In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman calls obesity "the number one health problem in the United States."
If the current trend continues by the year 2030 all adults in the United States will be obese. The National Institutes of Health estimate that obesity is associated with a twofold increase in mortality, costing society more than $100 billion per year.1Of course, regular readers of this blog know pretty well what he recommends as a solution: a healthy diet rich with vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, and raw nuts.
Dr. Fuhrman's approach was shown in a study to reduce LDL cholesterol 33%, making it the only nutritional approach shown to be more effective than statins.
Now there's news of a milder nutritional intervention that has been getting some milder--but promising results. A study published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating nutrient rich foods like tofu and oatmeal help lower cholesterol. Beth Duff-Brown of the Associated Press reports:
Jenkins, Canadian research chair in metabolism and nutrition at Toronto, and Dr. Cyril Kendall, also of the University of Toronto, studied 55 middle-aged men and women who had high cholesterol and were at risk for heart disease.
The participants were already on a heart-healthy diet. They were then prescribed a diet that included more specific foods, such as raw almonds, tofu and other soy foods, viscous fibers such as oatmeal, barley, okra and eggplant, and plant sterol-enriched margarine.
After a year, the group who stuck faithfully to the new eating plan lowered their cholesterol by an average of 29 percent. Jenkins said the rate was comparable to results from participants who had taken a statin drug for one month before starting the diet, as well as general studies of patients on such drugs.
1. Bender, R.C. Trautnet, M. Spraul, and M. Berger. 1998. Assessment of excess mortality in obesity. Am. J. Epidemiol. 147(1):42-48; Wolf, A.M., and G.A. Colditz. 1998. Current estimates of the economic cost of obesity in the United States. Obes. Res. 6(2):97-106.