Does Going Gluten-Free Equal Fabulously Healthy or Fabulously Foolish?

Gluten-free foods are all the rage these days.  Gluten free breads, pizzas, muffins, cookies, cakes, crackers, pretzels and more are everywhere. If there was a good time to have Celiac Disease, today is the day.  Now more than ever we can find goodies in the grocery stores labeled “Gluten-free,” advertised ostensibly in shinny, attractive print.  Pop-culture abounds with messages to, “go gluten free” and the media shouts to us to, “become a gluten free goddess and embrace feeling better and more energetic.” Just as low-carb everything was in vogue during the days of Atkins and South Beach, gluten-free foods have become the new go-to products for health conscious consumers and weight loss seekers. However, does avoiding gluten really confer health benefits? For most people, the answer is an unequivocal no.

Gluten Free Aisle. Flickr: Whatsername?

First of all, it would be helpful to us to understand what gluten is so we know what we are avoiding.  Gluten is simply a compound made of two proteins, gliadin and glutelin, bound together by starch (a carbohydrate). Grains themselves contain three parts: the bran (or hull), the germ and the endosperm.  Whole grains contain all three parts, while processed or refined grains contain just the endosperm.  Because gluten is found in the endosperm, it can be found in all grain products, regardless of processing.  Gluten is pretty much your typical grain product’s reliable sidekick, but unlike processed white bread, odds are eating it will not make you look like Gwyneth Paltrow in Shallow Hal (in which she wore a fat suit).  Additionally, unless you count yourself among the less than 10 percent of people with gluten sensitivity, the consumption of gluten will not be too difficult for your digestive organs, or result in undesirable aches and pains or an allergic reaction.

Celiac disease, aka gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is a disease in which the immune system attacks gluten as if it were a threatening invader, such as a pathogen or a parasite.  The inflammation that results can damage the intestinal lining, leading to malabsorption of many nutrients – including many essential vitamins and minerals.  Symptoms for a person with this carb-lovers nightmare can range from abdominal discomfort, to an itchy rash, to the manifestation of nutrient deficiencies.  Over time, for someone with celiac disease, the ingestion of gluten can increase the risk of intestinal cancer.  There is no doubt that celiac disease can be lethal if gluten is continually eaten and failing to address this condition can result in an tragic, early visit from the grim reaper.  For most people with celiac disease, it was pretty easy to detect because the symptoms are so obvious- quite simply, you eat grains and you feel awful.  However, this can be a hidden cause of health problems, especially in its milder forms that then go undetected. 

Besides celiac disease, it is possible to have gluten sensitivity, which is more common than celiac disease, but much less worrisome.   It is very different from celiac disease because there are no antibodies for gluten present or observed damage to the lining and architecture of the intestine.  People with gluten sensitivity are not at risk for intestinal cancer and are less likely to have nutrient deficiencies as a result of gluten ingestion.  What is intriguing is the numbers of people who are showing signs of gluten intolerance today.   

Compared to ladies living a half-century ago, the women of today are up to four times more likely to develop celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten.1  I repeat, four times from just 50 years ago! This is shocking and I am disturbed that increasing numbers of women cannot enjoy a hearty, all natural fruit pie, or pita pocket unless going out of their way to find gluten-free bread or other grain product.  More women than ever are dealing with grain product hell and no one really understands why it’s happening, although there are a few theories.

It’s been suggested that there are new-age exposures to gluten that may be more likely to trigger immune system responses. Genetic modifications to grain products have increased the gluten content of wheat and other grains in some cases.  It’s also possible that genetic modifications are introducing new chemical compounds into our diets, and some reactions to gluten may be a result of the new company it keeps.  Also all the processed foods eaten today, including white flour products, oils and fried foods damage human immune function.  And thanks to modern food processing, we are now finding the presence of gluten in everything from candy and meats to potato chips and processed breakfast cereals.  The addition of gluten to these low-fiber and low micronutrient-containing products might spark immune reactions in some people.  All of this is speculation and further studies need to be done to figure out why more people are developing adverse reactions to gluten. 

While this mystery remains, what is important to keep in mind is that while the number of people with gluten sensitivities may be rising, the number of people who don’t digest it well is still relatively small.  Only 1 percent of the entire population has celiac disease, and gluten sensitivity still only effects 5-10 percent of the population.2,3  For all other people, avoiding gluten provides no health benefits.  Avoiding gluten for 90 percent of the population is like avoiding peanuts when you don’t have a peanut allergy. It is totally needless.  If you experience unpleasant symptoms or stomach upset after eating grain products, then it is well worth a trial of avoiding all gluten containing grains and products and also getting a blood test done to test for celiac disease. 


References:

1. van den Broeck HCde Jong HCSalentijn EM. Presence of celiac disease epitopes in modern and old hexaploid wheat varieties: wheat breeding may have contributed to increased prevalence of celiac disease. Theor Appl Genet.2010 Nov;121(8):1527-39. Epub 2010 Jul 28.

2. Rewers M. Epidemiology of celiac disease: what are the prevalence, incidence, and progression of celiac disease? Gastroenterology. 2005;128(4 suppl 1):S47-S5

3. National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference Statement on Celiac Disease, June 28-30, 2004. Gastroenterology. 2005;128(4 suppl 1):S1-S9.

Obese? Diabetic? Try surgery!

In 2009, over 220,000 people had bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) in the U.S. – these procedures are growing in popularity as obesity rates climb.1

On Monday, the International Diabetes Federation announced that they now recommend bariatric surgery as a treatment for diabetics with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more; and also as an alternative treatment for diabetics with a BMI of 30-35, either when diabetes is not being adequately controlled with medication or in the presence of major cardiovascular risk factors. As its rationale, the IDF cites effective reversal of diabetes, reduced health costs, reduced risk of all-cause mortality, and reductions in cardiovascular risk factors that occur as a result of the surgery.2

 

Of course, bariatric surgery is effective for reversing diabetes (note however that diabetes remission rates do decrease over time3). Obesity is the primary risk factor for diabetes, and bariatric surgery forces weight loss by physically limiting either intake or absorption of food. But should bariatric surgery be recommended before radical lifestyle changes? The IDF and the American public seem to think so. Yesterday, on Good Morning America, gastric bypass was called a “breakthrough” treatment for reversing diabetes.

According to the physician that discussed bariatric surgery on Good Morning America, “For people who are truly obese and have diabetes, diet and exercise just aren’t really effective.”

Really? Diet and exercise aren’t effective?

Hundreds of formerly obese, formerly diabetic individuals have followed my dietary recommendations and would disagree with that statement.

For example:

  • Charlotte, who lost half her body weight (133 lbs.) and reversed her diabetes
  • Calogero, who lost 100 lbs. in only seven months and reversed his diabetes
  • Richard, who was on insulin for 25 years, and was able to stop taking it after just a few days of a high nutrient diet.

Do you disagree too? Have you reversed your diabetes by changing your lifestyle? If so, let Good Morning America know about it. Comment on the article, or send them your story.

I think that the hundreds of people who have reclaimed their lives by losing over 100 pounds following my high nutrient dietary recommendations would also disagree. Scott, Bill, Sue, Theresa, Anthony, and Julia, to name a few.

It’s not that diet and exercise aren’t enough – it’s just that small changes aren’t enough. A slightly modified version of the standard American diet is not enough. Artificially sweetened sodas and processed foods, excess meat, and a modest increase in vegetable intake cannot do the job of reversing diabetes. With their position statement, the IDF is perpetuating a misguided view, that lifestyle changes are not powerful enough to reverse disease.

Only dramatic changes will produce radical results. Surgery is radical. But there is a safer radical change – a radical lifestyle change, to a natural, high-nutrient plant-based diet-style, plus exercise.
In a recently published study, we investigated the efficacy of a high nutrient density diet for treating diabetes – 62% of the participants reached normal (nondiabetic) HbA1C levels within seven months, and the average number of medications dropped from four to one.4 All participants were able to eliminate or reduce medication, except one, who was already on the lowest dosage of Metformin. A high nutrient density diet has tremendous therapeutic potential for diabetes, and for dramatically reducing health care costs.

To those who are considering bariatric surgery, I ask you to please consider my nutritarian (high-micronutrient) diet-style changes first. We live in an obesity and diabetes-promoting food environment, but we can find freedom from these influences. My discovery that high nutrient eating derails toxic hunger and food addictions enables my overweight clients to achieve dramatic weight loss results that parallels or exceeds the long-term results of gastric bypass, and likewise, when diabetic, it most often resolves or dramatically improves.

Diabetics should be aware that superior nutrition works and it works better than drugs or surgery. Surgery will physically limit your portion sizes, but it will not remove addictive foods from your diet, and it will not give your body the nutrients it needs to protect you against heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Most often the initial results recede over the years as most of the surgery-treated individuals gain back much of the lost weight.

Once you become a nutritarian nutritional expert, consider the sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, and improved self-esteem that can come from losing the weight and watching diabetes disappear. Consider that you may be stronger than you think you are, and that you capable of reclaiming your health.

Also, surgery does not come without risk.

Potential complications of bariatric surgery:
Gastric bypass is the most common bariatric surgery, and carries the following risks5:

  • Infection
  • Hardening of the connection of the stomach to the small intestine
  • Bleeding
  • Obstruction of the small intestine
  • Gastrogastric fistulae (leaks between the “pouch” and the rest of the stomach), requiring additional surgery
  • Internal hernia, a potentially life-threatening complication that requires additional surgery6
  • Venous thromboembolism (blood clots)
  • Nutrient deficiencies7
  • Neurologic complications are said to be often disabling and irreversible, and many do not produce symptoms until over ten years after the surgery8
  • Bone loss

Diabetes and severe obesity both put the patient at greater risk of complications.5 Diabetes is associated with poor weight loss following gastric bypass.9

Laparoscopic gastric banding (lap-band) surgery is also not without complications – a recent study reported a long-term complication rate of over 40% (including leakages and band infections, and esophageal dilatation), a re-operation rate of 20.4%. The failure rate of the procedure after 10 years was 31.6%.10

Addiction and emotional attachment to food is so prevalent and so powerful in our culture that these surgical procedures seem more reasonable than diet change. But it is not – weight loss surgery is extreme and risky; my dietary approach is safe and in most cases, the results are even more effective compared to gastric-bypass surgery. It could save your life.

 

References:
1. American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery [http://www.asmbs.org]
2. Surgical and Procedural Interventions in the Treatment of Obese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A position statement from the International Diabetes Federation Taskforce on Epidemiology and Prevention.
3. Sjostrom L, Lindroos AK, Peltonen M, et al: Lifestyle, diabetes, and cardiovascular risk factors 10 years after bariatric surgery. The New England journal of medicine 2004, 351:2683-2693.
4. Dunaief D, Gui-shuang Y, Fuhrman J, et al. Glycemic and cardiovascular parameters improved in type 2 diabetes with the high nutrient density diet. Presented at the 5th IANA (International Academy on Nutrition and Aging) meeting July 26 & 27, 2010 Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa 1300 Tuyuna Trail Santa Ana Pueblo, NM, USA J Nutr Health Aging 2010;14:500.
5. Campos GM, Ciovica R, Rogers SJ, et al: Spectrum and risk factors of complications after gastric bypass. Arch Surg 2007, 142:969-975; discussion 976.
6. Schneider C, Cobb W, Scott J, et al: Rapid excess weight loss following laparoscopic gastric bypass leads to increased risk of internal hernia. Surg Endosc 2010.
7. Bell BJ, Bour ES, Scott JD, et al: Management of complications after laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Minerva Chir 2009, 64:265-276.
8. Juhasz-Pocsine K, Rudnicki SA, Archer RL, et al: Neurologic complications of gastric bypass surgery for morbid obesity. Neurology 2007, 68:1843-1850.
9. Campos GM, Rabl C, Mulligan K, et al: Factors associated with weight loss after gastric bypass. Arch Surg 2008, 143:877-883; discussion 884.
10. Naef M, Mouton WG, Naef U, et al: Graft survival and complications after laparoscopic gastric banding for morbid obesity--lessons learned from a 12-year experience. Obes Surg 2010, 20:1206-1214.

 

 

Help! I'm a People Pleaser

person standing in ocean waves

         Flickr  image credit:   Manky M.  

                                                                  

Are you currently engulfed in the sea of pleasing everyone but yourself?

Do you help your children and/or others reach their fullest potential, but neglect your own goals?

Are you afraid to “rock the boat” and say, “No” to others to the extent that you don’t take care of yourself?

Would you like to eat healthier, but are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings by rejecting their food?  Are you going along with the crowd at the expense of killing yourself? 

A people pleaser is concerned with the expectations of others and trying to fit in, even if it means compromising personal goals to do so.  Pleasing everyone is emotional dysfunction, and is usually on the side of evil, not goodness.  Trying to please others, even if what they are promoting is hurtful, is a deadly snare.  Gang members can torture and kill people trying to please their peer group.     

Don’t meet the expectations and demands of others if they are unrealistic and disease promoting.  Love means having the best affect on others, not acting in a way to be viewed more favorably.  The latter is weakness and self-love.     

If you are a habitual people pleaser it will take courage to change the dysfunction.  Saying no without feeling guilty can be difficult, but for optimal health, you must change damaging behaviors.

Standing up for yourself and doing what is right, not necessarily what is popular or what is promoted by your peers is the best gift that you can give to others!

Let’s dialogue.  In what practical way(s) do you need to change to be emotionally and physically healthy?  (Feel free to use a nickname if you wish to remain anonymous.)  

Your Hunger Can Help Keep You Healthy

A healthful diet can set you free from your food addictions and allow you to lose your toxic hunger. The food cravings will end and you will be able to stop overeating. Then, you will be back in contact with true hunger. When you achieve that, you will be able to accurately sense the calories you need to maintain your health and lean body.

I want to reiterate that as you adopt a high-nutrient eating-style by eating lots of healthy foods, it is common to go through an adjustment period in which you experience fatigue, weakness, lightheadedness, headaches, gas, and other mild symptoms. This generally lasts less than a week. Don’t panic or buy into the myth that to get relief you need more heavy or stimulating foods, such as high-protein foods, sweets, or coffee.

The feelings associated with these symptoms are not how true hunger feels. It is our unhealthy tendency to eat without experiencing true hunger that has caused us to become overweight in the first place. To have become overweight, a person’s food cravings, recreational eating, and other addictive drives that induce eating had to come into play. Poor nutrition causes these cravings, and nutritional excellence helps normalize or remove them. You will no longer need to overeat when you eat healthfully.

True hunger is not felt in the stomach or the head. When you eat healthfully and don’t overeat, you eventually are able to sense true hunger and accurately assess your caloric needs. Once your body attains a certain level of better health, you will begin to feel the difference between true hunger and just eating due to desire, boredom, stress, or withdrawal symptoms. While the best way to understand true hunger is to experience it for yourself. It has three primary characteristics:

  1. A sensation in your throat.
  2. Increased salivation.
  3. A dramatically-heightened taste sensation.

Not only will being in touch with true hunger help you reach your ideal weight, but you will feel well whether you eat or whether you delay eating or skip a meal.

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The Mediterranean Diet is Not as Healthy as You Think

The Mediterranean diet describes a cuisine common to countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It is characterized by regular consumption of fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, and nuts. Red meat is rarely consumed, chicken and fish appear in small amounts, some yogurt and cheese is used, and red wine is very common. One of the most defining elements is the use of pasta and olive oil. Where most of the fat in the American diet comes from cheese, butter, meat, and dangerous trans fats, the principal fat source there is olive oil.

Compared to the American population, those eating this way in the Mediterranean region exhibit a lower risk of heart disease and common cancers. Heart attack rates are 25 percent lower, and the rate of obesity is about half of America’s. The climate and fertile soil allow for many high nutrient plants to grow, which makes most of the dishes rich in phytochemicals. That, in turn, accounts for the diet’s protective effects. Nuts, particularly walnuts, are commonly used in the diet and they are a good source of omega-3 fats and other heart protective nutrients. The use of fish instead of meat also decreases saturated fat consumption and increases these beneficial fats. For these reasons, it is understandable why the Mediterranean diet is considered healthier than the SAD, but it is not without drawbacks. Studying its beneficial health outcomes—along with those of diets in other areas of the world such as Japan, rural China, Fiji, and Tibet— allows us to use the Mediterranean diet’s culinary principals to make a diet deliciously varied and even more disease protective, while avoiding its problems.

One of the diet’s main weak points is the use of pasta. The pasta intake should not be mimicked. There is very little difference between white bread and white pasta, and refined, white flour consumption has been linked to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and various cancers. Whole grains are immensely superior to refined white flour, but they still should not be consumed as a major source of calories. The benefit of the Mediterranean style of eating is the large consumption of fruits and vegetables, not pasta.

The heavy use of olive oil is also problematic because all oil has 120 calories per tablespoon, and those calories can add up fast. It is better to use olive oil than butter or margarine, but olive oil can easily sabotage your success. Ounce for ounce, it is one of the most fattening, calorie-dense foods on the planet. Vegetables prepared in olive oil soak up more oil than you would think, which transforms them into high-calorie dishes. Heavy oil use will add fat to our waistlines, heightening the risk of disease and making losing weight more difficult.

To continue to consume foods prepared in oil and maintain a healthful, slender figure, dieters must carefully count calories from oil and eat small portions of it. Remember, oil does not contain the nutrients, fiber, and phytochemicals that were in the original seed or fruit. Compared to the calories it supplies, it contains few nutrients except a little Vitamin E and a negligible amount of phytochemicals. Olive oil is not a health food. The Mediterranean people of past years ate lots of olive oil, but they also worked hard in the fields, walking about nine miles a day, often guiding a heavy plow. Today, people in the Mediterranean countries are overweight, just like us. They still eat lots of olive oil, but their consumption of fruits, vegetables, and beans is down. Meat and cheese consumption has risen, and the physical activity level has plummeted. That way of living is not worth mimicking. The fast food and food technology industries have permeated most of the modern world. These people now follow a diet much like our own, and the rates of heart disease and obesity are skyrocketing in these countries.

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Ha Ha Ha! Low-Carb, High-Protein Diets Damage Arteries.

Oh, those silly low-carb diets. Will they ever learn! Here’s more bad news for low-carb. A new study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found low-carb, high-protein diets damage arties:

Diets based on eating lots of meat, fish and cheese, while restricting carbohydrates have grown in popularity in recent years.

But the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the US found such habits caused artery damage in tests on mice.

The researchers and independent experts both agreed a balanced diet was the best option…

…Lead researcher Anthony Rosenzweig said the findings were so concerning to him that he decided to come off the low-carb diet he was following.

He added: "Our research suggests that, at least in animals, these diets could be having adverse cardiovascular effects.

"It appears that a moderate and balanced diet, coupled with regular exercise, is probably best for most people."

And in 2007, a study found low-carb diets, like Atkins, cause long-term damage to blood vessels. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of high-protein diets, all that saturated fat and insufficient plant nutrients increases risk of heart disease and cancer:

The Atkins diet (and other diets rich in animal products and low in fruits and unrefined carbohydrates) is likely to significantly increase a person's risk of colon cancer. Scientific studies show a clear and strong relationship between cancers of the digestive tract, bladder, and prostate with low fruit consumption. What good is a diet that lowers your weight but also dramatically increases your chances of developing cancer?

A meat-based, low-fiber diet, like the one Atkins advocates, includes little or no fruit, no starchy vegetables, and no whole grains. Following Atkin's recommendations could more than double your risk of certain cancers, especially meat-sensitive cancers, such as epithelial cancers of the respiratory tract.1 For example, a study conducted by the National Cancer Institute looked at lung cancer in nonsmoking women so that smoking would not be a major variable. Researchers found that the relative risk of lung cancer was six times greater in women in the highest fifth of saturated-fat consumption than those in the lowest fifth.

I asked Dr. Fuhrman to comment on this study. He chuckled at the news, saying, “This study definitely proves once and for all that mice should not be eating the Atkins diet. They should get Jenny Craig. Furthermore, vegetables make pigs fat, so maybe we shouldn't eat them either.”

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Omega-3s: Healthy Fats You May Not Be Getting Enough Of...

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that reduce inflammation, inhibit cancer development and protect our blood vessels. There are long-chain and short chain fatty acids. Short-chain omega-3 fats are found in some green vegetables, walnuts, and flax, chia, and hemp seeds. The basic building block of short-chain omega-3 fat is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Our bodies are only capable of converting a small amount of these short chain fats to long-chain omega-3 fats, called docoshexanoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Studies show that people have varying ability to convert ALA into DHA and EPA. Apparently, some people eating sufficient ALA from greens, seeds and walnuts can achieve adequate levels while others cannot. Men generally convert less than women. Conversion of ALA by the body to these longer-chain fatty acids is inefficient: < 5-10% for EPA and only 2-5% for DHA.1

DHA is one of the crucial building blocks of human brain tissue. It has been shown to protect against dementia, depression, inflammatory diseases, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), allergies, and to offer significant benefits for overall cardiovascular health.

Early in life, DHA is supplied via the placenta and from breast milk. While adequate DHA is particularly important for pregnant and nursing women and young children, it is beneficial for all ages!

  • Improves your child's intelligence
  • Aids depression and Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Improves memory
  • Important for brain and eye development
  • Promotes smoother skin; prevents wrinkles
  • Helps prevent heart disease and arthritis
  • Lowers risk of Alzheimer's and senior dementia
  • Lowers "bad" cholesterol

These long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are also produced by marine algae which serve as the source of DHA and EPA in fish. Although, fish is a good source of EPA and DHA, unfortunately, it's one of the most polluted foods which we eat. Therefore, it can not be considered a safe source of these healthy fats.

Fish have been shown to contain fat soluble petrochemicals, such as PCB's and dioxins as a result of the dumping of toxic waste and raw sewage into our oceans. Fish also contains mercury. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 12 women of childbearing age in the United States have unsafe mercury levels (and the CDC's threshold for safety is high). Multiple studies have illustrated most of the body's mercury load comes from the consumption of fish.

For these reasons, I recommend consuming little or no fish. If you choose to consume fish, try to stay away from those high in fat and known to be high in mercury such as shark, swordfish, mackerel, pike, tuna, snapper, lobster, grouper, sea bass and bluefish. Instead, use the lower fat (less polluted) fish such as flounder, sole, haddock, scallops, squid, trout, hake, ocean perch, shrimp and tilapia.

Some nutritional advisors encourage consuming high amounts of flax seed oil to promote the conversion of enough DHA. I do not agree. First of all, flax seed oil is an empty calorie food with little or no vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and flavonoids that were present in the original seeds. Furthermore, we have a significant collection of data that indicates that the consumption of high doses of ALA from flax oil may increase, not decrease the risk of prostate cancer.1 In contrast, flax seed consumption has been shown in multiple studies to lower the risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer.3

I prefer people not consume much fish to assure sufficient consumption or conversion of omega-3s. Since the ability to self-convert short chain ALA into long-chain DHA is so variable from person to person, I recommend a mixture of natural omega-3 containing plants plus some extra plant-derived DHA. I advise people obtain their omega-3 fats by consuming the cleaner, plant sources such as walnuts, flax, chia, and hemp seeds and by also taking a daily DHA supplement like my DHA Purity. My DHA Purity is a laboratory cultivated DHA product made from microalgae. It is a pure form of DHA without environmental contamination or unnecessary disruption of our ocean life. 

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Q & A: How Much Raw Food Should You Eat?

Raw food diets are very popular. They’re cool. A lot of people have success on them, but the truth is you don’t have to go 100% raw for superior health—some cooked food isn’t going to kill you! Now, in this quick discussion from Dr. Fuhrman’s member center, he talks about the optimal level of raw food and cooked food a diet should have:

Question: What is the percentage of raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds one should consume in his or her diet? In other words, how much of our diet should be raw food? I think I eat about 75% raw now. Is that too much raw? Can you have optimal health on 50% raw food if that raw food is comprised of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds?

Dr. Fuhrman: No, I think 75% raw as an ideal approximation is right. Consider that nuts and seeds avocados could supply about 30% to 40% of calories, raw fruits about 20%and raw vegetables about 20%. But of course, that does not mean a diet with more cooked greens and vegetable and bean soups would not be very healthy or as healthy.

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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.

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Teens Not Drinking Enough Milk, Really?

New findings in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior claim teenagers cut back too much on dairy products as they reach their 20s. Experts followed 1,500 people, males and females, tracking their calcium intake during high school and after high school. Results showed many consumed less than the daily recommended level of calcium, leading researchers to recommend more milk at mealtime. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s take on all this:

Sounds like the dairy industry put their stamp on this one. It is amazing how successful they have been at marketing their product to nutritionally ignorant Americans. It is true that a diet comprised of animal foods, soft drinks and refined grains is deficient in calcium.

But cow's milk is the appropriate source of calcium for baby cows, not human teenagers. When we choose dairy instead of fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds as our source of calcium source we help fuel a cancer epidemic.

When you get your calcium from fruits and vegetables you also get a full load of cancer-preventing phytochemicals.

Via HealthDay News.

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