old son, who now freely chooses high nutrient foods over the junk he was raised on, what has influenced his healthy choices the most. His reply was seeing the impact that nutrition has made on his mother’s life, and the healthy example now set at home.

Last year I wrote a post titled, “Moms, we have the most influence.”

I still believe it.  

 

 

 
                                  

1.  wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_garden

image credits:  Emily Boller's family archives

          

Back to school time!

It’s September again, the beginning of a new school year. Healthy school lunches have generated heated discussions lately. Childhood obesity is a growing problem. The nutritional quality of the National School Lunch Program has been criticized by many, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution was a TV hit, and most recently a USDA study determined that students who eat lunches provided by the National School Lunch Program are more likely to become overweight.

Unfortunately, it will probably take years for policy changes to improve the National School Lunch Program. For now, families can take charge of their health by packing healthy lunches to bring to school and work. Kids who enjoy eating healthy food can then set a good nutritional example for their friends and teachers in the school cafeteria.

Rose LoPiano, a young nutritarian student, took this idea one step further – she spread the word in her school about healthy eating by writing an essay about the merits of her high nutrient diet, called “A Better Choice Today, Longer Life Tomorrow.” This essay helped to earn her a place in an honors English class for the 2010-11 school year, and probably influenced many of her classmates.

Thanks to Rose for allowing us to reprint her essay here on Disease Proof! Great job, Rose!

A Better Choice Today, Longer Life Tomorrow

                Our society today is fueled by processed foods, animal products, dairy products, and sugary substances. The Standard American Diet which is based on the foods listed above is killing our people. Currently, eighty-five percent of the nation’s healthcare costs come from diet- related illnesses such as strokes and heart attacks. The only way to combat that and the Standard American Diet is to become a nutritarian. Nutritarians strive to consume more foods  with skyrocketing nutritional values, and food that is beneficial to their health. It is pivotal to make the change to a nutritarian lifestyle because of the harmful effects the Standard American Diet has on individuals, more energy from nutritarian eating, and it promotes health and longer life. It may seem challenging to eat  little else but nutrient dense foods, but the lifelong benefits it promises are worth it.

                The first key reason to being a nutritarian is to avoid the lethal effects the Standard American Diet has on individuals. By consuming a low intake of unrefined plant foods on that diet, the immune system becomes weakened. Therefore, frequent illness and premature death can occur. A diet consisting of animal products, pasta, fried food, and sugar are the building blocks of disease. Secondly, by eating foods without nutritional value and no antioxidants, waste products build up inside cells that lack necessary material needed for proper function. The average American consumes only seven percent of their calories from nutritional foods. Furthermore, adding fruits and vegetables to the Standard American Diet is not enough. To be a true nutritarian, individuals must make nutrient dense foods such as green vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes the center of their diet. Abandoning the Standard American Diet and becoming a nutritarian will increase one’s energy and productivity levels.

                A nutritarian lifestyle also gives individuals more energy and drive to complete tasks throughout the day. Firstly, being a nutritarian increases one’s stamina. Therefore, one will have more vigor to exercise and fully enjoy recreational activities. Secondly, being a nutritarian reduces fatigue which plagues many working people throughout the day. Empty calorie foods on the Standard American Diet makes one feel sluggish and lazy. Most importantly, nutritarian eating improves bodily functions, increases brain power, and promotes health.

                Lastly, being a nutritarian promotes health and combats disease. If individuals follow the eating routine of a nutritarian exactly, many diseases can be prevented and combated. Diseases such as type two diabetes, heart problems, strokes, cancer, and circulatory impediments can be healed and reversed. Furthermore, one can maintain a youthful complexion, age slower, have vigor and stamina, and live much longer. These results are proved and supported with years of medical studies and thousands of success stories. Because of eating those foods strictly from nature, one’s health can be preserved, and diseases can be reversed and healed.

                In conclusion, being a nutritarian can benefit one’s health incredulously. It is vital to be a nutritarian rather than a victim of the processed and fatty eating of the Standard American Diet. If one looks closely at the first letters of the words “Standard American Diet,” it spells out the word “sad.” That is completely true. This diet most Americans are on deters their health completely. Even though nutritarian eating can be difficult to switch to, it can taste delicious and gourmet with extra effort. Secondly, nutritarian eating satisfies every craving of the body. Backed by medical research, this way of life is the key to living longer without disease, illness, or the use of prescription medications. By eating food strictly from nature only, one can add up to twenty more years onto their life. It is never too late to become a nutritarian. If one wants to enjoy life to its fullest, being a nutritarian is the way to achieve that goal.

Rose LoPiano

April 30, 2010

Grade 8

Interview with a Nutritarian: Theresa

I first met Theresa on the member center of DrFuhrman.com on the day that she announced reaching her 100 lb weight-loss milestone. I was ecstatic when I read it, but what I didn’t know at the time was just how desperate she was to get her health back. Prior to discovering nutritarian eating, three of Theresa’s family members had died within a ten month period of time, and she was ready to do anything to eradicate chronic disease and premature death from her life. Although that was a very sad time for her, it produced a passionate desire to do anything to get well. Welcome to Disease Proof, Theresa.       

before and after female

What was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian eating-style? 

I had always been pudgy and had tried numerous diets over the years: low-fat, Weight Watchers, Atkins, Slim Fast, etc. I would lose some weight and then go right back to eating anything when I couldn’t afford the diet anymore. It seemed like eating “normal” like everyone else caused me to gain weight.

In the summer of 2008 I got married, and that happiest day of my life was also the worst day of my life due to the fact that I was the heaviest that I had ever been. When I looked in the mirror, I couldn't believe what I saw; at 5'2" I weighed 227 lbs. I was horrified.

At age 47, I was on cholesterol medicine and knew that diabetes and heart problems were just around the corner for me. It was an effort to walk a short distance, and even tying my shoes became a challenge. I was having chest pains and afraid that I was getting close to my first heart attack. I became desperate and had given up hope that I would ever get in control of my eating and health.  

 

How did you find out about ETL?

I went to a local health food store, and a store employee, no more than twenty-years-old, had just lost 130 lbs by following Eat to Live.  He briefly explained Dr. Fuhrman’s high nutrient eating style to me, and said that he wasn’t hungry and was healthier than ever before. I wanted to live.... so I ran out and bought the book. I started the following Monday by cleaning out the kitchen cupboards and haven't looked back.

 

How do you feel now?

I’ve lost 102 lbs with 21 more to go to reach my ideal weight of 104 lbs. I’ve gone from size 20 to a size 2.  I now have energy and stamina, and I’m no longer on cholesterol medication; plus, my skin has even become soft and clear.

I now ride a bike, and have a membership at the Y where I swim and walk. I also love exercising on my little rebounder trampoline at home.  My goal is to run a 5 K fundraiser next spring for my sisters and friends who have died of cancer; and I know I will make it!

 

BEFORE

CURRENT

WEIGHT

 227 lbs

 125 lbs

CHOLESTEROL

 227 (Dec. ’08)                

 182 (Dec. ’09)

LDL

 148

 109

HDL

  65

  59

BLOOD PRESSURE

 140 / 90

 112 / 65

WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE

 40 inches

 26.5 inches

 

 Do you have any success tip(s) to share with others? 

  • "Keep it simple." I have found that keeping this a low key, natural part of my life has been easy. I cook pots of soups and beans once or twice a week so I can grab them on-the-go.
  • Make wonderful salsas and experiment with new spices to replace salt. 
  • Try to make a new dish every week.
  • Follow Dr. Fuhrman’s food pyramid. Eat the favorite foods that you like in the quantities that he prescribes. You will lose weight and feel fantastic!

In a nutshell, what has nutritarian eating done for you?  

I am making choices that are best for my health and absolutely having an adventure doing it! Nutritarian eating has given me hope and my life back!

 

Congratulations Theresa for earning your health and life back ~ keep up the great work!

 

Weight-loss drug Meridia increases heart attack and stroke risk

Meridia (Sibutramine) is an appetite suppressant, and is prescribed by physicians to help obese individuals lose weight. Meridia works by blocking the reuptake of certain neurotransmitters in the brain related to appetite. Meridia was shown to reduce food intake and body weight compared to placebo in several trials[1]. However there is no such thing as a drug without side effects.

Concerns regarding adverse cardiovascular events led to a large clinical trial in order to assess Meridia’s safety In 2009, preliminary results from the trial prompted European health officials to withdraw the drug from the market. The final results were published in 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine, and due to those results, the manufacturer stopped producing Meridia. [2] 

The trial evaluated cardiovascular events in subjects assigned to either Meridia or placebo over approximately three years. The trial’s 10,000 participants were overweight or obese individuals over age 55 with either cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, or both. The average weight loss on Meridia was 9.5 lbs. Although the researchers found no increase in death rates among Meridia users, they did find a 28% increase in risk of heart attack, and a 36% increase in risk of stroke. [3]

Weight loss is beneficial for overall health, in part because it helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. So essentially, this drug had the exact opposite of its intended effect. Plus the weight loss in this trial was miniscule – 9.5 lbs. is inconsequential for someone who is obese. The Nutritarian diet-style has helped many people lose 50 lbs., 100 lbs., or more and keep it off. Plus healthy eating does not carry an increased risk of cardiovascular events – it only reduces risk.

The bottom line: there are no shortcuts to weight loss or to good health.

 

References:

1. Tziomalos, K., G.E. Krassas, and T. Tzotzas, The use of sibutramine in the management of obesity and related disorders: an update. Vasc Health Risk Manag, 2009. 5(1): p. 441-52.
2. Heavey, S. Diet drug Meridia study renews calls for U.S. ban. 9/1/2010 9/9/2010]; Available from: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38962866/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/.
3. James, W.P., et al., Effect of sibutramine on cardiovascular outcomes in overweight and obese subjects. N Engl J Med, 2010. 363(10): p. 905-17.

 

Low-carb, high-protein diet increases risk of death from all causes

The low-carb fad has had its peak, and although it is declining in popularity, the myth persists that eating lots of meat and little or no ‘carbs’ is a great way to lose weight.

Plenty of studies have established that low-carb diets are moderately effective for weight loss over periods of 6 months to 2 years[1-3], though much of the weight lost initially is typically regained. This may be a better option than the processed food-soda diet many other Americans consume, so of course they are moderately effective – the number of calories consumed decreases as refined carbohydrates are eliminated from the diet. Low-carbohydrate diets cause people to lose some weight but at what cost? The short durations of these studies meant that they could not determine whether the diets are sustainable for long-term health. The current state of the medical literature would suggest that they are not – there is abundant data associating high meat consumption with adverse outcomes: weight gain, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and all-cause mortality, just to name a few.[4-10] I have been warning for years that the long-term outcome of meat-based diets would not be favorable.

A long-term observational study of low-carbohydrate diets has finally been published this Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and the results are intriguing. This study by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health is the nail in the coffin of the low-carb, high-protein myth. The article details data from a prospective study in which 130,000 total participants provided information about their eating habits and were followed for a minimum of twenty years – this is true long-term data. At baseline, none of the participants had heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. The researchers classified the participants’ diets according to degree of adherence to the following dietary patterns: overall low-carbohydrate, animal-based low-carbohydrate, and high-vegetable low carbohydrate. They then compared death rates between the highest and lowest adherence groups for each pattern.

The authors’ conclusions: A low-carbohydrate diet rich in animal foods was associated with a 23% increased risk of death from all causes (14% increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease). In contrast, a low-carbohydrate diet rich in vegetables was associated with a 20% decreased risk of death from all causes (23% decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease).[11]

The low-carb proponents had one thing right: the avoidance of refined carbohydrates – white flour, white rice, white pasta, added sugars, etc. are disease-promoting foods. However, the protein sources emphasized in most low-carb diets are micronutrient-poor animal products rather than micronutrient-packed plant products. The current study suggests that plant sources of protein (for example vegetables, nuts, beans, and seeds) promote longevity, whereas high protein animal foods have the opposite effect. This data supports the essential nutritional concept I illustrate with my health equation: Health = Nutrients / Calories. Micronutrient density determines the quality of one’s diet, and since animal products are deficient in micronutrients, they should be minimized. The authors agree that their results likely reflect the lack of protective fiber, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals in animal products. [12]

Many proponents of meat-based diets argue that the refined carbohydrate rather than the meat content of the American diet is to blame for our skyrocketing rates of chronic disease. However, too many studies contradict this opinion – and this study clearly demonstrates that choosing plant foods instead of animal foods, even within the context of minimal refined carbohydrate, promotes longevity.

There really should not be any controversy anymore about the health effects of low-carb, high-protein diets. This study (among others) confirms that the current amount of animal-source foods within the American diet should be reduced, not increased, and that meat-centered diets promote premature death; and that diets based predominantly on whole plant foods are lifespan-enhancing.

The “nutritarian” diet I recommend is unique because it focuses on consuming more of the highest micronutrient containing vegetation, as it reduces animal products to a condiment or minimal role held to less than 10 percent of total calories. Vegetables rule!

References:

1. Foster, G.D., et al., Weight and metabolic outcomes after 2 years on a low-carbohydrate versus low-fat diet: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med, 2010. 153(3): p. 147-57.
2. Brinkworth, G.D., et al., Long-term effects of a very-low-carbohydrate weight loss diet compared with an isocaloric low-fat diet after 12 mo. Am J Clin Nutr, 2009. 90(1): p. 23-32.
3. Sacks, F.M., et al., Comparison of weight-loss diets with different compositions of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. N Engl J Med, 2009. 360(9): p. 859-73.
4. Sinha, R., et al., Meat intake and mortality: a prospective study of over half a million people. Arch Intern Med, 2009. 169(6): p. 562-71.
5. Vergnaud, A.C., et al., Meat consumption and prospective weight change in participants of the EPIC-PANACEA study. Am J Clin Nutr, 2010. 92(2): p. 398-407.
6. Zheng, W. and S.-A. Lee, Well-Done Meat Intake, Heterocyclic Amine Exposure, and Cancer Risk. Nutrition and Cancer, 2009. 61(4): p. 437-446.
7. Key, T.J., et al., Mortality in vegetarians and nonvegetarians: detailed findings from a collaborative analysis of 5 prospective studies. Am J Clin Nutr, 1999. 70(3 Suppl): p. 516S-524S.
8. Ashaye, A., J. Gaziano, and L. Djousse, Red meat consumption and risk of heart failure in male physicians. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis, 2010.
9. Snowdon, D.A., R.L. Phillips, and G.E. Fraser, Meat consumption and fatal ischemic heart disease. Prev Med, 1984. 13(5): p. 490-500.
10. Aune, D., G. Ursin, and M.B. Veierod, Meat consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Diabetologia, 2009. 52(11): p. 2277-87.
11. Fung TT, v.D.R., Hankinson SE,Stampfer M, Willett WC, Hu FB, Low-Carbohydrate Diets and All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality: Two Cohort Studies. Ann Intern Med, 2010. 153(5): p. 289-298.
12. Fiore, K. Low-Carb Diet is Better When Rich in Veggies. 2010 September 7, 2010]; Available from: http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/DietNutrition/22035.

 

What does freedom mean to you?

American flagOn a recent visit to the Henry Ford Museum, I enjoyed perusing the Liberty and Justice for All exhibit; comprised of everything related to the history of American freedoms, including our Nation’s Independence, the Abolition of Slavery, Women’s Suffrage, and the Civil Right’s Movement. As one who is intrigued by mindsets that make a culture tick, I was attracted to a wall full of attendees’ interactive responses to the question, “What does freedom mean to you?”

Although the question was posed in the context of our nation’s freedoms, the majority of answers were related to personal freedoms. By far, the most popular answer went something like this, “Being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever your want, with whoever you want.” Basically, a life without boundaries meant freedom to most.

As I looked around the vast museum and observed the saddened faces of many obese individuals that day, chained to malaise and poor health, I couldn’t help but ask myself if eating whatever one wants truly leads to freedom.

In stark contrast, I've heard the following from the mouth of a wise sage, “In discipline there is freedom.” In other words, by living within the safety of boundaries, there is genuine freedom to do whatever one wants.

For example, eating only when hungry and choosing nutrient-dense foods brings: 

  • Freedom from joint pain and immobility
  • Freedom from bloating, brain fog and drowsiness 
  • Freedom from multiple doctors, expensive meds and surgeries
  • Freedom from invasive and potentially harmful medical interventions
  • Freedom to thoroughly enjoy the pleasure of eating great tasting, whole foods                  
  • Freedom to live at an ideal weight and feel good 
  • Freedom to ride a bike and play ball with the kids and/or grandkids 
  • Freedom to shovel snow without fear of a heart attack
  • Freedom to enjoy life to its fullest

bike riders

What we believe shapes who we are today, and who we become tomorrow.

As we think, so we become. 

What does freedom mean to you? 

 

 

image credits:  American flag, Flickr: by uhuru1701; bike ride, Flickr: by pcopros

Men with recurring prostate cancer not dying from prostate cancer

       Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men (second to skin cancer). It is well established that the death rate from prostate cancer is quite low:

  • Men in the U.S. have a 16% lifetime chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, but only a 3% chance of dying from it.[1]
  • The five-year and ten-year relative survival rates for prostate cancer are over 99% and 91%, respectively. [2]
  • The primary causes of death of men with prostate cancer are cardiovascular disease and other cancers.[3]

After treatment for prostate cancer (either radiation or prostatectomy), prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels continue to be monitored. If PSA begins to increase, this is called “biochemical recurrence” (BCR) of prostate cancer.

Biochemical recurrence and mortality

A study in U.S. veterans attempted to figure out how biochemical recurrence affected risk of dying from prostate cancer. Six hundred twenty three men were followed for 15 years after being treated for prostate cancer. In this study, 37% of men who were treated with prostatectomy and 48% of men who were treated with radiation experienced BCR.

Overall, a total of 387 men had died within 15 years – 48 of these men died of prostate cancer, representing 12% of total deaths. For men who underwent prostatectomy and experienced BCR, the total rate of death within five years was 34%, and the rate of prostate cancer death was 3%. For radiation and BCR, death rate within five years was 35%, and prostate cancer death rate was 11%.[4, 5]

In short, the researchers came to the conclusion that the probability of dying from prostate cancer, even after biochemical recurrence, is relatively small. They mention that their findings are in agreement with the often quoted phrase “most men die with prostate cancer, not of it.”

Since BCR is defined as an increase in PSA following treatment, this data also suggests that PSA levels may not be an accurate predictor of risk after treatment. Further studies will likely examine this issue.

Routine PSA screening

Routine PSA screening is known by the scientific community not to be as accurate or valuable as the public is led to believe. About 70% of men with elevated PSA do not actually have cancer, and PSA screening is not thought by scientists to reduce prostate cancer-related deaths.[6-8] Richard J. Ablin, who originally discovered PSA in 1970, recently called PSA screening a “hugely expensive public health disaster” in a New York Times editorial. Dr. Ablin supports his assertion with these facts:

  • FDA approval of PSA tests occurred largely in response to a study that found that PSA screening was only able to detect 3.8% of cancers, and that blood PSA levels may be elevated due to a number of factors, such as drug use, infections, and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
  • The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the American College of Preventive Medicine, and the American Cancer Society do not recommend routine PSA screening. However, PSA screening is still routinely used.[1]

Men should not rely on PSA screening as a method of “early detection” to prevent prostate cancer. Rather they should avoid the cause of prostate cancer. Diets high in vegetables (especially cruciferous vegetables and tomato products) and fruit, and low in dairy products, meat, and processed foods, are known to be protective.[9-11] Living and eating healthfully protects against prostate cancer, as well as the other chronic diseases common to Americans (such as heart disease, strokes, and colon cancer) – the same diseases that kill most men with prostate cancer. For those who already have prostate cancer, a healthy, plant-based diet is effective at halting progression of the disease.[12-15]

 

References:

1. Ablin, R.J., The Great Prostate Mistake, in New York Times. 2010. p. 27.
2. American Cancer Society. What are the key statistics about prostate cancer? 06/30/2010 09/02/2010]; Available from: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/ProstateCancer/DetailedGuide/prostate-cancer-key-statistics.
3. Ketchandji, M., et al., Cause of death in older men after the diagnosis of prostate cancer. J Am Geriatr Soc, 2009. 57(1): p. 24-30.
4. Uchio, E.M., et al., Impact of biochemical recurrence in prostate cancer among US veterans. Arch Intern Med, 2010. 170(15): p. 1390-5.
5. Harding, A. Even when prostate cancer returns, most survive. Reuters Health 08/25/10; Available from: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE67O4RR20100825?feedType=nl&feedName=ushealth1100.
6. Esserman, L., Y. Shieh, and I. Thompson, Rethinking Screening for Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2009. 302(15): p. 1685-1692.
7. Coldman, A.J., N. Phillips, and T.A. Pickles, Trends in prostate cancer incidence and mortality: an analysis of mortality change by screening intensity. CMAJ, 2003. 168(1): p. 31-5.
8. Andriole, G.L., et al., Mortality results from a randomized prostate-cancer screening trial. N Engl J Med, 2009. 360(13): p. 1310-9.
9. Steinbrecher, A., et al., Dietary glucosinolate intake and risk of prostate cancer in the EPIC-Heidelberg cohort study. Int J Cancer, 2009. 125(9): p. 2179-86.
10. van Breemen, R.B. and N. Pajkovic, Multitargeted therapy of cancer by lycopene. Cancer Lett, 2008. 269(2): p. 339-51.
11. Ma, R.W. and K. Chapman, A systematic review of the effect of diet in prostate cancer prevention and treatment. J Hum Nutr Diet, 2009. 22(3): p. 187-99; quiz 200-2.
12. Frattaroli, J., et al., Clinical events in prostate cancer lifestyle trial: results from two years of follow-up. Urology, 2008. 72(6): p. 1319-23.
13. Ornish, D., et al., Changes in prostate gene expression in men undergoing an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2008. 105(24): p. 8369-74.
14. Ornish, D., et al., Intensive lifestyle changes may affect the progression of prostate cancer. J Urol, 2005. 174(3): p. 1065-9; discussion 1069-70.
15. Fuhrman, J., Dr. Joel Fuhrman Case Study Series: Prostate Cancer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avoiding cow's milk may alleviate chronic constipation in children

The idea that cow’s milk is an essential component of the diet for young children is one of the biggest nutritional myths. Decades of marketing by the dairy industry has convinced most parents in the U.S. that milk and cheese are indispensible for childhood health, but this is simply not true. Cow’s milk was designed by nature to be the perfect food for baby cows – not for human children.

Since allergy to cow’s milk has been postulated to cause of chronic constipation in children, a gastroenterology research team in Spain evaluated a cow’s milk-free (CM-free) diet as a therapeutic measure for this condition. Sixty-nine children suffering from chronic constipation underwent alternating periods of a CM-free diet followed by reintroduction of cow’s milk. During the first CM-free phase, 51% of the children showed improvements in their symptoms. After cow’s milk was reintroduced, 39% of children developed constipation and then improved during the second CM-free phase. The improved symptoms were not the simple result of a cow’s milk allergy in the children who were ‘responders’ to the CM-free diet – there is some other mechanism at work, which is yet to be discovered.1

As discussed in Disease Proof Your Child, several adverse health effects in children have been attributed to dairy products:

  • There is a strong correlation between early exposure to cow’s milk and type 1 diabetes in children.2-8
  • Early (12 months of age) dairy consumption is also associated with excess body fat in children.9
  • Milk consumption in teenagers is associated with acne.10-12
  • Childhood diets rich in dairy products are associated with cancer in adulthood.13
  • Additional conditions associated with cow’s milk consumption include allergies, Crohn’s disease, ear infections, heart attack, multiple sclerosis, and prostate cancer.14

These are serious concerns, especially when you consider the huge amount of dairy products that some children consume, regardless of whether a child is a ‘responder’ with respect to the digestive complaints associated with cow’s milk. Dairy foods may supply needed calcium in those not eating any vegetables, but when you use less dairy and more high-calcium plant foods, you get lots of anti-cancer nutrients in the bargain. The modest micronutrient content in dairy can’t compare to vegetables and is vastly outweighed by its calorie content and associated health risks. Less animal source products and more vegetables is the secret to an anti-cancer lifestyle, and not merely to resolve constipation.

 

References:

1. Irastorza, I., et al., Cow's-milk-free diet as a therapeutic option in childhood chronic constipation. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 2010. 51(2): p. 171-6.
2. Soltesz, G., Worldwide childhood type 1 diabetes epidemiology. Endocrinol Nutr, 2009. 56 Suppl 4: p. 53-5.
3. Dahl-Jorgensen, K., G. Joner, and K.F. Hanssen, Relationship between cows' milk consumption and incidence of IDDM in childhood. Diabetes Care, 1991. 14(11): p. 1081-3.
4. Savilahti, E., et al., Increased levels of cow's milk and beta-lactoglobulin antibodies in young children with newly diagnosed IDDM. The Childhood Diabetes in Finland Study Group. Diabetes Care, 1993. 16(7): p. 984-9.
5. Virtanen, S.M., et al., Diet, cow's milk protein antibodies and the risk of IDDM in Finnish children. Childhood Diabetes in Finland Study Group. Diabetologia, 1994. 37(4): p. 381-7.
6. Kostraba, J.N., et al., Early exposure to cow's milk and solid foods in infancy, genetic predisposition, and risk of IDDM. Diabetes, 1993. 42(2): p. 288-95.
7. Gerstein, H.C., Cow's milk exposure and type I diabetes mellitus. A critical overview of the clinical literature. Diabetes Care, 1994. 17(1): p. 13-9.
8. Gerstein, H.C. and J. VanderMeulen, The relationship between cow's milk exposure and type 1 diabetes. Diabet Med, 1996. 13(1): p. 23-9.
9. Gunther, A.L., et al., Early protein intake and later obesity risk: which protein sources at which time points throughout infancy and childhood are important for body mass index and body fat percentage at 7 y of age? Am J Clin Nutr, 2007. 86(6): p. 1765-72.
10. Adebamowo, C.A., et al., Milk consumption and acne in teenaged boys. J Am Acad Dermatol, 2008. 58(5): p. 787-93.
11. Adebamowo, C.A., et al., Milk consumption and acne in adolescent girls. Dermatol Online J, 2006. 12(4): p. 1.
12. Adebamowo, C.A., et al., High school dietary dairy intake and teenage acne. J Am Acad Dermatol, 2005. 52(2): p. 207-14.
13. van der Pols, J.C., et al., Childhood dairy intake and adult cancer risk: 65-y follow-up of the Boyd Orr cohort. Am J Clin Nutr, 2007. 86(6): p. 1722-9.
14. Fuhrman, J., Disease Proof Your Child. 2005, New York: St. Martin's Griffin.