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.

What are true health-promoting and disease-promoting foods?

To truly consume a healthy diet, the vast majority of the diet must be composed of health-promoting foods, and disease-promoting foods must be avoided. To define health-promoting and disease-promoting foods, we can turn to science to learn which foods are consistently shown to be protective against chronic disease (or associated with disease risk), which foods are associated with longevity (or mortality), and which foods contain known anti-cancer substances (and which contain cancer-promoting substances).

True health-promoting foods – these foods have the power to protect, to heal and prolong human lifespan:

Green vegetables. Many green vegetables (such as bok choy, broccoli, and kale) belong to the cruciferous family, vegetables that contain potent anti-cancer compounds called isothiocyanates (ITCs).1 Green leaves are perhaps the most powerful longevity-inducing foods of all.

Onions and mushrooms also have well-documented cancer-protective properties. Onions and their Allium family members contain chemoprotective organosulfur compounds2, and consuming mushrooms regularly has been shown to decrease risk of breast cancer by over 60%.3

Fruits, especially berries and pomegranate. Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are true super foods. They are full of antioxidants and have been linked to reduced risk of diabetes, cancers and cognitive decline.4 Pomegranate has multiple cardiovascular health benefits, for example reducing LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. 

Beans are an excellent, nutrient-dense weight-loss food - they have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar, which promotes satiety and helps to prevent food cravings. Plus they contain substances that lower cholesterol, and regular bean consumption is associated with decreased cancer risk.5

Nuts and seeds. Nuts contain a spectrum of beneficial nutrients including healthy fats , LDL-lowering phytosterols, circulation-promoting arginine, minerals, and antioxidants. Countless studies have demonstrated the cardiovascular benefits of nuts, and including nuts in the diet has been shown to aid in weight control.6 Seeds have even a richer micronutrient profile, abundant in trace minerals, and each kind of seed is nutritionally unique. Flaxseeds provide abundant omega-3 fats, pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc and iron, and sesame seeds are high in calcium and multiple vitamin E fractions.

 

True disease-promoting foods – harmful foods that should be avoided:

Cheese, butter, and ice cream. These are dangerous foods that are loaded with saturated fat, that contribute to elevated cholesterol levels and several cancers.7 Dairy products are also associated with prostate cancer in men.8 

Potato chips and French fries. High heat cooking produces acrylamides, dangerous cancer-promoting substances. Acrylamides have been shown to cause genetic mutations in animal studies leading to several cancers. Fried starchy foods, like potato chips and fries, are especially high in acrylamides and other toxic compounds. Baked starchy foods like breakfast cereals and crackers also contain these dangerous substances.

Refined carbohydrates. Sugar and white flour products are not nutritionally inert, simply adding a few extra calories to the diet – they are harmful. Devoid of fiber and stripped of vital nutrients, these refined foods promote diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.9

Salt. The dangers of salt are increasingly recognized, with government agencies finally considering salt reduction programs. Excess salt intake contributes not only to high blood pressure, but also to kidney disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke, ulcers, and stomach cancer. Salt consumption becomes the leading contributor to a premature death in a individual eating an otherwise health-supporting diet.

Pickled, smoked, barbecued, or processed meats. Processed meats have been strongly and consistently linked to colorectal cancer, and more recently have been linked to prostate cancer. Processed meats contain carcinogenic substances called heterocyclic amines.10 In fact, any type of meat cooked at a high temperature will also contain these substances – for example, grilled or fried chicken was found to have the highest level of heterocyclic amines.11 High processed meat intake is also associated with increased rates of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.12

 


References:

1. Higdon JV et al. Cruciferous Vegetables and Human Cancer Risk: Epidemiologic Evidence and Mechanistic Basis. Pharmacol Res. 2007 March ; 55(3): 224–236

2. Powolny AA, Singh SV. Multitargeted prevention and therapy of cancer by diallyl trisulfide and related Allium vegetable-derived organosulfur compounds. Cancer Lett. 2008 Oct 8;269(2):305-14.

3. Zhang M, et al. Dietary intakes of mushrooms and green tea combine to reduce the risk of breast cancer in Chinese women. Int J Cancer. 2009;124:1404-1408

4. Bazzano LA, Li TY, Joshipura KJ, Hu FB. Intake of fruit, vegetables, and fruit juices and risk of diabetes in women. Diabetes Care. 2008 Jul;31(7):1311-7.

Hannum SM. Potential impact of strawberries on human health: a review of the science. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2004;44(1):1-17.

Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B, Willis LM. Grape juice, berries, and walnuts affect brain aging and behavior. J Nutr. 2009 Sep;139(9):1813S-7S.

Stoner GD, Wang LS, Casto BC. Laboratory and clinical studies of cancer chemoprevention by antioxidants in berries. Carcinogenesis. 2008 Sep;29(9):1665-74.

5. Bazzano LA, Thompson AM, Tees MT, et al. Non-soy legume consumption lowers cholesterol levels: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Nov 23. [Epub ahead of print]

Aune D, De Stefani E, Ronco A, et al. Legume intake and the risk of cancer: a multisite case-control study in Uruguay. Cancer Causes Control. 2009 Nov;20(9):1605-15.

6. Sabaté J, Ang Y. Nuts and health outcomes: new epidemiologic evidence. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 May;89(5):1643S-1648S. Epub 2009 Mar 25.

Mattes RD et al. Impact of peanuts and tree nuts on body weight and healthy weight loss in adults. J Nutr. 2008 Sep;138(9):1741S-1745S.

7. Kesteloot H, Lesaffre E, Joossens JV. Dairy fat, saturated animal fat, and cancer risk. Prev Med. 1991 Mar;20(2):226-36.

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 Feb;15(2):364-72.

Keszei AP, Schouten LJ, Goldbohm RA, et al. Dairy Intake and the Risk of Bladder Cancer in the Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Dec 30. [Epub ahead of print]

Denke MA. Dietary fats, fatty acids, and their effects on lipoproteins. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2006 Nov;8(6):466-71.

8. Ma RW, Chapman K. A systematic review of the effect of diet in prostate cancer

prevention and treatment. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2009 Jun;22(3):187-99; quiz 200-2.

Kurahashi N, Inoue M, Iwasaki M. Japan Public Health Center-Based Prospective Study Group. Dairy product, saturated fatty acid, and calcium intake and prostate cancer in a prospective cohort of Japanese men. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Apr;17(4):930-7.

Allen NE, Key TJ, Appleby PN, et al. Animal foods, protein, calcium and prostate cancer risk: the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Br J Cancer. 2008 May 6;98(9):1574-81. Epub 2008 Apr 1.

Ahn J, Albanes D, Peters U et al. Dairy products, calcium intake, and risk of prostate cancer in the prostate, lung, colorectal, and ovarian cancer screening trial. Cancer

Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Dec;16(12):2623-30.

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(3):467-76.

 Chan JM, Stampfer MJ, Ma J, et al. Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk in the Physicians Health Study. Presenta- tion, American Association for Cancer Research, San Francisco, April 2000.

 Bosetti C, Tzonou A, Lagiou P, et al. Fraction of prostate cancer attributed to diet in Athens, Greece. Eur J Cancer Prev 2000;9(2):119-23.

9. Barclay AW, Petocz P, McMillan-Price J, et al. Glycemic index, glycemic load, and chronic disease risk--a meta-analysis of observational studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):627-37.

Sieri S, Krogh V, Berrino F, et al. Dietary glycemic load and index and risk of coronary heart disease in a large italian cohort: the EPICOR study. Arch Intern Med. 2010 Apr 12;170(7):640-7.

Pisani P. Hyper-insulinaemia and cancer, meta-analyses of epidemiological studies. Arch Physiol Biochem. 2008 Feb;114(1):63-70.

10. Zheng W, Lee S. Well-done Meat Intake, Heterocyclic Amine Exposure, and Cancer

Risk. Nutr Cancer. 2009 ; 61(4): 437–446.

11. Thomson B. Heterocyclic amine levels in cooked meat and the implication for New Zealanders. Eur J Cancer Prev 1999;8(3):201-06.

12. Sinha R, Cross AJ, Graubard BI, et al. Meat Intake and Mortality: A Prospective Study of Over Half a Million People. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(6):562-571.

Adjusting to a Healthy Diet - Your Body Will Detoxify

It takes time to be comfortable with the changes in your life. It is not unusual to feel physically uncomfortable as you detoxify in the process of making over your body chemistry with a healthful diet. The more stimulating or harmful your prior habits, the worse you feel when you stop them. When breaking your addiction to salt, meat, dairy, saturated fat, processed foods and other substances, you might feel headachy, fatigued, or even a little itchy or ill, but the good news is these symptoms rarely last longer than a week or two. However, if you are making the changes to nutritional excellence gradually uncomfortable symptoms should be minimized.

Some people are so addicted to stimulating food, sugary sweets, and overeating, they may even feel depressed when they don’t indulge. For example, cheese, salt, and chocolate are all addictive, and it takes a prolonged period of abstinence to beat these addictions. Sugar and caffeine, especially when mixed together, are highly addictive and create a significant amount of discomfort when stopping. Sugar withdrawal symptoms have been demonstrated to be similar to withdrawal symptoms from opiates, including anxiety and tremors.1 I have observed many individuals with a history of severe chronic headaches, who were on drugs for headache suppression, develop fever, backaches, diarrhea, and other severe detoxification symptoms when stopping medications that contain caffeine, such as Excedrin, Fiorinal and Fioricet. Fortunately, their suffering was short-lived. Through high-nutrient eating, these individuals have been able to make dramatic recoveries.

High-nutrient eating was crucial for this result. Toxic wastes build up in our tissues, and we are unable to remove them unless high-levels of phytochemicals are present and the intake of toxins is stopped. You must allow this detoxification to occur. An important hurdle to achieving your ideal weight and excellent health is getting rid of your addictions. After that occurs, you may feel like you have been freed from prison and will find it easier to move forward and be one step closer to truly eating for health.

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

1. Colantuoni C, Rada P, McCarthy J, et al. Evidence that intermittent, excessive sugar intake causes endogenous opioid dependence. Obes Res. 2002;10(6):478-488. Rada P, Avena NM, Hoebel BG. Daily bingeing on sugar repeatedly releases dopamine in the accumbens shell. Neuroscience 2005;134(3):737-744.

Green-News: Wednesday 7.8.09

Image credit: Sam and Ian

Animal Fat Increases Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a new study claims high intake of saturated fat—specifically red meat and dairy—results in a 36% higher risk of pancreatic cancer, compared to people with lower consumption. And a high in take of total fat lead to a 53% increased risk of pancreatic cancer in men and 23% higher risk in women. Scientists examined data on 500,000 individuals, in which 1,337 were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer; Food Navigator reports.

Meat, i.e. saturated fat, is risky and research paints a grim picture. Previous studies have linked meat with higher risk of heart disease, age-related vision loss and various cancers. Fortunately, foods like fruits and vegetables lower the risk of developing cancer and cardiovascular disease.

In related news, experts found people who regularly eat charred or barbecued meat have a 60% higher risk of pancreatic cancer. Burned meat builds up of cancer-causing heterocyclic amines.

Image credit: wickenden

Mediterranean Diet, Vegetables May Extend Life...

Appearing in the British Medical Journal, a new study claims the Mediterranean diet—i.e. eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and avoiding meat, alcohol and dairy products—increases lifespan. Researchers examined the eating habits of 23,000 Greeks over 10 years, finding the presence of a diet rich in vegetables yielded health benefits, but when the heavy consumption of vegetables was removed, these benefits were negated; HealthDay News reports.

Sadly, many Mediterranean countries are loosing ground. In 2008, childhood obesity in Portugal, Spain and Italy jumped 30%. According to Dr. Fuhrman, all those healthy Mediterranean foods are giving way to western foods. That’s why the Mediterranean is getting fat, just like us!

And last September, a report revealed countries like Spain, Italy and Greece are buckling under the weight of fast food and the move away from their traditional dietary roots.

Image credit: ...-Wink-...

Too Much Meat and Dairy Harm Sperm

No, no! Don’t mess with my sperm. A new study in the journal Fertility and Sterility reveals diets low in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables and high processed meats and full-fat dairy heighten risk of low-quality sperm. The study involved 61 men visiting a fertility clinic. Of the participants, half had poor sperm quality. Those men also had a higher intake of meat and dairy, but the other half of men had normal sperm counts and tended to eat more fruits and vegetables. Experts cite increased levels of antioxidants, like vitamin C and lycopene, for better sperm; Reuters investigates.

Antioxidants are like Superman and Batman rolled up in one. Take blueberries, they’re packed with healthful nutrients, like flavonoids, which are associated with cancer prevention and plants like broccoli protect against things such as respiratory inflammation and stroke, while antioxidant-devoid foods like hotdogs and bacon may lead to leukemia and raise lung cancer risk.

The bad news for meat keeps piling up. Just last month, a study linked processed meat to increased death risk, as high as 50% and recently red meat was pinned to blindness. Eek!

Image credit: splorp

Fruits and Veggies Tied to Breast Cancer Survival

A new study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reveals women with early-stage breast cancer may live longer if they adopt a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and avoid things like red meat and refined foods. Researchers followed 1,901 women diagnosed with breast cancer for 8 years and found those maintaining a healthy diet had a lower overall death rate than those eating a Western diet, i.e. lots of processed meat, high-fat dairy and white bread. This trend held up even when other factors were considered, like tumor size and smoking; Reuters reports.

Actually, previous research, also in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, claims breast cancer survivors who eat more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day are less likely to develop recurring tumors. And pectin, a compound found naturally in citrus fruits and used in jams, has been shown to inhibit the growth of proteins responsible for cancer progression.

The powerful phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables have anti-aging effects, promote cardiovascular health and also lower the risk of other cancers, like prostate and pancreatic cancer. And a recent reported linked fruits and vegetables with reduced risk of colon cancer too.