Eating for Health AND Weight

Earlier this week, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Dr. Dean Ornish entitled “Eating for Health, Not Weight.”

Dr. Ornish states, “Perhaps the biggest misconception is that as long as you lose weight, it doesn’t matter what you eat. But it does… Some diets that may help you lose weight may be harmful to your health over time.”

To illustrate his point, Dr. Ornish brought up a recent study that made news: the study compared three different diets all containing the same amount of calories: a low-fat, high-glycemic load diet, a moderate-glycemic load diet, and a very low-carbohydrate, low-glycemic load diet. The study aimed to figure out which type of diet would work best for maintenance of prior weight loss. A decrease in calorie expenditure (“slower metabolism”) is expected upon weight loss – when you weigh less, you require fewer calories. The researchers found that the very low carbohydrate diet produced the smallest decrease in calorie expenditure compared to pre-weight loss levels. The conclusion was that the low-carb diet may be preferable for maintaining weight loss, because the smaller decrease in calorie expenditure would theoretically make it possible to eat more calories than on the other diets and maintain the same weight.1

News like this sends a dangerous message to the American public, making low-carbohydrate diets seem very attractive: “as long as you lose weight, it doesn’t matter what you eat. Dr. Ornish adds, “never underestimate the power of telling people what they want to hear — like cheeseburgers and bacon are good for you.”

A faster metabolism does not mean better health; in fact, it likely means the opposite. Also, the number of calories burned daily on each of these diets is irrelevant because it is probable that none of the diets were healthful (the actual foods eaten on these diets were not reported, only details on carbohydrate, protein, and fat content). Weight, though important, is not the only measure of health. Based mainly on low-nutrient animal products, low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets are associated with impaired endothelial cell function, increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and greater incidence of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all causes.2-6  What good is weight loss if the weight loss diet brings on heart disease, diabetes, and/or cancer?

Dr. Ornish makes an excellent point in his article. The only thing is, we should also make the point that the diet-style most favorable for health is also the most favorable for weight loss. You don’t have to choose one or the other.

Putting the emphasis on health instead of weight takes one off the dieting merry-go-round, and into a healthful, sustainable eating style that produces effortless weight loss as a side effect. For weight loss and for health, macronutrient composition (low-carb, low-fat, high-protein, etc.) is not the important factor – maximizing micronutrient density by eating healthful foods and avoiding disease-causing foods is the key.

Our nation’s eating habits are beyond fattening – they are destructive to our physical and emotional health.

 The addictive nature of the unhealthy foods at the core of the Standard American Diet is not merely disease-causing and fattening; but also destructive to the intellect and emotional well-being; the SAD contributes not only to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, but also to depression, dementia, and even criminal behavior.  These eating practices are destructive to our own health and the health of our children, possibly even their children – the current American diet is likely fueling an future explosion in human suffering due to childhood cancers, autoimmune diseases, and further increases in rates of the lifestyle diseases that already plague Americans.

Dr. Ornish says “About 75 percent of the $2.8 trillion in annual health care costs in the United States is from chronic diseases that can often be reversed or prevented altogether by a healthy lifestyle.”

The only reason a nutritarian diet is not promoted by all as the answer to our nation’s health problems is that it is not favorable to the pharmaceutical industry, the high-tech medical procedure and medical industries, and the powerful food interests and chemical industry that heavily influence government.  Powerful economic forces favor the status quo.

The wide adoption of a nutritarian diet by the masses could have a major impact on global warming, save Medicare, booster our sickly economy burdened with massive health care costs, and increase American intelligence, productivity and competitiveness.

An overwhelming amount of evidence indicates that we can win the war on cancer in America with a nutritarian diet too.   We can donate billions to publicize almost worthless mammograms and pay drug companies to search for more chemotherapeutic agents, or we can practically wipe out breast cancer right now. If I was in a position of political influence and power it would be G-BOMBS in every pot. G-BOMBS are the super foods I recommend eating every day for excellent health – greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds.  While helping to bring our bodies to their ideal weight, these foods exert powerful anti-cancer, cardioprotective, and anti-diabetic effects, and they fuel our bodies’ natural healing, antioxidant, and detoxification systems. Read more about G-BOMBS.

If you want weight loss AND excellent health, eat your G-BOMBS (instead of counting your carbs).We all have some influence and the best place to start is the health revolution that begins with you.  

 

References:

 1. Ebbeling CB, Swain JF, Feldman HA, et al. Effects of dietary composition on energy expenditure during weight-loss maintenance. JAMA 2012;307:2627-2634.
2. Wycherley TP, Brinkworth GD, Keogh JB, et al. Long-term effects of weight loss with a very low carbohydrate and low fat diet on vascular function in overweight and obese patients. J Intern Med 2010;267:452-461.
3. de Koning L, Fung TT, Liao X, et al. Low-carbohydrate diet scores and risk of type 2 diabetes in men. Am J Clin Nutr 2011;93:844-850.
4. Fung TT vDR, 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;153:289-298.
5. Trichopoulou A, Psaltopoulou T, Orfanos P, et al. Low-carbohydrate-high-protein diet and long-term survival in a general population cohort. Eur J Clin Nutr 2007;61:575-581.
6. Lagiou P, Sandin S, Lof M, et al. Low carbohydrate-high protein diet and incidence of cardiovascular diseases in Swedish women: prospective cohort study. BMJ 2012;344:e4026.

 

Preventing and Treating ADHD in Children

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurobehavioral disorder diagnosed in children, and its prevalence is growing.  Between 2003 and 2007, there was a 22% increase in ADHD prevalence in the United States - today, about 9.5% of school-age children have ADHD.1

ADHD is characterized by restlessness, difficulty focusing, poor impulse control, distractibility, and in some cases overactivity; plus these symptoms have significant negative consequences on the child’s academic performance, social skills, and relationships with family members, teachers, and peers.  In addition, ADHD is often accompanied by learning disorders, discipline problems, anxiety, and/or depression.2

Child yelling. Flickr: sizumaru
ADHD is a complex disorder of the brain, believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.3,4 Smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy, micronutrient deficiencies, excessive television watching early in life, and inadequate omega-3 fatty acid intake are a few of the environmental factors that increase risk.3,5

Nutrition and ADHD

Poor nutrition is a significant concern for attentional problems and ADHD – here are some of the dietary factors that have been linked to ADHD risk in scientific studies:

  • High sugar intake is also associated with hyperactive behavior and ADHD.6,7
  • Inadequate micronutrient intake. Supplementation to correct micronutrient deficiencies has been shown to improve ADHD symptoms.2,8
  • A low-nutrient diet high in processed foods and soft drinks at age 4 ½ has been associated with hyperactivity in children at age 7.9 Similarly, a “Western” dietary pattern has also been associated with ADHD in 14-year-olds.10
  • Food additives and dyes: many colored foods are marketed to children, and hyperactivity in children following ingestion of food dyes is well documented in placebo-controlled studies.6,11 Furthermore, a 2004 meta-analysis of 16 studies in children who were already hyperactive showed that their hyperactive behavior increased after ingesting food colorings.12 Read more.
  • There is preliminary evidence that certain pesticides (called organophosphates) commonly found on some fruits are associated with ADHD.13 Read more.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA) are the building blocks a child needs to build a healthy brain. Insufficient omega-3 levels are common in children with ADHD, and there is evidence that omega-3 supplementation, especially in combination with the omega-6 fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA; found in borage oil and evening primrose oil) improves behavior and ADHD symptoms. 14,15   

Treatment for most children with ADHD: stimulant drugs

The primary mode of treatment for ADHD is a combination of stimulant drugs and behavioral treatment. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 2.7 million children in the U.S. are currently taking medication for ADHD.1 There is concern about these drugs because of side effects (the two most common are insomnia and loss of appetite) and the potential for abuse, since stimulants such as Ritalin (methylphenidate) and amphetamines have actions on the brain similar to cocaine.6 Also evidence has recently emerged that these stimulants may adversely affect the cardiovascular system – long-term stimulant use increases heart rate, and elevated heart rate increases the risk of cardiac death.9,16,17 

Natural Prevention and Treatment of ADHD

As a parent, these are effective strategies that will help to prevent your children from developing ADHD:

  • Limit television time and do not expose children under the age of 2 to any television. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two should not watch television.5
  • Feed the whole family a health-promoting, high-nutrient diet of colorful fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds.
  • Avoid processed foods, artificially colored foods, and added sugars. The simplest and most effective way to avoid the potential harmful effects of synthetic dyes is to avoid processed foods.   When buying the occasional packaged food, check the ingredient list to avoid synthetic dyes and additives.
  • To assure adequate omega-3 fatty acids for brain development, give children supplemental DHA and EPA and feed them omega-3-rich foods (ground flaxseed, hemp and chia seeds, walnuts) regularly.
  • Buy organic produce when possible to limit pesticide exposure, especially when buying highly pesticide-laden crops.


If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, a family commitment to dietary changes is crucial. My nutritional approach to ADHD used in conjunction with appropriate behavioral treatment has helped numerous families.  Although it may take up to 6 months, significant improvements are almost always observed, and stimulant medications are rarely necessary.

  • Feed the whole family a health-promoting, high-nutrient diet of colorful fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds.
  • For adequate omega-3 fatty acids:
  • Supplemental GLA (an omega-6 fatty acid found in borage oil and evening primrose oil)
  • Gluten (from wheat) and/or casein (from dairy products) avoidance for children who are sensitive to these proteins.

 

References:
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Rate of Parent-Reported ADHD Increasing [http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/features/adhd-parent-reporting.html]
2. Kidd PM: Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children: rationale for its integrative management. Altern Med Rev 2000;5:402-428.
3. Curatolo P, D'Agati E, Moavero R: The neurobiological basis of ADHD. Ital J Pediatr 2010;36:79.
4. Antshel KM, Hargrave TM, Simonescu M, et al: Advances in understanding and treating ADHD. BMC medicine 2011;9:72.
5. Christakis DA, Zimmerman FJ, DiGiuseppe DL, et al: Early television exposure and subsequent attentional problems in children. Pediatrics 2004;113:708-713.
6. Artificial food colouring and hyperactivity symptoms in children. Prescrire Int 2009;18:215.
7. Schnoll R, Burshteyn D, Cea-Aravena J: Nutrition in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a neglected but important aspect. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 2003;28:63-75.
8. Curtis LT, Patel K: Nutritional and environmental approaches to preventing and treating autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a review. J Altern Complement Med 2008;14:79-85.
9. Wiles NJ, Northstone K, Emmett P, et al: 'Junk food' diet and childhood behavioural problems: results from the ALSPAC cohort. Eur J Clin Nutr 2009;63:491-498.
10. Howard AL, Robinson M, Smith GJ, et al: ADHD is associated with a "Western" dietary pattern in adolescents. J Atten Disord 2011;15:403-411.
11. Schab DW, Trinh NH: Do artificial food colors promote hyperactivity in children with hyperactive syndromes? A meta-analysis of double-blind placebo-controlled trials. J Dev Behav Pediatr 2004;25:423-434.
12. McCann D, Barrett A, Cooper A, et al: Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet 2007;370:1560-1567.
13. Bouchard MF, Bellinger DC, Wright RO, et al: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and urinary metabolites of organophosphate pesticides. Pediatrics 2010;125:e1270-1277.
14. Antalis CJ, Stevens LJ, Campbell M, et al: Omega-3 fatty acid status in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2006;75:299-308.
15. Transler C, Eilander A, Mitchell S, et al: The impact of polyunsaturated fatty acids in reducing child attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders. J Atten Disord 2010;14:232-246.
16. Vitiello B, Elliott GR, Swanson JM, et al: Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Over 10 Years in the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children With ADHD. Am J Psychiatry 2011.
17. Verrier RL, Tan A: Heart rate, autonomic markers, and cardiac mortality. Heart Rhythm 2009;6:S68-75.

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Weight Watchers focuses on weight, not health.

In Weight Watchers’ newest point system (“PointsPlus”), fresh fruits and most vegetables have a zero point value (essentially meaning that they are unlimited) – this change was meant to encourage members to eat more whole plant foods and less processed foods, adding phytochemical value to their diet. This is certainly a positive step, and I applaud Weight Watchers for taking it.  They have tweaked their program a bit, to make it healthier.

Measuring tape. Flickr: Pink Sherbet Photography

However, the Weight Watchers program is still far from a health-promoting eating style. Regarding the zero points policy for most produce, all fruits and vegetables are not equal when it comes to health-supporting phytochemicals. For example, anti-cancer, immune-building, and cardio-protective properties plus the high fiber and low sugar content of berries and pomegranate necessitate placing more focus on these fruits compared to higher sugar fruits like bananas and dates. Also, green vegetables have about 10 times the micronutrients compared to a white potato.  However that is not the main problem with the Weight Watchers system.

The PointsPlus system encourages the consumption of foods that produce greater satiety – foods that are higher in fiber and protein content are more favorably scored.  High-fiber foods and high-protein foods are not nutritionally equivalent – compare beans and grilled chicken, for example. Beans are phytochemical-rich, protein-adequate, healthful foods with anti-cancer properties and a low glycemic load; grilled chicken may also induce satiety because it is very high in protein, but it has no phytochemical content plus it contains cancer-promoting heterocyclic amines – it is not a food that supports longevity and long-term health.  Plus, chicken raises IGF-1, in the body, a hormone associated with higher rates of breast cancer.1,2 The problem here is that animal protein is promoted as a favorable substance to consume more of by Weight Watchers, in spite of the plethora of evidence in recent years linking high IGF-1 to premature aging and cancer.3-5

Weight Watchers’ guidelines for healthy eating are simply unhealthy – and not supported by the most updated nutritional science. Weight Watchers recommends a miniscule five total (half-cup) daily servings of fruits and vegetables combined; not nearly enough to achieve disease prevention. They also recommend two servings of cow’s milk daily, a growth-promoting food associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.6-8 They do not discourage the use of artificial sweeteners, which perpetuate the desire for excessively sweet foods. They also encourage two teaspoons of “healthy oil” daily rather than whole foods that contain fats like seeds and nuts; of course is no such thing as “healthy oil” – all oils are 100% fat with little or no micronutrient value – this recommendation simply adds empty calories. 

Weight Watchers promises to provide a method of weight loss that “fits within one’s lifestyle and preferences”, assuring potential members that there is “plenty of room for treats and extras.” To be inclusionary of everyone, they must give watered-down recommendations that are too close to the disease-causing Standard American Diet. Despite the changes to the points system that promote more whole foods, Weight Watchers is still a diet of calorie-counting and controlled portions of mostly addictive processed foods. They do not address re-training the tastebuds to prefer healthier foods – members eat small portions of nutrient-poor junk food daily as ‘treats,’ therefore never losing their addictive cravings. Like most diet plans, Weight Watchers attempts to appeal to a mainstream audience, who eat a diet of primarily processed foods and animal products; so they must allow members to continue the same eating pattern that originally led them down the path to obesity  (and also leads to diabetes, heart disease and cancer). This is evident when you look at Weight Watchers’ line of pre-packaged foods. They sell nutrient-poor, high-sodium, reduced-calorie processed products with lengthy ingredient lists including added sugars, hydrogenated oils, and white flour – just like conventional processed foods.9,10 The ingredient lists are strategically absent from the Weight Watchers website, though calorie and point values are visible.

Weight Watchers sponge cake. Flickr. slgckgcWeight Watchers is not in the business of health; it  is all about weight and recruiting the mainstream with their SAD (Standard American Diet) but dangerous dietary preferences.  Members and even leaders are poorly educated about nutritional science and women are not motivated to eat to win the war on cancer.  Participants are forever maintaining their food addictions, because eating a little healthier and trying to cut back is simply a formula for failure in the vast majority of cases.  Weight Watchers gives lip service to better health and healthier eating, yet continues to sell nutrient-depleted processed junk food. A healthy weight is almost impossible to maintain without serious attention to excellent nutrition, prevention of all deficiencies, sufficient anti-inflammatory super foods and the resulting elimination of additions and cravings.  Weight Watchers is mostly serves those who remain forever on the weight loss merry-go-round, struggling with marginally effective recommendations and outcomes.

Eat To Live is not primarily focused on weight, it is focused on life extension and winning the war on cancer.

You eat larger amounts of vegetables, beans and fruits, with attention to the most powerful anti-cancer foods on the planet. Food is rated according to micronutrients content per calorie, not just calories. Eating delicious, health-promoting foods allows you to lose the cravings and temptations to eat greasy, sugary, disease-causing foods.   More importantly, once you learn how to Eat to Live, the weight comes off dramatically and permanently and you never have to diet again.  You become the nutritional expert who can now navigate through life with knowledge that you can protect yourself from serious tragic outcomes such as dementia, heart attacks, strokes and cancer.  It is for people who want great health and freedom from the medical dependency and medical tragedies that eventually afflict almost all Americans. 

Image credits: Flickr: Pink Sherbet Photography, slgckgc

References:

1. Shi R, Yu H, McLarty J, et al. IGF-I and breast cancer: a meta-analysis. Int J Cancer 2004;111:418-423.

2. Rinaldi S, Peeters PH, Berrino F, et al. IGF-I, IGFBP-3 and breast cancer risk in women: The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Endocr Relat Cancer 2006;13:593-605.

3. Laron Z. The GH-IGF1 axis and longevity. The paradigm of IGF1 deficiency. Hormones (Athens) 2008;7:24-27.

4.  McCarty MF. A low-fat, whole-food vegan diet, as well as other strategies that down-regulate IGF-I activity, may slow the human aging process. Med Hypotheses 2003;60:784-792.

5. Kaaks R. Nutrition, insulin, IGF-1 metabolism and cancer risk: a summary of epidemiological evidence. Novartis Found Symp 2004;262:247-260; discussion 260-268.

6. Genkinger JM, Hunter DJ, Spiegelman D, et al. Dairy products and ovarian cancer: a pooled analysis of 12 cohort studies. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2006;15:364-372.

7. Larsson SC, Orsini N, Wolk A. Milk, milk products and lactose intake and ovarian cancer risk: a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. Int J Cancer 2006;118:431-441.

8. Qin LQ, Xu JY, Wang PY, et al. Milk consumption is a risk factor for prostate cancer in Western countries: evidence from cohort studies. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2007;16:467-476.

9. Barclay E: Weight Watchers Faults Processed Foods While Profiting From Them. . 2010. SHOTS: NPR’s Health Blog. http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/12/03/131782587/Weight_Watchers-faults-processed-foods-while-profiting-from-them

10. Weight Watchers Smart Ones Entrees – Not that Smart. . Fooducate Blog. http://blog.fooducate.com/2011/05/20/weight-watchers-smart-ones-meals-not-that-smart/ 

Successful People Aren't Born that Way

 

“Successful people aren’t born that way.  They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t like to do.  The successful people don’t always like these things themselves; they just get on and do them.”  - author unknown

composite pic of weight loss success stories

For over three years I’ve interviewed those who’ve been successful at getting their health back through nutritarian eating.  As an interviewer I get the unique opportunity to hear the "rest-of-the-story" that often doesn’t make it to Disease Proof.  I’ve discovered a few common threads among all of them; in fact, not just their stories, but also those from the member center of DrFuhrman.com who’ve also successfully earned health back.  The following are a few commonalities:

 

  • Each successful nutritarian made time to thoroughly study and understand the science behind Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritional recommendations in his books, teleconferences, TV programs, and articles.  That was a given. 

 

  • Success had nothing to do with their economic status, nationality, education, social standing, professional training, or career choice.  It had nothing to do with past childhood memories or dysfunctions, or lack thereof.  And it had nothing to do with religious backgrounds or affiliations.  A key component to their success was their mindsets; what they understood and believed to be true, and then acting upon that truth.  They no longer accepted the belief system of the status quo; the moderation myth from physicians, counselors, influential leaders, friends. co-workers, or relatives that eating for health was extreme, or that "just one bite won't hurt."  Instead, they understood that bypass surgery, paralysis from strokes, cancers, leg amputations, and a myriad of other diseases were totally preventable and extreme.  They no longer felt sorry for themselves, or allowed others to feel sorry for them for choosing health over disease.  And thus, as their minds were changed, their bodies transformed as a result.  

 

  • They each had a desperate tenacity to hold fast to earning health back, no matter what.  This steadfast resolve caused them to do things that weren’t necessarily pleasant and easy at the time, but they did it anyway.  For instance, Scott, who lost 333 lbs, started riding a bike at 501 lbs.  He lived in Minnesota and that first winter he rode in minus 43 degree weather.  No excuses.  Isabel, a die-hard people pleaser, was sick of being depressed, tired, and ashamed to be seen in public due to obesity.  She finally got desperate enough and chose to put her health before pleasing others; regardless of what anyone thought.  No excuses.

 

"Once the determined individual has their mind made up and fully committed to let nothing stand in their way, they can break off the chains of addiction.  It only takes that one firm decision and to make it work no matter how difficult it may be in the beginning.  The problem is compounded when people have a hundred excuses to feel sorry for themselves. They revel in their own misery and feel special for their suffering."  

- Dr. Fuhrman

 

  • For everyone, there was a steadfast determination to cross over the threshold of unhealthy food cravings; all had to overcome this hurdle.  However, as the cravings for unhealthy foods decreased and taste buds changed, the natural desire for nutrient rich foods took precedence over low nutrient foods.  They no longer felt deprived, and as a result, eating actually became more enjoyable and pleasurable than before.  Most everyone expressed a whole new world opened up to them of what they “could” eat instead of the traditional, restrictive dieting mentality of what they “couldn’t” eat.  This freedom created a momentum for continual success. 

  

  • One member of Dr. Fuhrman's member center, who has now been a nutritarian for several years stated, “Unhealthy food eventually became unappealing, unappetizing and ‘un-tasty’.”  Laurie, who is now free from yo-yo dieting and MS flare-ups, resolved in her heart to never cheat on the Eat to Live plan because she was desperate to be medication free.  Now, nutritarian eating is a way of life for her, and she actually feels sorry for those who don’t eat high-nutrient foods.

 

  • Most importantly, as everyone experienced significant improvements in their health and energy levels, it motivated and exponentially increased their confidence to keep going.  Many described it as feeling tremendous, youthful and vibrant.  Some, like me, were so malnourished and miserable that we noticed the improvements immediately.  Others had to make it through rough withdrawal symptoms first, but everyone eventually got to the point of feeling energetic and well for the first time in his/her life.  This “feel good” attitude has propelled all of us to maintain this excellent health for life!  There’s no turning back.        

 

Body Odor: Do Nutritarians Smell Better?

In the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, Isaacson reports that as a vegan, Jobs believed that he smelled better than omnivores and didn’t need to bathe as often as his meat-eating colleagues. With this mindset entrenched in his meat-loathing brain, Steve was reported to rarely shower and to smell as if he hadn’t bathed in weeks (at least during the hippie days of his 20s and into his 30s), which was literally probably the case. Putting Steve’s reluctance to jump in the tube aside, was Steve onto something? Do people that avoid meat actually smell better than those that consume animal products regularly? Given that Americans spend millions of dollars each year on personal care products, perfumes and deodorants, it’s worth looking into the effects of diet on body odor.

Girl smelling flower. Flickr: GoodNCrazy

While I would love to report that numerous scientists have taken the same thirst for knowledge on this subject as I do, it appears I’ve got no such luck. However, there is one study that seems to support this hypothesis. Anthropologists at the University of Charles, Czech Republic, were curious enough to conduct a study on the effects of diet on body odor.1   The researchers had women judge the body odor of men fed a vegetarian or non-vegetarian diet and determine which body odor they found more “attractive”. The result? Overwhelmingly, the women judged the body odor of men on a vegetarian diet to be “significantly more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense”. If we go by this study, our noses certainly are happier when we spend more time out in a garden as opposed to a meat packing factory. Ladies, if you’ve got a fella who cares about his pungency, this study may just be the perfect strategy to convert him to a nutritarian diet.

In the absence of an adequate intake of phytochemicals and other micronutrients, cellular detoxification is impaired which elevates cellular free radical activity, priming the body with more toxic substrate. Conventional eaters build up inflammatory by-products. So it does make sense that especially a nutritarian eating all those free-radical-fighting foods that prevent the accumulation and elimination of toxins such as lipid peroxidases and aldehydes, would smell better even without a collection of studies to support this.

What comes out of our bodies reflects what we put in them and body odor is strongly influenced by what’s being emitted by our sweat glands. What is going to smell more unpleasant? A 98.6 degree carrot that has been decaying for a days or a piece of meat left to decay at 98.6 degrees? Or how about a hormone pumped, antibiotic loaded, factory farmed piece of meat like 99 percent of the meat sold to consumers in this country? Anyone want to test this?

Besides serving the role of cooling the body, our sweat is supposed to help us excrete toxins. That’s why sweating is an important part of maintaining good health. As the largest organ in our bodies, our skin excretes plenty of toxins via sweat glands. And thank goodness they do! We do live in a world full of toxins, after all. Our armpits, therefore, actually have an important function in getting rid of these toxins. Have you been thankful for your armpits today?

The scent that we emit is a result of the intentional excretion of toxins that the body is trying to get rid of. If somebody smells like they just took a dip in a garbage dump, that’s probably because they are eating the standard American diet, which is full of “garbage”. I have therefore concluded that meat, junk foods, fast foods and other dietary atrocities just cannot be conducive to smelling desirable.

There is scientific support for my viewpoint. The report in the Charles University, Czech Republic, study read, “ Axillary body odor is individually specific and potentially a rich source of information about its producer. Seventeen male odor donors were on “meat” or “nonmeat” diet for 2 weeks wearing axillary pads to collect body odor during the final 24 hours of the diet. Fresh odor samples were assessed for their pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity, and intensity by 30 women. We repeated the same procedure a month later with the same odor donors, each on the opposite diet than before. Results of repeated measures analysis of variance showed that the odor of donors when on the nonmeat diet was judged as significantly more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense. This suggests that red meat consumption has a negative impact on perceived body odor.”

Even though this was the only study I could find on our dietary composition and body odor, informal polls and interviews abound in which people report to prefer the smell of nutritarians and vegans/vegetarians. On one forum I found someone write, “My friend has quite strong body odor, but after she became full vegan, the smell has got lighter. At least when I sit next to her, I feel more comfortable”. Others expressed similar sentiments.

Besides meat, foods contributing to an unattractive body odor include refined white flour, sugar, hydrogenated oils and other processed ingredients. I am convinced a diet of leafy green vegetables, other nutritious vegetables like tomatoes and mushrooms, fresh fruits like berries, and nuts and seeds will result in the alluring body scent that we all seek (that is, if you maintain a regular shower routine, unlike Steve Jobs!).

Can you all relate or have any of you noticed that people eating a healthful diet tend to have a more pleasant smell? Uh oh, now I ’m not sure. My father just came back dripping wet after a tough tennis match, and I would swear he ate bacon and hamburgers. Unlike Jobs he claims he showers every week, whether he needs it or not. Maybe it is just a father-daughter thing.

 

Reference:

1. Havlicek J, Lenochova P. The Effect of Meat Consumption on Body Odor Attractiveness. Chemical Senses 2006. 31(8):747-752.
 

 

 

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Boundaries Keep Us Free from Addiction

Emotional eating and food addiction not only ruin health, but relationships as well, because both addictions have the potential to cause irrational thinking and behaviors. 

  • In the throes of my addictions I stole my children's Easter candies, Halloween treats, Christmas cookies; carefully making it look like nothing was missing, of course. 
  • I ate my husband's leftover birthday pie our first year of marriage, and when he found out he was shocked and furious! I even ate the top tier of our wedding cake that was intended for our first year anniversary celebration.
  • I ate out of the trash can; especially after a party when half-eaten Sloppy Joes and pieces of discarded birthday cake were calling my name. I would wait until the guests had gone home, and my family was sound asleep before the raid.  I loved the paper plates loaded with leftover cake and frosting flowers stuck to them the best.  
  • Besides my favorite, burnt edges of lasagna straight from the pan, one time I even ate salty, hardened hamburger grease that was sitting on the kitchen counter in a container - now that's the humdinger of addiction!

And to be totally honest, the 100 lbs of fat that I’d gained as a result of emotional eating and food addiction wasn’t nearly as painful as the inner turmoil and shame that it created within. The addictions consumed my thoughts, actions and moods; and both ruined precious relationships along the way. However, I overcame them by establishing a clear boundary line and made the steadfast decision to stay within it. Impulsive slip-ups happened from time to time, but I refused to let them derail my decision to stay 100% committed to be free from addiction and get my health back.   

That may sound too simplistic to be true, but it worked. 

Within four days of making the commitment to carefully follow Eat to Live, my teenage son with Type I diabetes ate a 2# bag of M & M’s, and he didn’t inject himself with insulin to cover it.  Suddenly, I was thrust into a tumultuous medical crisis that lasted the better part of three months. I wasn’t able to focus on books or programs to unravel the reasons behind my emotional eating. I didn’t have time to analyze every morsel of food that went into my mouth. During that time of crisis I couldn’t dig up past wounds to contemplate those who had wrongfully hurt me, or that I had hurt. My thoughts were consumed with saving my child’s life, and nothing else mattered.        

Thankfully, I had copied the Six-Week Plan, that’s outlined on p. 216 of Eat to Live, onto several 3x5 cards and had them laminated at an office supply store.  Those cards were my “boundary line” at all times.  I kept one in my purse, one in a book, one in the car, and attached one to the front of the refrigerator with a magnet. Those cards made all decisions for me, regardless of the turmoil that engulfed me.

I also worked on a daily piece of art anytime that I was tempted to eat. I carried 4"x4" squares of Bristol board, and colorful markers and pencils with me everywhere I went. I focused on creating art instead of eating food; and many times it was just doodling with colors in a hospital room. That was a tremendous tool to help divert my frustrations and anguish, and the resulting cravings to eat.

After three months the numbers on the scale were down 40 lbs, but more importantly, both emotional eating and addictive cravings for unhealthy food had significantly subsided.  I actually craved green vegetables instead of bacon, cheese, and peanut butter!

I've had episodes of emotional eating since then, but they have been short lived. For example, the following year during another diabetic crisis involving my son, I was pouring cocoa powder into bowls of oatmeal and banana ice-creams like crazy. (More like I was dumping it on!) Dr. Fuhrman told me to "Stop. Stop immediately, and don't use anymore cocoa powder for two weeks." That was my boundary line. Sure, I still nearly drowned in raging emotions that were all over the place, but I clung to the safety of the boundary line throughout the ordeaI and overcame both emotional eating and addiction to cocoa powder as a result.   

Then this past summer I was extremely sleep deprived and experienced PTSD symptoms from a sudden, tragic event in my life.  I craved dopamine producing, high calorie, low-nutrient, “healthy” foods over high-nutrient choices.  Dr. Fuhrman instructed me to focus on shopping and preparing delicious tasting, high-nutrient foods; and to focus on getting deep sleep every night by darkening my bedroom windows. Again, that was my boundary line. Within a few weeks the PTSD symptoms subsided, I desired high-nutrient foods again, and my sleep cycles were restored.


If we want emotional, psychological and physiological freedom from addictions, we must establish a clear boundary line and stay within it no matter what. 


It may seem scrupulous, but it has to be.

 

Some will think it is extreme, but so is addiction. 

 

Addicts cannot afford compromise. Addicts cannot turn back. If we do, we will be undone, because the addiction will recover strength and take over our lives.  



 You may also be interested in reading The Powerful Snare of Compromise” and

“Food Addiction is Just as Powerful as Drug Addiction”

 

 

image credit: “Death by Dumpster Diving” © 2012 by Emily Boller