More Beta-Blockers, More Heart Attacks

A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows beta-blockers, used to lower blood pressure, actually INCREASE heart attack-risk.

Dr. Fuhrman's thoughts:

Patients should be given the clear facts that medications do not have a significant impact on reducing heart attacks, the leading cause of death in people with high blood pressure. In fact, because of their negative effect on lipids and glucose levels, drug treatments such as beta-blockers and diuretics may even increase the risk of heart attacks in some individuals.

Instead, Dr. Fuhrman recommends exercise and dietary intervention, like avoiding salt and eating more fruits and vegetables, to treat hypertension.

Pomegranates are particularly AMAZING for blood pressure!

Grapes Lower Blood Pressure

A new study in the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences claims flavonoids in grapes may help LOWER blood pressure and REDUCE heart muscle damage. Especially in individuals consuming salt-heavy diets; Reuters reports.

Favonoids are superstars! And they’re NOT limited to grapes. Many foods, like broccoli and other green vegetables, are potent sources of flavonoids and healthful compounds like vitamins E, A, C and K and fiber, folate, lutein and lycopene.

And previous research has determined eating flavonoid-rich plant foods ENHANCE heart health by lowering cholesterol and improving blood flow and according to Dr. Fuhrman, you can eat broccoli and grapes everyday, in unlimited quantities!
 

Obesity Blamed for America's High Blood Pressure

A new study in the journal Hypertension reveals more Americans than EVER before have high blood pressure. Researchers from the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute blame the United States’ OBESITY epidemic for the increase; HealthDay News reports.

What makes this even MORE scary is a previous report claims BOTH doctors and patients are missing the mark when it comes to high blood pressure-prevention. Doctors are failing to screen patients and patients aren’t taking the appropriate measures to avoid it.

Diet is a MAJOR determining factor for high blood pressure. Dr. Fuhrman faults America’s unhealthy obsession with bad food. Processed foods are extremely HIGH in salt; increasing the risk of obesity, hypertension, stroke and other diseases.

But fruits and vegetables, like pomegranates, NATURALLY lower blood pressure, prevent heart attack and stroke and PROTECT against cancer. Also, other research has shown that certain types of MUSIC, such as Celtic and classical, can help lower blood pressure too!

Salt Ups Blood Pressure

Salt is NOT your friend. According to Dr. Fuhrman salt is one of the foods ransacking America’s health. Salt is EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING! It’s a HUGE money-maker for junk food producers.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that another study is linking salt to hypertension pressure. At the American Heart Association's 62nd Annual Fall Conference of the Council High Blood Pressure Research scientists reported that cutting salt helps control high-blood pressure; Reuters reports.

We’ve seen this before, just a couple months ago a study by Harvard Medial School revealed salt’s negative impact on blood pressure. Bottom line, AVOID salt! Stick with fruits and veggies for optimal heart health. Oh! And Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest is a GREAT substitute for salt.
 

Toxic Lead is Everywhere!

Our environment is polluted. Toxins lurk around EVERY corner. Take lead for example. It’s in vitamins, left over fishing tackle, artificial sports turf and garden hoses! Makes me MAD, I love fishing, sports and gardening!

And here’s something really disturbing. Previous reports have linked exposure to lead as a child with CRIMINAL behavior later in life. So, if you’re concerned about lead. CBS provides this list of lead’s hiding places. Take a look:

  • Plumbing
  • Home renovations
  • City gardening
  • Ceramic dishes
  • Hunting or fishing supplies
  • Art supplies

The report also claims lead can weaken bones and raise blood pressure. No doubt, people of all ages need to watch out for toxins, but especially kids. Dr. Fuhrman insists parents must be careful NOT to expose their kids to toxic compounds.

Baby's Weight Gain May Lead to Hypertension

A new study by University of Bristol has determined that babies who gain weight rapidly during their first few months after birth are more likely to develop high blood pressure as adults—hypertension is often called the “silent killer.”

The research appears in the latest Hypertension. More from Reuters:

They found that those who gained weight more rapidly in the first five months after birth and again from about age 2 to 5 were more likely to have high systolic blood pressure.

Immediate weight gain after birth also was linked to higher adult diastolic blood pressure, they found.

Systolic blood pressure is the pressure in the arteries while the heart contracts. Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart relaxes between beats.

"When trying to understand why some people get high blood pressure in later life, we need to consider a life course approach that considers early life as well as adult life risk factors such as dietary salt and obesity," Yoav Ben-Shlomo of the University of Bristol in Britain, who led the study published in the journal Hypertension, said in a statement.

I like the concept of a “life course” approach. Falls right in line with Dr. Fuhrman’s thinking. Here’s what I mean. Feeding your toddler French fries is a BAD idea! Healthy eating for the whole family is a GOOD idea.

And nixing salt is a smart move too. Salt is definitely one of America’s food addictions and can fuel toxic hunger. Now, as for obesity, obesity makes us sick in SO many ways and here’s a new problem, undiagnosed cases of diabetes.

The Harvard Medical School claims that while obesity increases diabetes-risk, it does NOT increase the likelihood individual's diabetes will be diagnosed—it’s in Diabetes Care.

Blood Pressure, Salt's Not Your Friend...


Salt, unless you have an icy driveway, it won’t do you much good. In fact, Dr. Fuhrman recommends avoiding salt—for A LOT of reasons—and now a new study by the Harvard Medial School further exposes the link between salt and high blood pressure. Ed Edelson of HealthDay News reports:
The study, which included researchers at the University of Cambridge, looked at one possible genetic factor that might make people more or less vulnerable to the effects of salt intake on blood pressure -- variants of a gene for angiotensinogen, a molecule that can raise blood pressure by tightening arteries.

But the study of more than 11,000 European men and women found no relationship between variant forms of the gene and the effect of salt on blood pressure. The people who took in and excreted more salt had higher blood pressure, regardless of genetics, according to the report in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"It is a carefully done study that strongly confirms the relationship between salt and hypertension [high blood pressure]," said Dr. Mordecai P. Blaustein, a professor of physiology and medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who has done research on the mechanism by which too much salt causes high blood pressure.

"The power of this study is that it includes a very large cohort," said Blaustein, who is also director of the Maryland Center for Heart, Hypertension and Kidney Disease. "Also, they directly measured salt excretion."

Dr. Paul R. Conlin, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal, added: "The study clearly showed that people who had elevated salt intake were the ones who had high blood pressure. That was independent of the genotype for this specific gene."
Obviously, this is a good reason NOT to consume salty foods, but salt is a tricky thing. If you eat or buy food not produced by your own hands, it’s hard to avoid. I’ll be honest with you, being my own salt-arbiter is probably the biggest challenge I still face as a diet conscious individual.

More on Treadmill Stress Tests...

Last month NBC’s Tim Russert suffered a fatal heart attack at age 58, shocking the country. He recently passed a stress test, so how could this happen? In a post Dr. Fuhrman explains why stress tests fail to determine heart attack risk. Here’s an excerpt:
A stress test is not an accurate test for determining the risk of a heart attack. A stress test only identifies obstructions, it doesn't identify vulnerable plaque—the plaque that is likely to throw a clot. A stress test can only detect a blockage of more than 80% and the propensity of plaque to rupture has nothing to do with the amount of obstruction…

…Stress tests are big money-makers for doctors. They identify those people with large blockages who qualify as candidates for costly angioplasty or bypass surgery. However, drugs and medical procedures reduce risk only slightly.
Now, Jane E. Brody of The New York Times talks to Dr. Todd D. Miller, a cardiologist and co-director of the Mayo Clinic’s Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory in Rochester, Minn., about the shortcomings of stress tests. Take a look:
Mr. Russert’s treadmill test may have put him in the low-risk category, Dr. Miller said, “but that doesn’t mean no risk.”

“Maybe 3 patients in 1,000 with a low-risk test will die from heart disease within a year,” he said. “Among those deemed at high risk, more than 3 patients in 100 would die within a year.”

Furthermore, when the stress test is used for people who are at low risk for heart disease, an abnormal finding is most often a false positive that prompts further testing that is far more costly, Dr. Miller said.

The stress test’s main advantages are its rapidity and low cost — one-fifth to one-quarter the cost of more definitive and often more time-consuming tests like a nuclear stress test, CT coronary angiogram or standard angiogram. Medicare pays about $150 for a standard stress test, though hospitals typically charge three to four times that when the test is done on younger patients.
Criticism for stress tests is not new. In 2007, Karen Dente, M.D., a medical journalist based in Brooklyn, New York, stated that as stress-testing and coronary angiograms may no longer be the true gold standard for detecting coronary stenosis. Via Medscape:
"Conventional stress-testing and angiogram gives you no information on whether a plaque is going to rupture," David DuBois, MD, an attendee at the symposium and emergency medicine specialist from Pinehurst, North Carolina, told Medscape. "[With these tests] there are a lot of false-positives and false-negatives," he said.


One of the hottest current discussions in the evaluation of acute coronary syndromes is centered around the use of computed tomography coronary angiography. "CT technology is advancing at a very fast rate," said Amal Mattu, MD, associate professor and program director of emergency medicine residency at the University of Maryland, explaining the technology's improved detection in plaque composition and remodeling compared with conventional diagnostic tests.

"If you have a radiologist that can give you an accurate reading with the new 64-head multidetector CT scans, you can detect occlusions better," according to Dr. Dubois. But we are still a long way from having the new technology replace standard coronary angiography for the detection of large coronary stenoses, he said. "It is not going to change the [current] practice any time soon."
Sadly, this information can’t help Tim Russert, but doctors and patients should now take note that traditional testing procedures might be lulling us into a false sense of security by not revealing crucial life-saving data.

Study: Fiber Cuts Preeclampsia-Risk


New research by the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine has determined that eating fiber reduces women’s risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy. Here’s some of the abstract via The American Journal of Hypertension:
Background: Substantial epidemiological evidence documents diverse health benefits, including reduced risks of hypertension, associated with diets high in fiber. Few studies, however, have investigated the extent to which dietary fiber intake in early pregnancy is associated with reductions in preeclampsia risk. We assessed the relationship between maternal dietary fiber intake in early pregnancy and risk of preeclampsia. We also evaluated cross-sectional associations of maternal early pregnancy plasma lipid and lipoprotein concentrations with fiber intake.

Conclusions: These findings of reduced preeclampsia risk with higher total fiber intake corroborate an earlier report; and expand the literature by providing evidence, which suggests that dietary fiber may attenuate pregnancy-associated dyslipidemia, an important clinical characteristic of preeclampsia.
Very science heavy for a dingy blogger like me—I had to Wikipedia preeclampisa—but dietary fiber is very health-promoting. Just check out this illustration from Dr. Fuhrman:



That guy almost looks like the liquid metal terminator.

Men's Health, All Screwed Up...


Mike Howard of Diet Blog investigates why men’s health is in the crapper. Here are some disturbing snippets from the post:
Compared to women, men...
  • Have higher death rates for all 15 leading causes of death (except Alzheimer's disease) and die more than five years younger.
  • Represent 50% of the work force, yet account for 94% of all on-the-job fatalities.
  • Know less about health and take less responsibility for it.
  • Are less likely to see themselves as ill or susceptible to disease or injury.
Why Men Die Younger than Women
  • They have less-healthy diets
  • They have higher blood pressure and do less to control it
  • They sleep less
  • They smoke more
  • They engage in more criminal activity
  • They have smaller social networks and less intimate and active social relationships
Listen, go to the mall on a busy day and just count ALL the middle-aged guys with big bellies and handfuls of mall food.

Bigger Belly Means Greater Death Risk


When Dr. Fuhrman wrote Eat to Live he pointed out that obesity is a major detriment to long term. It sets you up for a whole mess of health problems. Here’s an excerpt:
Obesity is an important predictor of chronic ailments and quality of life than any other public scourge. In a recent survey of 9,500 Americans, 36 percent were overweight and 23 percent were obese, yet only 19 percent were daily smokers and 6 percent heavy drinkers.

With time, the ravages of obesity predispose the typical American adult to depression, diabetes, and hypertension and increase the risks of death in all ages and in almost every ethnic and gender group. The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that 300,000 deaths annually are caused by or related to obesity.
Clearly he’s onto something. A new study has determined that a large waist circumference is linked to an increased risk of death. Reuters reports:
"People should not only look at their weight, but also consider their waist," Dr. Annemarie Koster of the National Institute on Aging, the lead researcher on the study, told Reuters Health.


Being overweight or obese is clearly bad for one's health, but the best way to gauge whether a person's fatness is putting them at risk has been "controversial," Koster and her team write in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Body mass index, or BMI, has been the standard measurement used, they add, but the way fat is distributed throughout the body -- especially at the waistline -- may be even more important than how many excess pounds a person is carrying.

To investigate the relationship among belly fat, BMI and mortality, the researchers followed 245,533 men and women participating in the National Institutes of Health-American Association of Retired Persons study. Study participants ranged in age from 51 to 72 at the study's outset, and were followed for nine years.

Among men, the researchers found, those in the top fifth based on their waist circumference were about 22 percent more likely to die during the study period than men with trimmer waistlines, independent of BMI. A similar risk was seen among women.
Why are some many Americans obese? In his new book, Eat for Health, Dr. Fuhrman believes that people are simply making the wrong food choices. Take a look:
Many people suffer from medical ailments because they were never taught about their bodies’ nutritional requirements. We eat entirely too many low-nutrient foods, which gives us excessive calories without enough nutrients. Our nutrient-deprived body then craves more food, and the availability of calorie-rich, low-nutrient foods enables us to eat ourselves to death. A diet based on milk, meats, cheese, pasta, bread, fried foods, and sugar-filled snacks and drinks lays the groundwork for obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, digestive disorders, and autoimmune illnesses.
Here’s an experiment. Go to the supermarket and count the number of people in the produce isle and then the snack food isle. Let me know what happens.

Pomegranate Juice Good for the Little Man


New research claims that drinking pomegranate juice can help with erectile dysfunction. Chris Sparling of That’s Fit passes it along:
Pomegranate juice has for quite some time been touted for its antioxidant properties. Citing heart health as a primary benefit of its ability to help prevent free radical damage, many people made the switch to this more expensive juice in recent years…

…A University of California study revealed that drinking a glass of pomegranate juice every day helps erectile dysfunction. It turns out that the same antioxidant properties that help ward off free radical damage also prevent circulatory issues, thus offering a wee bit of help to the fellas who need it.
I drink a shot of pomegranate juice everyday, but not for this reason! Now, Dr. Fuhrman is a big fan of pomegranates. Take a look:
Not only are pomegranates good for your heart and blood vessels but they have been shown to inhibit breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia and to prevent vascular changes that promote tumor growth in lab animals.1


Pomegranates' potent antioxidant compounds have also been shown to reduce platelet aggregation and naturally lower blood pressure, factors that prevent both heart attacks and strokes.2 Pomegranates contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, potent antioxidants offering protection against heart disease and cancer. A glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, and cranberries.

Pomegranate juice has also been found to contain phytochemical compounds that stimulate serotonin and estrogen receptors, improving symptoms of depression and improving bone mass in lab animals.3

Given the fact that pomegranate juice is so rich in heart protective compounds and there are animal studies to support the beneficial findings in human studies, it makes the results of these recent investigations understandable and believable. Pomegranate is a powerful food for good health.
So, why not give these pomegranate inspired recipes a try: Got Pomegranate?
Continue Reading...

Salt, Not a Big Deal?


This sounds a little nutty, but a new study claims that a low-salt diet might not be heart healthy after all. More from Randy Dotinga of HealthDay News:
"No one should run out and buy a salt shaker to try to improve their cardiovascular health. But we think it's reasonable to say that different people have different needs," said study author Dr. Hillel W. Cohen, an associate professor of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

The study, published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, doesn't confirm that a low-salt diet itself is bad for the heart. But it does say that people who eat the least salt suffer from the highest rates of death from cardiac disease.

"Our findings suggest that one cannot simply assume, without evidence, that lower salt diets 'can't hurt,' " Cohen said.

Cohen and his colleagues looked at a federal health survey of about 8,700 Americans between 1988 and 1994. All were over 30, and none were on special low-salt diets.

The researchers then checked to see what happened to the volunteers by the year 2000.

Even after the researchers adjusted their statistics to account for the effect of cardiac risk factors like smoking and diabetes, the 25 percent of the population who ate the least salt were 80 percent more likely to die of cardiac disease than the 25 percent who ate the most salt.
Yeah, I wouldn’t start downing the salt anytime soon. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of salt. Here are his thoughts on salt and health:
For maximum disease prevention, sodium levels should be held to the levels that are normal to our biological needs—under 1000 mg per day. High-sodium diets lead to high blood pressure, which causes an estimated two-thirds of all strokes and almost half of all heart attacks. According to the National Institute of Health. Consuming less sodium is one of the single most important ways to prevent cardiovascular disease.1 The most commonly cited behaviors that lead to maximal health and disease prevention and reversal are: not smoking; maintaining a healthy, slim body weight; eating a high-nutrient-dense diet rich in vegetables and fruits; and limiting trans fat and saturated fat. But avoiding excess sodium ranks right up there alongside them. Excess sodium consumption is a primary killer in our modern toxic food environment, but it is all too often overlooked by most people until it is too late to do anything about it.


Natural foods contain about .5 mg of sodium per calorie or less. If you are trying to keep the sodium level in your diet to a safe level, avoid foods that have more sodium than calories per serving. It would be impossible to consume too much (or too little) sodium if a person just ate a healthful diet of real food in its natural state.

If your daily intake of whole natural foods consists of about 2000 calories, your daily intake of sodium will be less than 1000 mg. By comparison, the average adult sodium intake in the United States is around 4000 mg for every 2000 calories consumed. Americans are not alone in their dangerous over-consumption of sodium. Most of the world’s population consumes 2300–4600 mg of sodium each day (1–2 teaspoons of salt).

I suggest that you should not add more than 200–300 mg of extra sodium to your diet over and above what is in natural foods. That allows you to have one serving of something each day that has some sodium added to it, but all other foods should have only the sodium that Mother Nature put in them.
I think what the research is should say is that a crappy diet without salt isn’t that much better than a crappy diet with salt.
Continue Reading...

Thursday: Health Points


Using surveillance of hospital staff to observe the ways the wipes are used routinely, researchers discovered hospital workers were using the same antimicrobial wipe on many surfaces, from bed rails to monitors, tables, and keypads. One wipe was frequently used to wipe down several surfaces or to wipe down the same surface repeatedly before being thrown away.

The research team then replicated the disinfecting methods they’d observed for laboratory analysis. The lab findings showed that some wipes were more effective than others at removing bacteria from hard surfaces but they did not kill them. When the bacteria-laden wipe was used repeatedly on one surface or on several, it spread the bacteria instead of eliminating it.
The Agriculture Department, which detected the flu in samples tested at its Ames, Iowa, laboratories, said the H7N3 strain of influenza isn't dangerous to humans. Although the Tyson flock of 15,000 chickens is being destroyed, regulators aren't blocking U.S. consumers from eating chicken raised in Arkansas, the largest poultry-producing state after Georgia.


The Tyson label has been a point of contention and confusion since it was cleared by the Agriculture Department in May 2007. As the department was moving to rescind the label, Tyson officials tried to beat regulators to the punch by announcing earlier this week that it was "voluntarily" withdrawing the label.

Removing the label quickly is a logistical and financial headache for Tyson, which said Tuesday that the Agriculture Department's June 18 deadline is "unrealistic." Tyson says it has "several months" of chicken labeled "antibiotic-free" in storage.

Agriculture Minister Chung Woon-chun said earlier Tuesday that Seoul had asked the U.S. to refrain from exporting any beef from cattle 30 months of age and older, considered at greater risk of the illness.


Presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said the president told a weekly Cabinet meeting that "it is natural not to bring in meat from cattle 30 months of age and older as long as the people do not want it."

The spokesman also expressed hope that the United States would respect South Korea's position following large-scale anti-government protests over the weekend.
The risk of being hospitalized was greatest among babies 6 months old and younger, but the increased risk persisted up until the children were 8 years old, Dr. M. K. Kwok of the University of Hong Kong and colleagues found. Children who were premature or low birth weight were particularly vulnerable.


The findings suggest that secondhand smoke exposure may not only be harmful to children's respiratory tracts, but to their immune systems as well, Kwok and colleagues say.

Hong Kong banned smoking in public places in 2007, but babies and children may still be exposed to secondhand smoke at home, the researchers note in their report in the journal Tobacco Control. While the danger smoke exposure poses to children's developing respiratory systems is well understood, less is known about its effects on overall infection risks.

Scientists previously thought that fat cells were relatively passive and inert. Now they have evidence that fat cells are metabolically active, continuously communicating with the brain and other organs through at least 25 hormones and other signaling chemicals.


For example, fat cells seem to release hormones that inform the brain how much energy is left and when to stop (or start) eating, guide muscles in deciding when to burn fat and tell the liver when to replenish its fat stores.

All this cross talk can be a mixed blessing in the body, however. A healthy population of fat cells, for example, helps the immune system fight off infection by releasing chemicals that cause mild inflammation. But an overactive group of fat cells might keep the inflammation permanently in the "on" position, eventually leading to heart disease.
Adult-onset asthma, like other inflammatory diseases that disproportionately affect women such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, may be a relatively strong risk factor for heart disease and stroke, Dr. Stephen J. Onufrak from the US Department of Agriculture, Stoneville, Mississippi told Reuters Health.


Onufrak and colleagues used data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study to examine the association of asthma with the risks of heart disease and stroke according to gender.

They found that, compared with their counterparts without asthma, women with adult-onset asthma had a 2.10-fold increase in the rate of heart disease and a 2.36-fold increase in the rate of stroke.

There was no association between childhood- or adult-onset asthma and heart disease or stroke in men, or between childhood-onset asthma and heart or stroke in women.

Researchers found that among 9,100 middle-aged men at higher-than- average risk of heart disease, those with gout were more likely to die of a heart attack or other cardiovascular cause over 17 years.


The findings should give men with gout extra incentive to have a doctor assess their cardiac risks, lead researcher Dr. Eswar Krishnan told Reuters Health.

And if they have modifiable risk factors -- like high cholesterol, high blood pressure or excess pounds -- it will be particularly important to get them under control, noted Krishnan, an assistant professor at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Give Yourself Permission to Do Less.
If you're struggling to exercise at all, bribe yourself with a mini-workout--it's better than none. You may not need to, once you get going, but the "permission" should be sincere. It's not the end of the world to shave off 10 minutes of cardio or skip a few strength training exercises. Check your routine for duplicate exercises that work the same muscles --you may be able to alternate rather than doing them all every time. If the thought of an easier workout gets you out the door, it's well worth doing "less" sometimes.


Change Routes and Routines.
Another obvious tip, but one we don't do often enough. If you exercise outdoors and have found the "best" route available for your run or walk, it can be tempting to just stick to it until you are totally sick of it but don't even realize it. Find new routes, or if there are none, revisit rejects that seemed too hilly or busy or boring--they may make a good change of pace even if they're not perfect.

Dopey About Heart Attacks...

According to a new study most people don’t know the symptoms of a heart attack. Reuters reports:
Symptoms can include nausea and pain in the jaw, chest or left arm. But the research team said shorter hospital stays and a move to outpatient treatment have decreased the amount of patient education on the subject.

Kathleen Dracup and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Nursing said they looked at 3,522 patients in the United States, Australia and New Zealand who had previously suffered a heart attack or had undergone a procedure, such as angioplasty, for heart disease.

They found that 44 percent of them scored poorly on a true-false test measuring how savvy they were about symptoms.
Here’s an idea. Try not to have one in the first place. Remember, only you can prevent heart attacks.

Ticker Troubles...

New research has determined that erectile dysfunction is a huge warning sign for heart trouble in men with type-2 diabetes. More from the UPI:
Peter Chun-Yip Tong of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, in Hong Kong says diabetes, erectile dysfunction and heart disease share an ominous link: damage to the blood vessels by high blood sugar levels.

The same process that hinders the extra blood flow needed to maintain an erection can have even more serious consequences in the heart, the researchers say.

"The development of erectile dysfunction should alert both patients and healthcare providers to the future risk of coronary heart disease," Tong says in a statement. "Other risk factors such as poor blood glucose control, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking and obesity should be reviewed and addressed aggressively."
Also, sleep apnea has been found to increase the risk of heart problems when flying. Anna Boyd of eFluxMedia reports:
Lead author Leigh Seccombe, MSc, of Concord Repatriation General Hospital in Sydney and colleagues investigated the physiological response of 22 patients with severe OSA and without lung disease, to a simulation of an aircraft cabin and compared the results to that of 10 healthy subjects.


More exactly, the researchers looked at the participants’ ventilatory response and at the amount of oxygen circulating in their bloodstream during the simulation.

The study found that people with OSA had lower levels of oxygen in their blood before and during the simulated flight. Also, these people experienced higher heart rates, physiological stress and demand for oxygen than healthy people.

"Patients with OSA, without lung disease, are more likely to develop significant hypoxemia [low blood oxygen] and have increased oxygen demands during flight,” the study concluded.
You don’t need me to tell you, but you’ve got to keep your heart in tiptop shape. Here, I’ll let Dr. Fuhrman remind you:
What good is living longer if we can’t enjoy emotional and physical wellness and a full life? Applied to its fullest potential, high-nutrient eating can be the most effective therapy to reverse diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. It is the powerful medicine to get you well and keep you well in later life. Achieving good health through healthful living is your most important investment and it will pay you back with tremendous interest in your later years.
I wonder if my heart gets happy when I pound a bag of baby spinach.

Too Much Hooch Bad for Your Ticker

A new study has determined that heavy drinkers have higher blood pressure, stiffer arteries, and more rigid heart muscles. Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters reports:
They defined heavy drinking as more than 21 drinks a week for men and more than 14 per week for women.

"We definitely see quite a deleterious effect," said Dr. Azra Mahmud of St. James Hospital in Dublin, who presented her findings at a meeting of the American Society of Hypertension in New Orleans.

"The most worrisome aspect is in women. It has a direct toxic effect," Mahmud said in a telephone interview. "Basically, women are not able to cope with high alcohol consumption. It is going directly to the heart and damaging it."

Once a heart becomes enlarged -- a sign it has been overtaxed -- it is difficult to reverse. Mahmud said prior studies have suggested that people with enlarged hearts are five to six times more likely to have heart attacks.

Moderate drinking has been shown in many studies to have heart benefits. But heavy drinking counteracts these benefits and can cause serious harm, she said.
Now, Dr. Fuhrman wouldn’t certainly encourage you not to drink heavily or moderately for that matter. He explains:
Recent studies show that even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to significantly increased incidence of atrial fibrillation,1 a condition that can lead to stroke, and to higher rates of breast cancer.2,3


Alcohol is not actually heart-healthy. It simply has anti-clotting effects, much like aspirin.

Researchers have found that even moderate consumption of alcohol—including wine—interferes with blood clotting and, thereby, reduces heart attacks in high-risk populations—people who eat the typical, disease-promoting American diet.

Moderate drinking is defined as a maximum of two drinks for men. Consuming more than this is associated with increased fat around the waist4 and other potential problems. For example, alcohol consumption leads to mild withdrawal sensations the next day that are commonly mistaken for hunger, which leads people to eat more than is genuinely necessary, resulting in weight gain.
If you’re eating for health, drinking is defenitly a drink at your own risk situation. I know that’s how I look at it. My personal rules for drinking can be found in this post: Beer Muscles Explained. Continue Reading...

Music Soothes the Savage Blood Pressure

New research has determined that listening to certain types of music— classical, Celtic, or Indian—actually helps improve blood pressure. More from WebMD:
The patients were assigned to listen to the CD for 30 minutes per day for a month and to breathe slowly while listening to the music, taking twice as long to exhale as to inhale. At the end of the month, the patients wore the blood pressure monitor again.

The patients' blood pressure improved during the study. When the experiment ended, their average systolic blood pressure (the first number in a blood pressure reading) had dropped three points, and their average diastolic blood pressure (the second number in a blood pressure reading) had dropped four points.

For comparison, 20 other patients didn't listen to music or practice slow breathing. Their blood pressure didn't change during the study.

It's not clear what mattered more, the music or the slow breathing. "The antihypertensive effects [have] to be considered as the result of the combination of music and breathing exercises," Professor Pietro A. Modesti, MD, PhD, of Italy's University of Florence notes.
I’ve been a music buff all my life. My apartment is stacked with CDs and speaking of Indian music. I love this little ditty—hope you enjoy it too:



Lately when the Yankees are losing I’ll put that on to keep me from throwing the television out the window.

Heart Health: Aspirin a Miracle?

“With very few exceptions, nobody is predestined to have a heart attack. Heart disease is easily preventable, but not by taking aspirin,” explains Dr. Fuhrman, but a new study links taking aspirin with lower blood pressure. Ed Edelson of HealthDay News reports:
The new report is the first study to show the drug's benefit -- although only when taken at night -- with prehypertension, defined as blood pressure just below the 140/90 level. Prehypertension is a known warning sign of future risk of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular problems.

Why aspirin should do its good work for blood pressure at night but not in the daytime is not clear, Hermida said. Research indicates that it can slow the production of hormones and other substances in the body that cause clotting, many of which are produced while the body is at rest.

The three-month study included 244 adults diagnosed with prehypertension. A third of them were advised to follow general rules of hygiene and diet designed to reduce blood pressure, another third were told to take a 100-milligram aspirin tablet every night at bedtime, and the final third were told to take the same aspirin dose on awakening.

Researchers monitored blood pressure levels at 20-minute intervals from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and at 30-minute intervals at night before the trial began and three months later.

Systolic blood pressure (the higher number in the 140/90 reading) dropped 5.4 points and diastolic pressure by 3.4 points for those taking aspirin before bedtime. No drop in blood pressure was found in those taking morning aspirin or following the general guidelines.
Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t agree with all the mumbo-jumbo surrounding aspirin and heart health. He talks about it here:
Five studies to date have examined the effects of daily or every-other-day aspirin use for primary prevention for periods of four to seven years.1 Most participants were men older than 50 years. Meta-analysis of the pooled data from all of the studies show that aspirin therapy reduced risk for coronary events by 28 percent, but with no decrease in mortality. In other words, aspirin use did not result in longer life. There was no reduction of death due to heart attack or stroke.


Based on this unimpressive data, and in spite of pooled data that shows for most adults, aspirin therapy causes more harm than good,2 most Americans take it for granted that taking an aspirin every day will prevent heart disease.

Advice on aspirin for prevention against heart attacks and stroke must be based on each individual’s cardiac risk. For those at very high risk, with known risk factors such as the conventional, high-saturated fat, low-nutrient diet, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and overweight, the benefits of aspirin may outweigh the risk. But for those of us who eat healthfully, exercise and don’t smoke, taking aspirin will increase our risk of cerebral hemorrhage and other bleeding complications.

For healthy people, the risks outweigh the benefits. That is why, in contrast to typical physician recommendations aimed at reducing risk, I recommend that people eliminate their risk factors. Daily aspirin consumption is for those satisfied with mediocrity and willing to gamble with their lives.
I know a few people that take aspirin daily and all of them are overweight, out of shape, and take aspirin as a result of previous heart trouble. Seems like an ineffective easy way out to me.
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Have a Healthy Heart!

How do you keep your heart healthy? Well, for a long time Americans have turned to drugs. Has it worked? Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times investigates:
While doctors still advise patients to diet, exercise and stop smoking, the medical community has adopted an almost singular focus on cholesterol-lowering drugs as the fastest and best way to battle heart disease. Americans spend $18 billion a year on cholesterol-reducing drugs, making them the nation’s biggest-selling class of drugs.

Clearly, drug treatments have played a role in the health of American hearts. Since 1950, age-adjusted death rates from cardiovascular disease have dropped 60 percent, a statistic praised by government health officials.

Average blood pressure and cholesterol levels are dropping, partly because of drug treatments. But drugs don’t get all the credit. A sharp drop in smoking has had a huge impact on heart health. And major changes in diet have also played a role. Surveys of the food supply suggest that consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol has decreased since the early 1900s. Medical care has also improved.

But an important lesson from the last 50 years is that when it comes to improving heart health, it is important to look beyond the medicine cabinet.

Just a few small changes — eating more fish, vegetables, nuts and fiber — can have a major impact on your risk for heart problems. For some people, drinking moderate amounts of wine may offer additional benefits. Even a 55-year-old man who is about 20 pounds overweight and does not exercise regularly will have a heart-disease risk far below average if he regularly consumes fish, nuts, fiber and vegetables and drinks moderate amounts of wine.
Okay, it makes sense that drugs would make an impact, but, are they really the best option? Dr. Fuhrman has his doubts. He points out some the drawbacks of drugs:
When resorting to medical intervention, rather than dietary modifications, other problems arise, reducing the potential reduction in mortality possible, as these individuals are at risk of serious side effects from the medication. The known side effects for various statins (the most popular and effective medications to lower cholesterol) include hepatitis, jaundice, other liver problems, gastrointestinal upsets, muscle problems and a variety of blood complications such as reduced platelet levels and anemia.
So, what’s the answer? America’s got it half right. You do need to change your diet, but for OPTIMAL health you’ve got to make a profound change—not just a few small changes. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
When you drop body fat, your cholesterol lowers somewhat. But when you reduce animal protein intake and increase vegetable protein intake, your cholesterol lowers dramatically. In fact, when a high-fiber, high-nutrient, vegetable-heavy diet was tested in a scientific investigation, it was found to lower cholesterol even more than most cholesterol-lowering drugs.1


The cholesterol-lowering effects of vegetables and beans (high-protein foods) are without question. However, they contain an assortment of additional heart disease-fighting nutrients independent of their ability to lower cholesterol.2

In areas of the world where people eat a diet of unrefined plant foods, people have total cholesterol levels below 150, and there is zero incidence of heart disease in the population.3

The average cholesterol level in rural China, as documented in the massive China Cornell Project, was 127 mg/dl. Heart attacks were rare, and both cancer and heart disease rates plummeted as cholesterol levels fell, which reflected very low animal product consumption. The lowest occurrence of heart disease and cancer occurred in the group that consumed plant-based diets with less than two servings of animal products per week.
I think most people approach health and nutrition too cavalierly. You need to be vigilant. It’s a fulltime job. You can’t go half-assed—know what I mean?
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Wednesday: Health Points

Harvard researcher Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, and colleagues in Italy studied 870 people diagnosed with DVT from 1995 to 2005. They compared their particulate air pollution exposure in the year before their diagnosis to that of 1,210 matched people without DVT.

They found that DVT risk goes up 70% for every 10 microgram-per-cubic-meterrise in particulate air pollution above 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air (the lowest pollution level measured in the study).

The U.S. EPA standard for particulate air pollution is 150 micrograms per cubic meter of air. However, it's likely that fine and very fine particles cause most of the health risks linked to particulate air pollution.
The simple truth, experts say, is that pounds must also be shed to keep cardiovascular trouble away.


"There is a debate out there about whether this generation is going to live as long as their parents, and the truth is they probably won't," said study author Dr. Gregory L. Burke, director of the division of public health sciences at Wake Forest University School of medicine in Winston-Salem, NC.

"My ultimate worry is that we've seen a 50-year decline in cardiovascular disease mortality, but if you begin to look at recent trends, it's beginning to plateau," he added. "And my fear is that because of the increase in obesity we're going to begin to see a reversal of that trend where heart disease rates begin to go up."
On Saturday, a tornado with the second-strongest rating killed six people, destroyed a 20-block area, and blew dust off mountains of mining waste, or chat piles.


"You can look at the chat piles and see that a lot of the material has blown off," said John Sparkman, head of the Picher housing authority. "We went up on a chat pile an hour and a half after the tornado hit, and you could see dust blowing fine material all over the place from that vantage point."

Long-term exposure to lead dust poses a health risk, particularly to young children.
The two conditions appear to increase one's risk for retinal vein occlusion, a condition that leads to vision loss. It results from one or more veins carrying blood from the eye to the heart becoming blocked and causing bleeding or fluid build-up, according to background information in the report published in the May issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.


The Irish study found that people with high blood pressure had more than 3.5 times the risk of developing retinal vein occlusion than those without it. People with high cholesterol levels had an approximately 2.5-fold higher risk of retinal vein occlusion.

The findings come from an analysis of 21 previously published studies involving 2,916 people with retinal vein occlusion and 28,646 people without the condition. It found that 63.6 percent of patients with retinal vein occlusion also had hypertension, compared with 36.2 percent of people without the eye condition. High cholesterol levels were more than twice as likely to be found in those with retinal vein occlusion as those without (35.1 percent vs. 16.7 percent).
Fairbank Farms is issuing a voluntary recall of selected ground beef products produced at its Ashville, N.Y., facility and sold through Price Chopper, Shaw's, BJ's, and Wilson Farms retail outlets and C&S Wholesale distributor.


The affected product may contain small pieces of hard plastic. All recalled products have either a "sell-by" date of 05/13/08, 05/15/08, or a "Julian date 124" on the package's label.
New research shows "alarming levels" of obesity in most ethnic groups in the United States, principal investigator Dr. Gregory L. Burke, of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina told Reuters Health. The study also confirms the potentially deadly toll obesity exacts on the heart and blood vessels.


"The obesity epidemic has the potential to reduce further gains in U.S. life expectancy, largely through an effect on cardiovascular disease mortality (death)," Burke and colleagues warn in the latest issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Among 6,814 middle-age or older adults participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, or "MESA" study, researchers found that more than two thirds of white, African American and Hispanic participants were overweight and one third to one half were obese.
The question is loaded and points to a really interesting diagnosis: What IS the biggest environmental problem on the planet? The answer is subjective, of course. If you are talking about global warming then coal plants are the biggest problem on the planet. If you are talking about natural resource preservation then deforestation is the biggest problem. Insert water for life sustainability and disease, or plastics for waste. To be sure, cigarettes are no one’s friend: Neither health nor the environment. In fact, in terms of litter, they are the biggest source of it: More than two billion pounds of cigarette butts are discarded worldwide – more than two pounds for every person in China. I use that country as an example because as I traveled from Beijing southward along the Silk Route, people still smoked a lot – everywhere. In Southeast Asia too people light up.


Smokers’ waste is rather easy to calculate. Figure out how many cigarettes are smoked and you’ll find out how many butts are tossed. You can’t recycle ‘em. One thing I’d like to know is the emission factor, or pollution due to smoking.
The experiments were conducted with the brain cells of rats and they show that contact with this ingredient called methylisothiazoline, or MIT, causes neurological damage.


Which products contain this chemical compound MIT? Head and Shoulders, Suave, Clairol and Pantene Hair Conditioner all contain this ingredient. Researchers are concerned that exposure to this chemical by pregnant women could put their fetus at risk for abnormal brain development. In other people, exposure could also be a factor in the development of Alzheimer's disease and other nervous system disorders.

The chemical causes these effects by preventing communication between neurons. Essentially, it slows the networking of neurons, and since the nervous system and brain function on a system of neural networks, the slowing of this network will suppress and impair the normal function of the brain and nervous system.

Doctors Missing Blood Pressure...

According to a new study both doctors and patients are dropping the ball when it comes to blood pressure. Kevin McKeever of HealthDay News explains:
"Doctors should be screening more routinely during all office visits," study co-author Dr. Randall Stafford, an associate professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, said in a prepared statement. "Dual medication treatment should be seen as standard therapy, and intensive lifestyle changes should be encouraged."

The study analyzed data from a federal 2003-04 survey of services performed in offices of private U.S. physicians. It noted such details as whether the blood pressure cuff was brought out, whether appropriate medications were prescribed, and whether treatment achieved its goal.

High blood pressure affects more than 65 million people in the United States and is one of the most important and preventable risk factors for cardiovascular disease, strokes and kidney disease. High blood pressure, often called "the silent killer," can damage one's body for years before actual symptoms develop.

This lack of symptoms may be a major reason for poor quality of care, researchers said.

"This is a problem that spans much of preventive medicine," Stafford said. "The treatment itself doesn't make patients feel better. If somebody has asthma, they know that if they stop taking medication, they're going to start wheezing. With blood pressure medicines, patients don't feel any different."
And here are a few more posts about blood pressure. Take a look:

Living to 100

Do you want to live forever? I do. I plan on sticking around for as long as possible and Dan Buettner of The Huffington Post has compiled a list of nine healthy habits that’ll help get you to 100. Take a look:
For the the last five years, I've been taking teams of scientists to five pockets around the world where people live the longest, healthiest lives. We call these places the Blue Zones. We found a Bronze-age mountain culture in Sardinia, Italy, that has 20 times as many 100-year-olds as the U.S. does, proportionally. In Okinawa, Japan, we found people with the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world. In the Blue Zones (Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, Calif.; and the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica), people live 10 years longer, experience a sixth the rate of cardiovascular disease and a fifth the rate of major cancers.
  1. Move naturally: Be active without thinking about it. Identify activities you enjoy and make them a part of your day. Cut calories by 20 percent.
  2. Cut calories by 20 percent: Practice "Hara hachi bi," the Okinawan reminder to stop eating once their stomachs are 80 percent full.
  3. Plant-based diet: No, you don't need to become a vegetarian, but do bump up your intake of fruits and veggies.
  4. Drink red wine: In moderation.
  5. Plan de Vida: Determine your life purpose. Why do you get up in the morning?
  6. Down shift: Take time to relieve stress. You may have to literally schedule it into your day, but relaxation is key.
  7. Belong/participate in a spiritual community.
  8. Put loved ones first/make family a priority.
  9. Pick the right tribe: The people surrounding you influence your health more than almost any other factor.
These are fantastic suggestions. Be active, eat plants, and relax—perfect! You won’t get much argument out of Dr. Fuhrman:
Increasing the consumption of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and raw nuts and seeds (and greatly decreasing the consumption of animal products) offers profound increased longevity potential, due in large part to broad symphony of life-extending phytochemical nutrients that a vegetable-based diet contains…

… Centenarian studies in Europe illustrate that those individuals living into their hundreds were likely to have consumed a plant-based diet consisting of fewer than 2000 calories per day. Multiple studies have confirmed that the thinnest people live the longest…

… As we condition our muscles and gain strength, our bones thicken and strengthen along with the muscle. Without regular exercise along the way, your bone structure can deteriorate as you get older. Some people survive with weak bones, but their quality of life suffers when they are immobilized by arthritis and osteoporosis…

…A safe and satisfying work environment, a happy marriage, a satisfying social and/or family life, and activities you enjoy are all related to positive health outcomes. Emotional wellness starts right here your finger tips end. As you respect and appreciate the value in the world around you and develop interests in other people and in such things as art, music, entertainment, sports, nature, and physical activity, you can respect yourself more for your ability and desire to appreciate the value of things not yourself.
Okinawans are fascinating people. These avid plant-eaters live a long-long time. In fact, they made John Robbins’s list of longest-lived people in his book Healthy at 100. Check it out:
  1. Abkhasia: Ancients of the Caucasus, where people are healthier at ninety than most of us are at middle age.
  2. Vilcabamba: The Valley of Eternal Youth, where heart disease and dementia do not exist.
  3. Hunza: A People Who Dance in Their Nineties, where cancer, diabetes, and asthma are unknown.
  4. The Centenarians of Okinawa: Where more people live to 100 than anywhere else in the world.
Now, for the flipside, primitive people like Inuit Greenlanders and Kenyan Maasai have short life expectancies—why? Too much meat in their diets. More from Dr. Fuhrman:

Inuit Greenlanders, who historically have had limited access to fruits and vegetables, have the worst longevity statistics in North America. Research from the past and present shows that they die on the average about 10 years younger and have a higher rate of cancer than the overall Canadian population.1


Similar statistics are available for the high meat-consuming Maasai in Kenya. They eat a diet high in wild hunted meats and have the worst life expectancy in the modern world. Life expectancy is 45 years for women and 42 years for men. African researchers report that, historically, Maasai rarely lived beyond age 60. Adult mortality figures on the Kenyan Maasai show that they have a 50% chance of dying before the age of 59.2
I guess the same can be said about us; between all the fast food, beef jerky, potato chips, cheese pizza, and no exercise, Americans start dying at middle-age. We’d learn a lot from our foreign neighbors.
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Eat For Health: Dying from a Diet



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

Most Americans are not in good health thanks to the standard, low-nutrient diet in this country. The risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and cardiovascular-related premature death is extremely high for all people who eat this way. Look at these statistics:
  • The lifetime risk for developing hypertension (high blood pressure) is over 90 percent.1
  • High blood pressure has climbed 30 percent over the past decade.
  • Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an enormous health care burden and is responsible for approximately 40 percent of all U.S. deaths annually.2
There’s nothing pre-programmed in the human genome that says as people get old they automatically get fat and have high blood pressure. They’re getting high blood pressure because their diets are calorie-rich and nutrient-poor. They’re eating processed foods and too much salt, and they’re avoiding physical exercise. Adding to the problem is that people are given prescription drugs that allow them to continue their disease-causing habits while gaining a false sense of security that they are protected from disease. If you eat like other Americans and don’t have a heart attack and die when you are young, you will inevitably develop high blood pressure and then be at high risk for either a heart attack or stroke when you get older. Populations around the world who live and eat differently are found to be free of high blood pressure in their elderly members.3 These diseases have known nutritional causes, and we never need to suffer from them.

Today, two in five are obese, and the vast majority of Americans are significantly overweight. We are in worse shape today, with heavier bodies and thicker waistlines, than at any time in human history. At the same time, we have learned that our waistlines and our weight are the most critical factors governing our health and lifespan. There is an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that gives us the knowledge, but people are still dying prematurely and living a poor-quality life, with sickness and disability, because they are not questioning their current way of doing things. Heart disease, diabetes, and most cancers are preventable, but prevention requires change. It requires learning from our past mistakes and learning new information. It sounds simple, and it can be simple if you have an open mind and if you let knowledge, rather than habits and emotions, guide you.
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Atherosclerosis and High Blood Pressure: Organ Trouble

It seems plaque build up in the arteries not only harms the heart, but other organs too. Theresa Waldron of HealthDay News reports:
"Atherosclerosis is usually associated with plaque formation in arteries," said study author Rita K. Upmacis, an associate research professor in pathology and laboratory medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City. "But using a mouse model of atherosclerosis, we have demonstrated that the effects of this disease are more widespread, affecting . . . the heart, liver and lungs."


The finding, scheduled to be presented this week at the American Chemical Society annual meeting, in New Orleans, centers around the availability of nitric oxide (NO), an important gas within the body that relaxes blood vessel walls and helps prevent atherosclerosis. Certain substances in plaque remove NO and create a toxic substance known as peroxynitrite, which hampers the function of enzymes necessary to the health of blood vessel walls.
And high blood pressure isn’t exactly doing your brain any favors either. More from Will Boggs, MD of Reuters:
High blood pressure is associated with worse brain function than normal blood pressure in people aged 60 and older, according to a report by doctors at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC.


"Optimal control of blood pressure may be beneficial in attenuating the risk of cognitive decline as the population ages," they conclude.

Dr. Thomas Olabode Obisesan and associates used data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) to investigate whether abnormal blood pressure is independently associated with lower cognitive function in men and women between 60 and 74 years old at study entry.
I’m not doctor, but, I think the solution is clear. Try eating a diet that prevents both heart disease and high blood pressure. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
When you eat to maximize micronutrients in relation to calories, your body functions will normalize; chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol melt away; and you maintain your youthful vigor into old age. Heart disease and cancer would fade away and become exceedingly rare if people adopted a lifestyle of nutritional excellence. But in the here and now, what is exciting to so many people is that when your diet is high enough in micronutrients, excess weight drops off at a relatively fast rate. It’s like you had your stomach stapled. You simply don’t crave to overeat anymore. In fact, it becomes too difficult to overeat when you eat your fill of high-micronutrient food.
And hey, just think about how GREAT you’ll feel!

Food Scoring Guide: Silent, Invisible Damage

We continually are being told that heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and even dementia are inevitable consequences of aging. So it is not surprising that most people assume that we have to expect these things as they are. We also are told that they are primarily the result of genetics and, therefore are beyond our control. The statistics seemingly bear this out. Over 90% percent of elderly Americans require medications for high blood pressure or other heart conditions. But these diseases are not the consequence of aging; they are the consequence of consuming a low-nutrient diet over time.

We don’t see the harm as we hurt our bodies in tiny increments, day after day, by eating a low-nutrient diet. Children, teenagers, and young adults “seem” to get away with years of poor nutrition. But after enough time goes by, the damage is easily seen. Then, we blame it on aging.

Food Scoring Guide: Key to Superior Health and Your Ideal Weight

When you eat to maximize micronutrients in relation to calories, your body functions will normalize; chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol melt away; and you maintain your youthful vigor into old age. Heart disease and cancer would fade away and become exceedingly rare if people adopted a lifestyle of nutritional excellence. But in the here and now, what is exciting to so many people is that when your diet is high enough in micronutrients, excess weight drops off at a relatively fast rate. It’s like you had your stomach stapled. You simply don’t crave to overeat anymore. In fact, it becomes too difficult to overeat when you eat your fill of high-micronutrient food.

The mistake of focusing on the “importance” of protein in the diet is one of the major reasons Americans have been led down the path to dietary suicide. For too long, we have equated protein with good nutrition and have thought that animal—products in spite of the fact that they are deficient or devoid of most micronutrients—are highly favorable foods simply because they are rich in complete proteins. This miscalculation has cost us dearly. By favoring a dairy- and meat-heavy diet, instead of one rich in fruits, vegetables, and beans, we have brought forth an epidemic of heart attacks and cancers.

Healthy Air, Healthy Blood Vessels

A Danish study has determined that using HEPA air filters in the home can improve the blood vessel function of older people. Anne Harding of Reuters reports:
While the couples were all non-smokers, the improvement seen in the study was "in the same ballpark" as would be seen after a person quits smoking, Dr. Steffen Loft of the Institute of Public Health in Copenhagen, the study's lead author, told Reuters Health.


There is a wealth of data on how breathing minute particles carried in the air, known as particulate matter, can worsen heart and lung disease and even increase mortality rates, Loft and his team note in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

To better understand how particulate matter in indoor air affects health, the researchers used a battery of tests to assess microvascular function and inflammation in 21 couples 60 to 75 years old after breathing nonfiltered air, and then after breathing filtered air for 48 hours.
Yeah, you try explaining to your grandparents how to work an air filter. Put it to you this way, my grandparents VCR has been flashing 12:00 for over ten years now!

Expensively Sick

Julie’s Health Club relays a list of America’s top ten medical costs. Scary stuff, my wallet hurts just looking at it. Check it out:
  1. Heart conditions ($76 billion)
  2. Trauma disorders ($72 billion)
  3. Cancer ($70 billion)
  4. Mental disorders, including depression ($56.0 billion)
  5. Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ($54 billion)
  6. High blood pressure ($42 billion)
  7. Type 2 diabetes ($34 billion)
  8. Osteoarthritis and other joint diseases ($34 billion)
  9. Back problems ($32 billion)
  10. Normal childbirth* ($32 billion)
*Normal childbirth means without medical complications or surgical procedures. C-sections are not included in the normal childbirth category.
This list gets even more frightening when you consider the over-arching cost of obesity. Dr. Fuhrman offers up some facts and figures:
The number one health problem in the United States is obesity, and if the current trend continues, by the year 2230 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.1
Wows, it certainly pays to be healthy.
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Fat Ballin'

“Bulking up is dangerous to one's longevity,” Dr. Fuhrman replied when I asked him about the immense size of football players, “Linebackers often eat in a way that radically shortens their lives.” And it’s starting younger and younger. Check out this New York Times report:

Two studies this year, one published in The Journal of the American Medical Association and another in The Journal of Pediatrics, found that weight problems among high school football players — especially linemen — far outpaced those of other male children and adolescents.


Now coaches and researchers fear that some young athletes may be endangering their health in an effort to reach massive proportions and attract the attention of college recruiters…

…Another study of 650 football players in Michigan youth leagues from ages 9 to 14, published last month in The Journal of Pediatrics, found that 45 percent were overweight or obese, with the problem more prevalent among linemen, who are typically the biggest players on the team.

“That’s staggering,” said Robert M. Malina, a professor emeritus of kinesiology at Texas and the lead author of the Michigan study. “Youngsters are already being rewarded for being big and overweight before playing big-time football.”
It’s sad if you ask me, but, I don’t blame the kids. I blame the league. They must redirect the trend! Encourage teams to stress athleticism and speed and not motionless mountainous size. That’s why my favorite NFL players are guys like this:

Terrell Owens

Dallas Cowboys
Height: 6-3 Weight: 218 Age: 33


Bob Sanders

Indianapolis Colts
Height: 5-8 Weight: 206 Age: 26



Torry Holt
St. Louis Rams
Height: 6-0 Weight: 190 Age: 31


Rodney Harrison
New England Patriots
Height: 6-1 Weight: 220 Age: 34
These dudes are lean, quick, and agile. They’re not massive. They’re functionally or “deceptively strong.” That’s my fitness goal. Not to be Goliath, but rather, a fit and healthy David. Especially since, as Dr. Fuhrman points out, leaner people live longer. From Eat to Live:
In the Nurses Health Study, researchers examined the association between body mass index and overall mortality and mortality from specific causes in more than 100,000 women. After limiting the analysis to nonsmokers, it was very clear that the longest-lived women were the leanest.1 The researchers concluded that the increasingly permissive U.S. weight guidelines are unjustified and potentially harmful…


…Dr. I-Min Lee, of the Harvard School of Public Health, said her twenty-seven-year study of 19,297 men found there was no such thing as being too thin. Among men who never smoked, the lowest mortality occurred in the lightest fifth.2 Those who were in the thinnest 20 percent in the early 1960s were two and a half times less likely to have died of cardiovascular disease by 1988 than those in the heaviest fifth. Overall, the thinnest were two–thirds more likely to be alive in 1988 than the heaviest. Lee stated, “We observed a direct relationship between body weight and mortality. By that I mean that the thinnest fifth of men experienced the lowest mortality, and mortality increased progressively with heavier and heavier weight.”
Hopefully aspiring football players and the NFL awake up and put the health and longevity of athletes ahead of winning championships.

Soy Foods and Heart Disease

New research has determined that women who regularly eat soy-based foods lower their risk of heart disease. The AFP reports:
Soybeans -- eaten as tofu, miso soup or Japanese fermented beans known as "natto" -- have a high amount of isoflavones, a natural source of estrogen similar to the female hormone, the study found.


The risk of heart attacks or strokes for a woman who consumed soy at least five times a week was 0.39 compared with 1 for a woman who consumed the least, it said.

The results were even more striking among women past menopause, with the risk falling to 0.25, said Yoshihiko Kokubo, chief doctor of preventive cardiology at Japan's National Cardiovascular Center.
Soy—or edamame—beans are great! Tofu is cool too. But as Dr. Fuhrman points out, soy foods might be tasty, but don’t go overboard. From Eat to live:
Studies have shown soy's beneficial effects on cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors. However, there is no reason not to expect the same results from beans of any type--it's merely that more studies have been done on soy than on any other beans…


…I always recommended the consumption of a broad variety of phytochemical-rich foods to maximize one's health. Beans are no exception--try to eat different types of beans, not just soy.
This report is very similar to an earlier one claiming soy nuts can lower blood pressure in postmenopausal women. Nicholas Bakalar of The New York Times was on it:
The first group followed the same diet without soy. The second ate a half-cup a day of soy nuts while reducing protein intake from other sources. When hypertensive women were on the soy diet, they averaged a 9.9 percent decrease in systolic blood pressure (the top number in the reading) and a 6.8 percent decrease in diastolic pressure. Those with normal blood pressure also benefited from the soy diet, reducing systolic and diastolic readings by 5.2 percent and 2.9 percent respectively.
Now, this is a great time to note that not all soy foods are homeruns. As Dr. Fuhrman explains soy nuts aren’t so great. Take a look:
You should be aware that soy nuts, soymilk, and other processed soy products do not retain many of the beneficial compounds and omega-3 fats that are in the natural bean. The more the food is processed, the more the beneficial compounds are destroyed.
Lucky for us—and the women in the AFP report—Dr. Fuhrman still considers tofu and frozen or canned soybeans are a good source of omega-3 fat and calcium.

No Salted Added...Good Idea!

A new study has determined that avoiding salty foods and not adding salt to food can help lower blood pressure. Reuters reports:
A modest reduction in dietary salt, measured by sodium content in the urine by about 35 percent and lowered daytime blood pressure by 12.1 mm Hg systolic and 6.8 mm Hg diastolic in patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) not taking anti-hypertensive medications, reports Dr. Javad Kojuri. Blood pressure readings at night were slightly lower.


Kojuri and Dr. Rahim Rahimi, both from Shiraz University in Iran, assessed blood pressure and 24-hour urinary sodium excretion in 60 individuals before and after instructing them to follow a 'no salt added' diet for 6 weeks.

Twenty subjects who did not follow the diet were used as a comparison group ("controls"). All of the subjects were similar in age, gender, weight, blood pressure, and initial urinary sodium excretion.
“For optimal health, I recommend that no salt at all be added to any food,” said Dr. Fuhrman. And for good reason, just look what it does to our tastes buds. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Salt addiction has developed throughout civilization in the last 5000 years, creating a worldwide epidemic of high blood pressure and resultant strokes. Besides fatigue, cravings, and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, salt use gradually deadens your taste.1 The more salt you consume, the more you lose the ability to appreciate the subtle flavors of natural food. As salt deadens taste, it makes you want more and more salt to get back some of the missing flavor.
Sounds almost like a drug addiction.
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Atkins...The Worst

Now, I know it’s a dead horse, but, I can’t resist beating it! Sorry horse lovers. We all know that The Atkins Diet and other high-protein low-carb diets are dangerous and based in nutritionally folly, but don’t take my word for it. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman:
As much as I hate to keep talking about the high-saturated-fat, low-antioxidant-nutrient Atkins diet, I am forced to because his diet continues to make front-page news and stays on the tips of everybody’s tongues…


…Any diet high in animal products and low in fiber, fruit, beans, and yellow vegetables is going to shorten life span significantly. If Robert Atkins follows his own dietary advice, he is a perfect example of what you would expect from such unhealthful dietary recommendations. He was overweight and developed heart disease. Do you think he needs to eat more cheese and pork rinds to thin up a bit, as he recommends; or do you think he just might be better off on a diet rich in raw plant foods, beans, steamed greens, carrots, and fresh fruit such as berries and peaches…

…Atkins devotees adopt a dietary pattern completely opposite of what is recommended by the leading research scientists studying the link between diet and cancer.1 Specifically, fruit exclusion alone is a significant cancer marker. Stomach and esophageal cancer are linked to populations that do not consume a sufficient amount of fruit.2 Scientific studies show a clear and strong dose-response relationship between cancers of the digestive tract, bladder, and prostate with low fruit consumption.3 To the surprise of many investigators, fruit consumption shows a powerful dose-response association with a reduction in heart disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality.4
May I interject my own theory? Again, I’m just a layman with an opinion, but, I think I’m onto something. I contend that The Atkins Diet is simply a money-making scheme that exploits people’s emotional attachments to “good ole American” food. Check this post out:
Food Face-Off
What does 200 calories of food look like? Actually, that’s kind of a trick question because it depends on the food. According to Dr. Fuhrman small amounts of some foods like meat and diary are more calorie-dense than larger amounts of fruits and vegetables. Check out the chart in Foods That Make You Thin for more.


Of course, if you prefer pictures, take a look at what’s going on over at WiseGeek. You’ll see that the portion size of 200 calories worth of celery, baby carrots, or broccoli, dwarf what you get from 200 calories of canola oil, uncooked pasta, or cheddar cheese. Gee, I wonder, which foods help you lose weight? Now that’s not a trick question!

WiseGeek: What Does 200 Calories Look Like?
Here's a comment to this post by a known low-carber and DiseaseProof blog troll:
Which of these foods leave you with a deep down to your bones satisfied feeling?
And here's my reply:
For me its the Kiwi, I eat them almost everyday.
“Deep down to your bones satisfied feeling?” What the heck does that have to do with good nutrition? Marijuana gives you that feeling—so they say—so is smoking weed healthy? Hardly! Sounds like an emotional attachment to food to me. Here’s another example:
Meat: Grill, Fry, or Broil it?
...So, will people heed these warnings and cut back on the amount of animal products they eat and be careful not to dangerously cook their food? My guess, probably not, especially with this kind of rhetoric kicking around the blogosphere. Like LivinLaVidaLowCarb’s ringing endorsement of frying meat in butter—sadly, I’m not kidding. Proceed with caution:
I agree with the advice to shun the fried foods specifically because of the breading. But if you want to fry up your meat in a pan full of butter, then knock yourself out. It’s a healthy way to enjoy that succulent protein-loaded food.


While it’s nice to bake, broil, and especially grill meats, don’t fall for the illusion that cooking these ways is any healthier than cooking meat in fat. Avoid the trans fats, of course, but you shouldn’t worry about saturated fats as long as you are livin’ la vida low-carb.
Take a moment to note that butter is also on Dr. Fuhrman’s list of the seven worst foods. Okay, it gets worse. Check out this quote from Carbohydrate Addict, apparently this Atkins dieter thinks grilled-cheese is fabulous—sigh. Here it is:
I think one of the reasons Atkins was so perfect for me was because I was on low fat/low cholesterol for sooooo many years. All of the forbidden foods suddenly became okay to eat without guilt and my cholesterol is finally FABULOUS. I'm still on a high when I eat them! Egg salad, bacon, chicken wings, mac and cheese, grilled cheese.... YUM!
Yum? For bacon and egg salad? Whoa! What a world we live in...
What a great scam/money-maker? Tell people that what they’ve been told is wrong—despite the wealth of information proving otherwise—then convince them that is okay to eat all those harmful foods they love; bacon, red meat, butter, etc. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
It is an interesting phenomenon to me low-carb dieters search to find small pearls of dissent in the scientific literature to support their views as they ignore thousands of well-performed studies, I wonder why they are so attached to their diets or views that they can’t accept the preponderance of evidence and modify their stance…


…To make matters even worse, you pay an extra penalty from a diet so high in fat and protein to generate a chronic ketosis. Besides the increased cancer risk, your kidneys are placed under greater stress and will age more rapidly. It can take many, many years for such damage to be detected by blood tests. By the time the blood reflects the abnormality, irreversible damage may have already occurred. Blood tests that monitor kidney function typically do not begin to detect problems until more than 90 percent of the kidneys have been destroyed…

...Americans already eat approximately 40 percent of their calories from animal products; we have seen a tragic skyrocketing in cancer and heart-disease rates in the past fifty years as a result of such nutritional extravagance.5 You can lose some weight on the Atkins Diet, but you run the risk of losing your health at the same time.
I guess the allure of bacon is just too much for some people—and that my friends is a serious emotional attachment to food! Honestly, is a food-crush really worth it? Especially in light of this news, Reuters reports, “High-fat Atkins diet damages blood vessels.” Here’s a bit:
The high-fat Atkins diet can cause long-term damage to blood vessels, as well as some of the inflammation linked with heart and artery disease, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.


In contrast, low-fat regimens such as the South Beach and Ornish diets lowered cholesterol and appeared to benefit artery function, they said.

"It really is the Atkins diet that is the worst," Dr. Michael Miller, director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, said in a telephone interview.

"The Atkins diet caused the LDL levels to go up by about 7 percent, whereas in the Ornish and South Beach diets ... they went down 7 to 10 percent."

Low density lipoprotein or LDL is the "bad" cholesterol that clogs blood vessels.
Hungry for an expert opinion on this study, I tapped Linda Popescu one of the Registered Dieticians that works in Dr. Fuhrman’s office. Linda is no fan of The Atkins Diet either, and, she makes it pretty obvious here. Take a look:
“The high fat Atkins diet is dangerous and should not be recommended.” This is news? Eat to Live, which was published 5 years ago, devoted a whole chapter to the negative consequences of following The Atkins Diet. For years, well researched studies have show that this type of meat-based, high protein, fiberless diet can lead to heart disease and cancer. Even basic common sense should tell you eating this way is not good for your health. It’s good to see that this diet has finally run its course. As the article states “Why not start out with a diet that will be healthier for you in the long run after weight loss”?
So then, what is the best diet for disease-prevention, healthy bodyweight, and longevity? This should be a no-brainer! Dr. Fuhrman’s vegetable-based nutrient-dense Eat to Live diet-style tops them all. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Green vegetables are so incredibly low in calories and rich in nutrients and fiber that the more you eat of them, the more weight you will lose. One of my secrets of nutritional excellence and superior healing is the one pound-one pound rule. That is, try to eat at least one pound of raw green vegetables a day and one pound of cooked/steamed or frozen green vegetables a day as well. One pound raw and one pound cooked--keep this goal in mind as you design and eat every meal. This may be too ambitious a goal for some of us to reach, but by working toward it, you will ensure the dietary balance and results you want. The more greens you eat, the more weight you will lose. The high volume of greens not only will be your secret to a thin waistline but will simultaneously protect you against life threatening illnesses…


…The biggest animals--elephants, gorillas, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and giraffes--all eat predominantly green vegetation. How did they get the protein to get so big? Obviously, greens pack a powerful protein punch, in fact, all protein on the planet was formed from the effect of sunlight on green plants. The cow didn't eat another cow to form the protein in its muscles, which we call steak. The protein wasn't formed out of thin air--the cow ate grass. Not that protein is such a big deal or some special nutrient to be held in high esteem. I am making this point because most people think animal products are necessary for a diet to include adequate protein. I am merely illustrating how easy it is to consume more than enough protein while at the same time avoiding risky, cancer-promoting substances such as saturated fat.
I don’t know about you, but, the choice is pretty clear to me. Oh! And for more information on the dangers of Atkins-type diets check out DiseaseProof’s diet myths category, or, visit our friends over at AtkinsExposed.org.

*FOLLOW UP POST: The Worst...and That's Atkins!
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Boxed Rice Blues

Convenience food is tempting. Think about it, after a hard-day’s work, the gym, chasing after kids, the rush-hour commute, or whatever else consumes your time. It’s tempting to succumb to the quick-and-easy allure of convenience foods. Instead, consider this quote from Dr. Fuhrman:
Food manufacturers remove the most valuable part of the food and then add bleach, preservatives, salt, sugar, and food coloring to make breads, breakfast cereals, and other convenience foods. Yet many Americans consider such food healthy merely because it is low in fat.
And the Standard American Diet is chock full of convenience foods; canned pasta, fast food, dried macaroni and cheese, and—relevant to this post—boxed rice dishes. Karen Collins, R.D. of MSNBC agrees they’re convenient, but at a cost. Here’s an excerpt:
Boxed rice may be convenient, but these products offer little more than refined grains and lots of excess sodium. Eating a one-cup portion of rice prepared according to package directions (including the prepackaged seasonings and added margarine) can provide up to 1350 milligrams of sodium. Compare that to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines’ recommended limit of 2300 mg per day and you’re well on your way to sodium overload.


Sodium recommendations are designed to prevent or control high blood pressure and reduce risk of stomach cancer. While the guidelines are set for the general public, people who are more sensitive to the blood pressure-raising effects of sodium — namely black men and women, older adults and those already diagnosed with hypertension — are encouraged to limit sodium even further, to 1500 mg per day or less.
I used to eat a lot of this junk—packets of flavored rice and pilaf mixes—but no more! Why? Well, first let’s consider all that sodium Karen Collins brings up. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of salt. This quote should give you his lowdown on sodium. Take a look:
High salt intake, and resultant high blood pressure later in life, does not merely increase the risk and incidence of stroke. It also can lead to kidney failure, congestive heart failure, and heart attack. Salt consumption is linked to both stomach cancer and hypertension.1 For optimal health, I recommend that no salt at all be added to any food.
And those refined grains are no better! Even if manufacturers claim they are “enriched.” Dr. Fuhrman explains all this much better than I can—time for another quote! Check it out:
White pasta, white rice and white bread are just like sugar; because their fiber has been removed, these nutrient deficient foods are absorbed too rapidly. This, in turn, will raise glucose, triglyceride, and insulin levels in your blood. Refined grains are undesirable and will sabotage your weight-loss and cholesterol-lowering efforts.
Makes me wonder how in the HECK I used to eat that stuff. My typical dinner used to be a rice-packet with a can of tuna fish thrown into the pot. I know—CRAZY! It’s hard to believe I would eat something like that, especially now that I’ve…to be continued. Continue Reading...

Thursday: Health Points

Burger King Holdings Inc., the world's second largest hamburger chain, said it has set nutritional guidelines to follow when targeting children under 12 in advertising, including limiting ads to Kids Meals that contain no more than 560 calories, less than 30 percent of calories from fat and no more than 10 percent of calories from added sugars.

In that vein, Burger King is building a Kids Meal that will contain the flame-broiled Tenders, organic unsweetened applesauce and low-fat milk, for a total of 305 calories and 8.5 grams of fat. It will be available in restaurants sometime in 2008, the company said.

The fast-food chain is also developing what it calls BK Fresh Apple Fries. The red apples are cut to resemble french fries and are served in the same containers as fries, but they are not fried and are served skinless and cold.
The report, written by Charles Courtemanche for his doctoral dissertation in health economics, found that the 13 percent rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 can be attributed to falling pump prices.


Gasoline hit a low of less than $1.50 per gallon in 2000 before moving back to a record high of $3.22 in May 2007.

Higher gasoline prices can reduce obesity by leading people to walk or cycle instead of drive and eat leaner at home instead of rich food at restaurants.
One study found that Avandia, made by GlaxoSmithKline, doubled the risks of heart failure and raised the risks of heart attack by 42 percent. A second study found that Actos, a similar drug made by Takeda, actually lowered the risks of heart attacks, strokes and death but, like Avandia, also raised risks of heart failure.


Taken together, some of the authors said, the two studies in The Journal of the American Medical Association confirm what doctors and patients using Avandia have already done in great numbers, that is, switch to another drug. Sales of Avandia have plunged.

GlaxoSmithKline said in a written statement that the studies were flawed and “offered no new information on the safety of Avandia.” The company “continues to support Avandia as safe and effective when used appropriately,” the statement said.
Obesity has more than doubled in Australia in the last 20 years and is placing an uncomfortable strain not only on waistlines but on health services, the Australian General Practice Network said.


To combat the spiralling problem, it wants the government to give the overweight a 170 dollar (141 dollar US) subsidy to do something about their expanding physique.

The network, which represents general practitioners, said effective weight-loss programmes were often too expensive, particularly for those with modest incomes.
Amid worries of an obesity epidemic and its related illnesses, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, Los Angeles officials, among others around the country, are proposing to limit new fast-food restaurants -- a tactic that could be called health zoning.


The City Council will be asked this fall to consider an up to two-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in South L.A., a part of the city where fast food is at least as much a practicality as a preference.

"The people don't want them, but when they don't have any other options, they may gravitate to what's there," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who proposed the ordinance in June, and whose district includes portions of South L.A. that would be affected by the plan.
"This is a major public-health problem," said Rebecca Din-Dzietham of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, who led the study, which will be published in the Sept. 25 issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation. "Unless this upward trend in high blood pressure is reversed, we could be facing an explosion of new cardiovascular-disease cases in young adults and adults."


With an adult form of diabetes already being diagnosed more frequently in children and more young people developing high cholesterol, the new finding is another indication that the obesity epidemic is spawning a generation at heightened risk for illnesses that struck their parents and grandparents only later in life, experts said.

"This is very worrisome," said Elizabeth Nabel, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. "This is another piece of evidence suggesting that the obesity epidemic will likely turn into a heart-disease epidemic."
A gaping hole exists between conventional medicine and diet. Conventional medicine claims that the cause of Type 2 diabetes is unknown. Medical doctors, as practitioners of conventional medicine, are not trained to explain how it happened. They treat symptoms with medicine. The business of medicine is medicine. The business of diabetes would be devasted if the cure was as simple as diet. The explanation Thomas Smith provides in his empirical studies is fascinating and I encourage anybody with competing or supporting evidence to open the debate.
"Women who have this disorder usually are interested in exercise to improve their appearance, but an instructor who emphasizes physique during a workout may deter such students from coming back," said Brian Focht, assistant professor of health behavior and health promotion at Ohio State, and a co-author of the study.


The study, which was published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, indicated women in the study reported that they enjoyed a step aerobics class more when the instructor focused on how the workout was making them more fit.

Even though most of the women studied took the class primarily because they were concerned about their body image, they enjoyed the class less and were less likely to take another if the instructor emphasized how a particular exercise would tone their legs, slim their waists, or otherwise improve their appearance, the researchers found.
A new study from Yale shows that 75 percent of physicians in training surveyed do not understand the statistics used in medical literature. The study surveyed internal medicine residents at 11 programs across the country.


The residents scored an average of 41% correct on the test and the senior residents scored worse than the junior residents, possibly reflecting a loss of knowledge over time.

High Blood Pressure in Kids?

What a frightening world we live in. Imagine this, kids on the playground talking about high blood pressure and cholesterol. It might not be that far off. Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press reports that over 1 million young kids in the United States have undiagnosed high blood pressure:
Roughly 2 million U.S. youngsters have been estimated to have high blood pressure; the study suggests that three-quarters of them have it but don't know it. The numbers are driven at least partly by rising rates of obesity, which is strongly linked with high blood pressure.


Untreated high blood pressure can cause health problems in adults, including heart disease, strokes, artery damage and kidney disease, problems that usually take years to develop. Its effects in children are less certain, although there is some evidence that it might contribute to early artery and heart damage in young patients, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
I guess we shouldn't be surprised when heart disease starts young.

BMI, Blood Pressure, and Body Weight

The Cardio Blog relays some research that casts doubt on the BMI and the link between high blood pressure and body weight. Check it out:
A recent study published in the Epidemiology Journal questions the idea that BMI and blood pressure are tied together. The study -- which was done on the island nation of Seychelles -- found that as the number of people with a BMI over 25 rose, the association between BMI and hypertension decreased. The study likely raises more questions than it answers. How good of a measurement is BMI and how much of a role does obesity play in the development of high blood pressure?

Obesity and High Blood Pressure, a Weaker Link?

Some new research claims that obesity might not increase blood pressure like previously believed. Reuters reports:
It seems that the association between body mass index (BMI) and high blood pressure or hypertension has decreased since 1989, researchers say. The finding suggests that obesity may not have as much of an impact on heart-related disease as previously thought.


"High blood pressure is a leading cause of the global burden of disease," Dr. Pascal Bovet, of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and colleagues write in the medical journal Epidemiology. "The prevalence of hypertension, and of several other conditions (including diabetes), is considered to be linked to the worldwide epidemic of obesity."

The researchers examined trends in blood pressure and BMI over a 15-year interval in the Seychelles. Their analysis was based on two independent surveys conducted in 1989 and 2004 using representative samples of the population between the ages of 25 and 64 years.

There was a slight decrease in average blood pressure between 1989 and 2004 in both men and women. The prevalence of high blood pressure changed little during this time -- from 45 to 44 percent in men and from 34 to 36 percent in women.
Okay, I don't know if this is really true or not. The important thing to remember is carrying excess weight sets you up for increased health problems—period. Dr. Fuhrman explains in Eat to Live:
Obesity is not just a cosmetic issue—extra weight leads to an earlier death, as many studies confirm.1 Overweight individuals are more likely to die from all causes, including heart disease and cancer. Two-thirds of those with weight problems also have hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, or another obesity related condition.2 It is a major cause of early mortality in the United States.3
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Soy Nuts and Blood Pressure

New research claims eating soy nuts can help lower blood pressure in postmenopausal women. Nicholas Bakalar of The New York Times investigates:
For four weeks, 60 women, average age 53, followed a low-cholesterol diet that provided 30 percent energy from fat, 15 percent from protein and 55 percent from carbohydrates. Then the researchers divided them into two groups for an eight-week test.


The first group followed the same diet without soy. The second ate a half-cup a day of soy nuts while reducing protein intake from other sources. When hypertensive women were on the soy diet, they averaged a 9.9 percent decrease in systolic blood pressure (the top number in the reading) and a 6.8 percent decrease in diastolic pressure. Those with normal blood pressure also benefited from the soy diet, reducing systolic and diastolic readings by 5.2 percent and 2.9 percent respectively.
Soy is always an interesting topic of conversation. Here are a few posts about it:

Healthy Diet: Why Bother?

I guess that’s the attitude many Americans have because as HealthDay News reports only a fraction of the people with high blood pressure are following a healthy diet. Granted, it’s the diet prescribed by the standard American healthcare system, but still. Ed Edelson explains:
The fact that so few people with hypertension -- just 22 percent in the group studied -- are following some simple dietary measures indicates a breakdown somewhere in the American health-care system, said lead researcher Dr. Philip Mellen, an assistant professor of internal medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.


"We don't know where it broke down," Mellen said. "We don't know whether their physicians have been telling them to do it or whether physicians don't feel they know enough to counsel them. We have evidence from other sources that there are problems all along the chain..."

…Mellen's study, which was to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, focused on people who had been told they had high blood pressure.

"Presumably, the guidelines should have prescribed their lifestyle changes," Mellen said. "They did not. Presumably, this would mean that changes in the population have overwhelmed the DASH diet recommendations."
Are you surprised by this? I’m not. And here’s why. Remember this quote from last fall. From Will America Ever Eat Better:
Who the hell cares about the veggies anyway? You don't need them and there is absolutely nothing essential about them. Don't let the acculturated veggie sympathizers tell you otherwise.
Whoa! Can you say, “Grow up!” Now, in Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman acknowledges many of us are creatures of comfort food and will continue to eat poorly—no matter what:
The “good life” will continue to bring most Americans to a premature grave. I do not expect the majority of individuals to live this healthfully. However, they should at least make that decision being aware of the facts rather than having their food choices shaped by inaccurate information or the food manufacturers. Some people will choose to smoke cigarettes, eat unhealthfully, or pursue other reckless habits. They have that inalienable right to live their lives the way they choose.

Blood Pressure a Global Crisis

Okay, I guess if obesity is a worldwide epidemic—which it is—then it would make sense if high blood pressure was also running rampant. And today, the Associated Press reports 1 billion people across the world have high blood pressure. Take a look:
It's not just a problem for the ever-fattening Western world. Even in parts of Africa, high blood pressure is becoming common.

That translates into millions of deaths from heart disease alone. Yet hypertension doesn't command the attention of, say, bird flu, which so far has killed fewer than 200 people.

"Hypertension has gone a bit out of fashion," says Dr. Jan Ostergren of Sweden's Karolinska University Hospital, co-author of a first-of-its-kind analysis of the global impact of high blood pressure.

The idea: to rev up world governments to fight bad blood pressure just as countries have banded together in the past to fight infectious diseases.

International heart specialists welcome the push.

"Even in the U.S., the majority of people with high blood pressure are not treated adequately," says Dr. Sidney Smith of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who advises the World Heart Federation. "Look at China, look at Africa, go around the world. It is a major risk factor."
Here’s the weird part—maybe there’s more. Because according to Dr. Fuhrman you might have high blood pressure, even if your doctor says you’re fine. Here’s why. Check out this previous post, Your Doctor Lied: You Do Have High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol:
I know you were told that if your blood pressure is below 140/90, it is normal. Unfortunately, this is not true, either. It is average - not normal. This number is used because it is the midpoint of adult Americans older than sixty. The risk for strokes and heart attacks starts climbing at 115/70.


In societies where we do not see high rates of heart disease and strokes, we don't see blood pressure increase with age. In rural China the healthy elderly had the same low blood pressure readings as they did when they were kids. Almost all Americans have blood pressure that is unhealthfully high. At a minimum, we should consider blood pressure higher than 125/80 abnormal.

Numerous scientific investigations have shown that the following interventions have some degree of effectiveness in lowering blood pressure.1
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America's High Blood Pressure

Here’s one of those “uh duh” news stories. It seems most Americans don’t have their high blood pressure under control. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports:
Although most Americans with high blood pressure are taking steps to combat the potentially deadly condition, only 30 percent have it under control, a new federal study found.


That means the 70 percent of adults with uncontrolled high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, must do more to bring those levels down, including changing their diet, exercising and sticking to their drug regimens.

If they don't, they face an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the study authors from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Most people with high blood pressure (98.1 percent) are doing something to lower it," said lead author Clark Denny, an epidemiologist with the CDC. "But there is still room for improvement.

"Almost everyone with high blood pressure can have it controlled through medication and lifestyle change," he added.

Nutritional Wisdom: How to Get Off Your Blood Pressure Medications

Dr. Fuhrman’s radio show Nutritional Wisdom airs live Wednesdays at 11am EST with an encore presentation Thursdays at 3pm EST on VoiceAmerica. Be sure to check out this week’s episode How to Get Off Your Blood Pressure Medications. And if you've missed an episode click the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.

Salt Wars: The Phantom Menace

Salt, when you hear the word, what thoughts come to mind? “Too much salt is bad for me.” Or, “That reminds me, I’ve got to check my bid on Ebay for that Elvis salt & pepper shaker set that I simply must have.” Heck, maybe you even have one of these lines, “My grand daddy lived to the ripe ole’ age of ninety-six and he put salt on everything from pasta to pickled pigs feet.”

That pretty much sums up salt’s MO. Lot’s of people who think it’s bad and limit their exposure to it, and then there are others who dump it on everything. As for Dr. Fuhrman, he’s no fan of salt. In fact, he considers it to be one of the seven worst foods for health and longevity. Here’s all seven:
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat
Now not everyone shares Dr. Fuhrman’s disdain for salt. Rather, some “diet experts” basically endorse consumption of salty food. Take Dr. Atkins for example, he’d like people to use salted pork rinds as a substitute for dinner rolls and toast—and for making pie crusts! No, I'm not joking. Check it out over at AtkinsExposed.org:
Atkins rivals the creativity of the raw-food chefs of today in his uses for pork rinds. Pork rinds are chunks of pigs’ skin that are deep-fried, salted and artificially flavored. He recommends people use them to dip caviar. Or, perhaps for those who can't afford caviar, one can use fried pork rinds as a "substitute for toast, dinner rolls...You can use them as a pie crust... or even matzo ball soup (see our recipe on p. 190)."[144] Matzo balls made out of pork rinds?--now that is a diet revolution!
You’ve got to wonder about recommendations like this, especially since according to Dr. Fuhrman salt consumption has been linked to the development of stomach cancer and hypertension. Consider this excerpt from Eat to Live:
Any excess salt added to food, outside of what is contained in natural foods, is likely to increase your risk of developing disease. Salt consumption is linked to both stomach cancer and hypertension.1 For optimal health, I recommend that no salt at all be added to any food. The famous DASH study clearly indicates that Americans consume five to ten times as much as they need and that high sodium levels over the years has a predictable effect on raising blood pressure.2 Just because you don’t have high blood pressure now doesn’t mean that you won’t. In fact, you probably will have high blood pressure if you keep eating lots of salt over the years.
So, what happens when dangerous diet information is put out there? The masses eat it up. For example, from Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb here’s Jimmy Moore’s take on salt:
Unless you are salt-sensitive (and it just so happens that I am!), there is no reason why you should watch your salt intake. An overwhelming majority have no reason to cut down on their salt intake. NONE! The fact that a minority of the population has sensitivity to salt should not make this a universal recommendation.
Luckily for Jimmy, he’s “salt-sensitive.” So he is limiting his exposure to it, but saying that the majority of people have no reason to avoid salt, well, that seems a little misguided because in addition to the hypertension and stomach cancer risk, Dr. Fuhrman associates salt intake with osteoporosis and heart attacks. More from Eat to Live:
Salt also pulls out calcium and other trace minerals in the urine when the excess is excreted, which is a contributory cause of osteoporosis.3 If that is not enough, high sodium intake is predictive of increased death from heart attacks. In a large prospective trial, recently published in the respected medical journal The Lancet, there was a frighteningly high correlation between sodium intake and all cause mortality in overweight men.4 The researchers concluded, “High sodium intake predicted mortality and risk of coronary heart disease, independent of other cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure. These results provide direct evidence of the harmful effects of high salt intake in the adult population.”
Now these dangers are clear, but arguably the biggest problem with salt is it shows up where you least expect it to. Sure, you can crack down on your habit of burying every meal in it, but, that’s only half the battle. Sally Kuzemchak of Prevention magazine explains that the main problem with salt is that it’s everywhere:
It's crammed into cheese slices and canned vegetables and sprinkled into cinnamon-raisin bagels and sandwich bread. You can consume a day's worth of the mineral with an order of mu shu pork with rice from your local Chinese restaurant, according to an analysis by the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest, in Washington, DC. As much as 80% of the sodium we get every day comes from these processed and prepared foods—not the salt shaker.
Sally also points to additional research highlighting the dangers of high-sodium diets:
There's also evidence to suggest that high-sodium diets may up the risk of gastric cancer. And in a small study from Colorado State University, a high-salt diet (more than 5,000 mg per day) worsened lung function in people with exercise-induced asthma, which occurs in as many as 90% of asthmatics. A low-salt diet improved it.
Information like this really makes you wonder how Dr. Atkins could endorse eating salty snacks like pork rinds. Now, the concern over people’s salt exposure is growing. Back in September Melanie Warner of The New York Times reported that the American Medical Association wants the government and the food industry to limit the amount of salt that can be used in food production. More from the report:
Specifically, the medical association, which had never before called for regulation of a food ingredient, asked the F.D.A. to revoke salt’s long-time status as a substance that is “generally recognized as safe,” a classification that warrants little oversight. Instead, the F.D.A. should regulate salt as a food additive, the medical group said.


If the recommendation were adopted, packaged-food companies would have to adhere to limits on allowable sodium levels for various categories of food, and speed up the search for an alternative to salt as a preservative and flavor enhancer.
What I take away from all this is more evidence of people’s emotional attachment to food, in this case salt; when you talk with Dr. Fuhrman he often refers to this phenomenon. Sometimes people are so blinded by their emotional crush on certain foods that they can’t face facts. The evidence shows that salt is bad for us, but, I guess some people just can’t stand the thought of a lonely pepper shaker.
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Heart Disease a Sneak Attack?

Okay, I know, it’s a bit of a hack move, but let’s talk about the Super Bowl commercials. Specifically the one where the guy in the heart suit gets his butt kicked. Now I realize its supposed to be light hearted, but the American Heart Association seems to be sending the message that things like high blood pressure, diabetes, and being overweight just sneak up on you, and, when you least except it—WHAM—you have a heart attack. If you didn’t see it, here it is:


Sure, the ad is encouraging people to help beat their risk of developing heart disease, but the way its presented really seems to imply that there’s nothing you can do about it, other than just hope that these bad things don’t happen—which in my opinion is the bad attitude that lands millions of people in the hospital with chest pains every year. What do you think? Maybe I'm wrong on this. Personally, I think the commercial with the bunny clicking the mouse was the best.

Fad Diets: Low-Carb the New Low-Fat?

What do you think? Is the standard American diet a problem? Now, I’m no health expert, but I can answer that—with a resounding YES! Just look at yesterday’s post The Standard American Shockwave, and you’ll see that everything the standard American diet touches turns bad. So then, what makes it so terrible? Dr. Fuhrman explains in Eat to Live:
The reason people are overweight is too little physical activity, in conjunction with a high-calorie, low-nutrient diet. Eating a diet with plenty of low-fiber, calorie-dense food, such as oil and refined carbohydrates, is the main culprit.


As long as you are eating fatty foods and refined carbohydrates, it is impossible to lose weight healthfully. In fact, this vicious combination of sedentary lifestyle and eating typical “American” food (high fat, low-fiber) is the primary reason we have such an incredibly overweight population.
Now if you consider the exercise component, the standard American diet becomes more complex. So, perhaps it should be more aptly named the standard American lifestyle. But, for the purposes of this post, let’s stay focused on diet and ignore the lack of sufficient physical activity. I know, kind of hard to overlook, but try.

Okay just diet, so let’s look at what we’ve got: high fat foods and various refined fare. Let’s start with the refined foods. What’s the problem with them? Well, Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, all the fiber and nutrients have been stripped out of them until they’re basically just empty calories. For more on this, I refer to Michael Pollan’s recent article on nutritionism. In it, he talks about the ebbs and flows of processed food. Here’s a peek:
The typical real food has more trouble competing under the rules of nutritionism, if only because something like a banana or an avocado can’t easily change its nutritional stripes (though rest assured the genetic engineers are hard at work on the problem). So far, at least, you can’t put oat bran in a banana. So depending on the reigning nutritional orthodoxy, the avocado might be either a high-fat food to be avoided (Old Think) or a food high in monounsaturated fat to be embraced (New Think). The fate of each whole food rises and falls with every change in the nutritional weather, while the processed foods are simply reformulated. That’s why when the Atkins mania hit the food industry, bread and pasta were given a quick redesign (dialing back the carbs; boosting the protein), while the poor unreconstructed potatoes and carrots were left out in the cold.
Now this brings me to the next topic of discussion, the high-fat portion of the standard American diet, but more specifically the mass media phobia of it; which is ironic because Americans deep down love their fat. A lot of industrialized foods make claims to be “low-fat” which in many cases I’m sure they are, but this begs the question, what about calorie content? Well to answer that, let’s take a look at this article from Men’s Health magazine. It reports that the low-carb fad is destined to follow the same road as the low-fat diet, and ultimately, forget all about total calorie consumption:
We've been here before - about 10 years ago, in fact. The last time a diet craze swept the country, it ushered in more than 3,000 new food products on the wings of just three simple words: Eat less fat. And yet, in the ensuing decade, the number of overweight Americans increased by 15 percent, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, and the average American man's waist size increased by an inch and a half. Weight management became even more difficult, because the supermarket became more confusing, and the three simple words that were supposed to squeeze us back into our wedding suits let us down, terribly.


And it's about to happen all over again. "Consumers think carb-free is calorie-free, which it's not," says Leslie Bonci, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). "They think someone's giving them permission to eat that food. And what's going to happen is, we're going to see people start to gain weight."

In January of this year, more than 400 people who work in the food industry gathered at the Adam's Mark hotel in Denver for the first-ever LowCarbiz Summit to learn how they could profit from the new craving for low-carbohydrate foods. What they heard at the start was a warning from Fred Pescatore, M.D., a protege of Dr. Robert Atkins, the original low-carb guru: "We can't be like low-fat," he said. "We can't be just a fad."

And then, for 2 days, they learned ways to turn the low-carb craze into exactly that. In between snacking on low-carb foods and drinking Bacardi and diet cola (the official adult beverage of the low-carb movement), conference goers attended sessions like "Low Carb for the Nondieter" and "The Scientific Case against Low Carb: Know What the Industry's Detractors Are Saying and How to Respond."
Are you starting to see where I’m going with all this? Years back the country demanded low-fat everything. So what ensued? Decades of diet-books and food products proclaiming the benefits of a low-fat eating. And what did we get? Something now commonly referred to as the standard American diet, an epidemic of obesity and all the problems that go along with it; diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc. And that’s not it.

We also got the avalanche of reactionary diets known as low-carb, South Beach, Atkins, or whatever catchy name some marketing company has come up with today. They basically say, “We’ve forsaken fat for too long! The real devil is carbs. Embrace the meat.” And we as a meat-loving, but fat-nervous culture eat it up. Why? Well because we recognize that the verson of the low-fat diet we have come to understand hasn’t worked. So why not give something that goes against the grain a try? Actually, the low-fat diet that has been forced down our throats all these years would more appropriately be described as the standard American low-fat diet. After all, how much better for us is it than the actual standard American diet? And how does it really differ?

But here’s the problem, and this why I think the Men’s Health article is right on target. The low-carb diet is now following the same path as the standard American low-fat diet. Lots of products touting the low-carb label—just like all the foods with the low-fat stamp of approval! And what are we left with? Tons of industrialized calorie-dense nutrient-stripped foods that people gobble up assuming they are eating intelligently, but all the while, not realizing that they’re consuming more and more empty calories. Isn’t this is exactly what caused us the problems we now have!

For me the answer is clear, realize that the average standard American diet and the standard American low-fat diet has failed, abandon all processed foods and their over-hyped claims, and perhaps most imporant of all, ignore the reactionary claims of the low-carb diet. How’d I arrive at this conclusion? That should be an easy one to figure out. I’m just regurgitating what’ve learned from Dr. Fuhrman. He’ll tell you, you want to lose weight, not consume too many calories, still get plenty of nutrients, and protect yourself from disease? A vegetable-based nutrient-dense diet is the answer. Just take green vegetables for example, look how they stack up against other foods. Check out this table from the Nutrient Density of Green Vegetables:
Nutrients present in 100-calorie portions
  Broccoli Sirloin Steak Romaine Lettuce Kale
Protein 11.2 gm 5.4 gm 7.5 gm 11 gm
Calcium 322 mg 2.4 mg 374 mg 470 mg
Iron 3.5 mg .7 mg 7.7 mg 5.8 mg
Magnesium 74.5 mg 5 mg 60.5 mg 97 mg
Fiber 4.7 g 0 4 g 3.4 g
Phytochemicals Very High 0 Very High Very High
Antioxidants Very High 0 Very High Very High
Folate 257 mcg 3 mcg 969 mcg 60 mcg
B2 .71 mg .04 mg .45 mg .32 mg
Niacin 2.8 mg 1.1 mg 2.2 mg 2.1 mg
Zinc 1.04 mg 1.2 mg 1.2 mg gm .55 mg
Vitamin C 350 mg 0 100 mg 329 mg
Vitamin A 7750 IU 24 IU 10,450 IU 23,407 IU
Vitamin E 26 IU 0 32 IU 34 IU
Cholesterol 0 5.5 mg 0 0
Weight 307 gm 24 gm 550 gm 266 gm
  (10.6 oz) (.84 oz) (19 oz) (9.2 oz)
And here's one more from Foods That Make You Thin:
Caloric Ratios of Common Foods
Foods Calories Per Pound Calories Per Liter Fiber Grams Per Pound
Oils 3,900 7,700 0
Potato chips of French fries 2,600 3,000 0
Meat 2,000 3,000 0
Cheese 1,600 3,400 0
White Bread 1,300 1,500 0
Chicken and Turkey (white meat) 900 1,600 0
Fish 800 1,400 0
Eggs 700 1,350 0
Whole Grains (wheat and rice) 600 1,000 3
Starchy Vegetables (potatoes and corn) 350 600 4
Beans 350 500 5
Fruits 250 300 9
Green Vegetables 100 200 5
I often wonder. If produce companies started sticking health claims on fresh fruits and vegetables and bolstered them with huge advertising budgets, would people finally realize that they’re the real health foods? Maybe so, because after all history would seem to predict that.

Nutritional Wisdom: Nobody Should Die of Heart Disease

Dr. Fuhrman’s radio show Nutritional Wisdom airs live Wednesdays at 11am EST with an encore presentation Thursdays at 3pm EST on VoiceAmerica. Here’s a peek at this week’s episode:

Fifty-percent of all Americans die of heart attacks and strokes. You don’t have to be one of them. Toss your medications for good. Tune in as Dr. Fuhrman discusses the startling facts about heart disease and explains how to prevent it – or reverse it if you already have it. Find out how Dr. Fuhrman’s advice can help you get rid of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.

Check out the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.

Blood Pressure: Don't Worry Be Happy

And according to a new study there’s good reason too. Research conducted by the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston suggests that having a positive outlook may help lower blood pressure in adults. Seem pretty logical to me. More from Reuters:
There is evidence that positive emotions can help keep a person's chemical and neural responses in balance, and help people handle stress better, Ostir and his team note in the latest issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.
The report makes clear that targeting people's emotional well-being could be an effective way to help control their blood pressure. I wonder what feeling good, plus a nutrient-dense would do for you, hmm...

Health Points: Wednesday

An extra can of soda a day can pile on 15 pounds in a single year, and the "weight of evidence" strongly suggests that this sort of increased consumption is a key reason that more people have gained weight, the researchers say.

"We tried to look at the big picture rather than individual studies," and it clearly justifies public health efforts to limit sugar-sweetened beverages, said Dr. Frank Hu, who led the report published Tuesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Patients must be able to trust their surgeon. Lest you trust your surgeon completely, you should not allow her/him to approach you with a scalpel. That has been my personal policy, though I concede that I have never required any surgery yet. Patients meet me, talk to me, discuss medical issues with me, and I formulate a plan that sometimes involves surgery. And when the patients agree, there are brief moments when I am amazed that they will trust me to operate on them. Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt my abilities (I even admit to being secretly quite proud of my skills), but I find this trust almost overwhelming.
Exercise regularly, eat fruits and vegetables, control your blood pressure and lower your cholesterol. It may sound like a prescription for avoiding heart disease, but this checklist also serves as a guide for preventing Alzheimer's. According to a new study out of Sweden, people can gauge their risk for the brain-wasting condition by their lifestyle habits in middle age.
  • If you’ve ever been interested in a pet parasite read this Jewish fishworm story. Larry Zaroff of The New York Times explains:
Enter Dr. Earl Lipman, a close friend of Bob’s and an outstanding internist and diagnostician, who identified the culprit over the phone.

Earl asked, “Does Rita make her own gefilte fish?”

“Yes.”

“Does she ever taste the raw fish before adding salt?” Earl continued.

“Yes.”

“She most likely has a fish tapeworm.”

The fish tapeworm — a beast, stubborn as a dog with a beef bone — is reluctant to move, tightly gripping the wall of the small intestine with its two suction cups. The worm requires a powerful purging medicine to persuade it to leave its cozy cave and exit the gut into the light.

Obesity Ups Kidney Failure Risk

HealthDay reports higher rates of obesity in the United States leave Americans with chronic kidney disease (CKD) twice as likely to develop end-stage kidney disease. Robert Preidt explains:
The researchers compared 65,000 Norwegians and 20,000 Americans in an attempt to gain a better understanding of why the incidence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), as well as permanent loss of kidney function requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation, is so much higher in the United States than in Norway.

The study authors noted that overall prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is similar in both countries -- 11 percent in the United States and 10.4 percent in Norway. However, once a person develops CKD, the risk of progression to ESRD was found to be 2.5 times higher among American patients.
Being obese doesn’t help matters:
American and Norwegian ESRD patients are similar in many ways, including age and level of remaining kidney function when they begin dialysis, the study noted. However, the American patients in this study had much higher rates of obesity and diabetes, which are two major and closely related risk factors for kidney disease.

"Obesity and physical inactivity lead to high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, which are now the most important causes of ESRD," study leader Dr. Stein Hallan, of St. Olav University Hospital in Trondheim, said in a prepared statement.

I'm Not Fat

Dr. Fuhrman begins his book Eat to Live with this observation of America's dietary indiscretions:

Americans have been among the first people worldwide to have the luxury of bombarding themselves with nutrient-deficient, high-calorie food, often called empty-calorie. By "empty-calorie," I mean food that is deficient in nutrients and fiber. More Americans than ever before are eating these rich, high-calorie foods while remaining inactive—a dangerous combination.

Unfortunately millions of people don't acknowledge the consequences of these habits. Notably obesity. According to Dr. Fuhrman the effect of the standard American diet (SAD) is like digging our graves with forks and knives.

To make matters worse the Associated Press reports a new study reveals many obese people don't categorize themselves as such. A dangerous mistake when you consider the increased health risks associated with being obese. Tim Whitmire reports:

"If somebody doesn't perceive themselves to be obese, they are most likely not going to pay attention to any public health information about the consequences of obesity," said Kim Truesdale, a nutrition researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Among those consequences are heightened risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis.

The study of 104 adults, ages 45 to 64, showed that only 15 percent of people who fit the body type for obese correctly classified themselves that way.

Less Risk in Your Diet?

According to the results of a national telephone survey Americans are consuming less undercooked ground beef, raw fish, oysters, and runny eggs. The study examined consumption of foods linked to E. coli, vibrio, salmonella and other food-borne illnesses. The LA Times reports:

The report, made public Tuesday at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, found that the percentage of people eating risky foods dropped from 31% in 1998 to 21% four years later. It was based on results of telephone surveys of 15,000 to 20,000 people conducted by the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, known as FoodNet.

It seems "risky food" only refers to short term risk in terms of this study. Dr. Fuhrman says animal products like hamburger, milk, and certain seafood can have long-term risks that are equally dangerous. Consider this excerpt from Eat to Live:

The link between animal products and many different diseases is as strongly supported in scientific literature as the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. For example, subjects who ate meat, including poultry and fish, were found to be twice as likely to develop dementia (loss of intellectual function with aging) than their vegetarian counterparts in a carefully designed study.1 The discrepancy was further widened when past meat consumption was taken into account. The same diet, loaded with animal products, that causes heart disease and cancer also causes most every other disease prevalent in America including kidney stones, renal insufficiency and renal failure, osteoporosis, uterine fibroids, hypertension, appendicitis, diverticulosis, and thrombosis.2

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Research: Magnesium Does a Body Good

According to Ed Edelson of the HealthDay News a recent study published in the March 28 issue of Circulation links high intake of magnesium with a reduced incidence of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome refers to the cluster of conditions that contribute to heart disease and diabetes. Edelson explains:

The components of metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, elevated blood fats and low levels of HDL cholesterol, the "good" kind that helps keep arteries clear. Having at least three of these factors increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The study began in 1985 and monitored more than 4,600 Americans. The conclusion showed that individuals consuming increased amounts of magnesium had a 31 percent lower chance of developing metabolic syndrome than those who did not.

According to researchers good sources of magnesium are halibut, dry roasted almonds, cashews, spinach, whole-grain cereals, avocados, bananas and raisins. Although, Dr. Fuhrman contends you should avoid halibut due to mercury contamination. (More on mercury.)

Dr. Ka He, an assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University encourages people to incorporate nutritious food into their diet when they are young so that can enjoy better health as they age. He urges that eating magnesium-rich food is only part of being healthy:

Magnesium is just a small part of the healthy heart story, He said. The standard recommendations for avoiding smoking, getting more physical activity, eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer fatty foods are essential for health.

Research: Loneliness Raises Blood Pressure

From a new study released in the March Psychology and Aging, as described by the Associated Press:The loneliest people studied had blood pressure readings as much as 30 points higher than those who weren't lonely, suggesting that loneliness can be as bad for the heart as being overweight or inactive, the researchers said.

European Research: Restricting Animal Products Reduces Weight Gain, Cancer

In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman warns against eating regular quantities of animal products, refined grains, and oils, urging you instead to get most of your calories from vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, and raw nuts:

Vegetable and fruits protect all types of cancers if consumed in large enough quantities. Hundreds of scientific studies document this. The most prevalent cancers in our country are mostly plant-food-deficiency disease. Raw vegetables have the most powerful anti-cancer properties of all foods.


Research shows that those who avoid meat and diary have lower rates heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.1

Studies have confirmed that individuals consuming a vegetarian diet (one based on plant matter and not dairy or refined grains) live longer than non-vegetarians and almost never get heart attacks.

With this in mind, consider this recent weight loss study from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. The eating habits of 22,000 people, meat eaters and vegetarians, were tracked over five years. In the end results found that all participants gained a few pounds, but individuals who adopted a vegetarian or vegan diet gained the least. Reuters reports:

"The weight gain was less in the vegans than in the meat-eaters and somewhere in between in the other groups," said Tim Key, of Britain's Cancer Research UK charity and the University of Oxford, who conducted the study.


"The lowest weight gain was in people who changed their diet to eat fewer animal products," he told Reuters.

In addition to stressing the importance of physical activity for sustained health, the study also comments on the link between diet and cancer:

[The study] also showed that diet is second only to tobacco, as a leading cause of cancer, and, along with alcohol, is responsible for nearly a third of cancer cases in developed countries.
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Coffee is Not for Everyone

Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press reports a new study is claiming that some coffee drinkers may be at greater risk for nonfatal heart attacks. Research found a genetic trait that splits coffee drinkers into two groups, those with a reduced risk of heart attack or those at an increased risk:

Research on more than 4,000 people in Costa Rica found that about half had the trait and were considered "slow caffeine metabolizers." The other half had the opposite trait, which caused their bodies to rapidly break down or metabolize caffeine, and coffee-drinking in this group appeared to reduce heart attack risks.

Among slow-metabolizers, those who drank two or more cups of coffee daily were at least 36 percent more likely to have a nonfatal heart attack than those who drank little or no coffee. Even higher risks were found for younger slow metabolizers -- those under 50. They were up to four times more likely to have a heart attack than slow metabolizers in their age group who drank little or no coffee.

University of Toronto researcher and co-author of the study, Ahmed El-Sohemy remarks:

The new study "clearly illustrates that one size does not fit all," El-Sohemy said. "Perhaps in the future we'll be making different (dietary) recommendations based on people's genetic makeup."

Here are Dr. Fuhrman's thoughts on consumption of caffeinated beverages from his book Eat to Live:

Clearly, excessive consumption on caffeinated beverages is dangerous. Caffeine addicts are at higher risk of cardiac arrhythmias that could precipitate sudden death.1 Coffee raises blood pressure and raises cholesterol and homocysteine, two risk factors for heart disease.2

Besides increased risk of heart disease, there are two other problems. First caffeine is a stimulant that allows you to get by with less sleep and reduces the depth of sleep. Such sleep deprivation results in higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol and interferes with glucose metabolism, leading to insulin resistance.3 This insulin resistance, and subsequent higher baseline glucose level, further promotes heart disease and other problems. In other words, caffeine consumptions promotes inadequate sleep, and less sleep promotes disease and premature aging. Adequate sleep is also necessary to prevent overeating. There is no subsidence for adequate sleep.

The second issue is that eating more frequently and eating more food suppresses caffeine-withdrawals headaches and other withdrawal symptoms. When you are finally finished digesting the meal, the body more effectively cleans house; at this time people experience a drive to eat more to suppress caffeine-withdrawal symptoms. You are prodded to eat again, eating more food than you would if you were not a caffeine addict.

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Childhood Obesity: Growing In The Wrong Direction

Obesity is rapidly becoming one the nation's worst epidemics. A dangerous trend considering the variety of diseases linked to obesity, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The growing number of overweight children is especially concerning. This article on KidsHealth.org discusses the issue and provides tips to help kids beat the bulge:

Overweight children are at risk for serious health conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol - all once considered exclusively adult diseases. But overweight children may also be prone to low self-esteem that stems from being teased, bullied, or rejected by peers. Overweight children are often the last to be chosen as playmates, even as early as preschool. Children who are unhappy with their weight may be more likely than average-weight children to develop unhealthy dieting habits and eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia, and they may be more prone to depression, as well as substance abuse.

Dr. Fuhrman's book Disease Proof Your Child is devoted to helping parents keep their children free of disease through proper nutrition. In the book he offers this stern warning about childhood obesity:

Obesity is the most common nutritional problem among children in the United States. On in three kids in America are overweight, and the problem is growing. The number of children who are overweight has more than doubled during the past decade. Social forces, from the demise of cooking to the rise of fast food, as well as dramatic increases in snack food and soda consumption, have led to the most overweight population of children in human history. Added to this dietary disaster is television, computer, and video technology that entertains our youngsters while they are physically inactive. Unless parents take a proactive role in promoting and assuring adequate nutrition and an active lifestyle, you can be sure the children of American will continue this downward spiral into obesity and ill health. Obese children suffer physically and emotionally throughout childhood and then invariably suffer with adult heart disease, and a higher cancer incidence down the road.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin in the News

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study claiming that two popular arthritis supplements don't work. Gina Kolata of The New York Times reports that despite the $734 million Americans spent on glucosamine and chondroitin in 2004, trials revealed few results.

In the member section of his website, Dr. Fuhrman has said "I think glucosamine and chondroitin are safe and have some clinical evidence to show they are mildly helpful. So if they are helping you, great."

He is more interested in looking at the bigger picture. He says that poor diets can cause rheumatoid arthritis and similar conditions. Adopting a nutrient rich vegetable based diet offers you the chance to eradicate it. This is from Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live:

Some people, especially other physicians, may be skeptical. There are so many exaggerated and false claims made in health field, especially by those selling so-called natural remedies. Nevertheless, it is wrong to underestimate the results obtainable through appropriate nutritional intervention. Even many of my patients with autoimmune illnesses (such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and hyperthyrodism) are able to recover and throw away their medications.


When one of my patients who had a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis went back to her previous physician, a rheumatologist, and told him she was now well and did not require any medication, he replied, "It must just be that you are resting more." She said, "I'm not resting more. In fact, I am more active than ever because my pain is gone, and I stopped the drugs." He replied, "It's just a temporary remission; you'll be back soon with another crisis." She never went back.

He also includes this table of diseases that can be caused by poor diet.

Dietary-Caused Illnesses with High Prevalence
acneallergiesangina
appendicitisasthmaarthritis
atherosclerosisconstipationcolonic polyps
diabetes(adult)diverticulosisesophagitis
fibromyalgiagallstonesgastritis
goutheadacheshemorrhoids
high blood pressurehypoglycemic symptomsindigestion
irritable bowel syndromekidney stoneslumbar spine syndromes
macular degenerationmusculoskeletal painosteoperosis
sexual dysfunctionstrokeuterine fibroids

Your Doctor Lied: You Do Have High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol

I know you were told that if your blood pressure is below 140/90, it is normal. Unfortunately, this is not true, either. It is average - not normal. This number is used because it is the midpoint of adult Americans older than sixty. The risk for strokes and heart attacks starts climbing at 115/70.

In societies where we do not see high rates of heart disease and strokes, we don't see blood pressure increase with age. In rural China the healthy elderly had the same low blood pressure readings as they did when they were kids. Almost all Americans have blood pressure that is unhealthfully high. At a minimum, we should consider blood pressure higher than 125/80 abnormal.

Numerous scientific investigations have shown that the following interventions have some degree of effectiveness in lowering blood pressure.1

  • Weight loss
  • Sodium restriction
  • Increased potassium intake
  • Increased calcium and magnesium intake
  • Alcohol restriction
  • Caffeine restriction
  • Increased fiber intake
  • Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • Increased physical activity or exercise

Studies have shown controlling sodium intake and weight loss to be effective in reducing blood pressure, even in the elderly.2 How can you implement these interventions into your lifestyle? It's simple. Eat many more fruits, vegetables, and legumes; eat less of everything else; and engage in a moderate amount of exercise. High blood pressure is relatively simple to control.

I encourage my patients to do what it takes to normalize their blood pressure so they do not require medication. Prescribing medications for high blood pressure has the effect of a permission slip. Medication has a minimal effect in reducing heart attack occurrence in patients with high blood pressure because it does not remove the underlying problem (atherosclerosis), it just treats the symptom. Patients given medication now falsely believe they are protected, and they continue to follow the same disease-causing lifestyle that caused the problem to begin with, until the inevitable occurs -- their first heart attack or stroke. Maybe, if high blood pressure medications were never invented, doctors would have been forced to teach healthful living and nutritional disease causation to their patients. It is possible that many more lives could have been saved.

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Pomegranate Power

Pomegranate juice is a rich source of phytochemical compounds shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels. It not only lowers cholesterol, but lowers blood pressure and increases the speed at which heart blockages (atherosclerosis) melt away.

Recent medical research completed in 2004 studied heart patients with severe carotid artery blockages. They were given an ounce of pomegranate juice for a year, and not only did their blood pressure lower by over 20 percent, but there was a 30 percent reduction in atherosclerotic plaque.1

The data was measured by IMT technology. IMT stands for Intima Media Thickness. It has been shown in medical studies that the thickness of the plaque in a specific place in the neck has an excellent correlation with coronary artery atherosclerotic burden. The control group who did not receive the juice had their arteries close off even further. IMT thickness increased 9 percent.

Not only are pomegranates good for your heart and blood vessels but they have been shown to inhibit breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia and to prevent vascular changes that promote tumor growth in lab animals.2

Pomegranates' potent antioxidant compounds have also been shown to reduce platelet aggregation and naturally lower blood pressure, factors that prevent both heart attacks and strokes.3 Pomegranates contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, potent antioxidants offering protection against heart disease and cancer. A glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, and cranberries.

Pomegranate juice has also been found to contain phytochemical compounds that stimulate serotonin and estrogen receptors, improving symptoms of depression and improving bone mass in lab animals.4

Given the fact that pomegranate juice is so rich in heart protective compounds and there are animal studies to support the beneficial findings in human studies, it makes the results of these recent investigations understandable and believable. Pomegranate is a powerful food for good health.5

Summary Features of Pomegranate

1. Most powerful anti-oxidant of all fruits
2. Potent anti-cancer and immune supporting effects
3. Inhibits abnormal platelet aggregation that could cause heart attacks, strokes and embolic disease
4. Lowers cholesterol and other cardiac risk factors
5. Lowers blood pressure
6. Shown to promote reversal of atherosclerotic plaque in human studies.
7. May have benefits to relieve or protect against depression and osteoporosis

I recommend all my patients who have heart disease, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure to incorporate pomegranate juice into their diet and, for the above reasons I have added pomegranate concentrate to my cholesterol lowering formula, LDL Protect.

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Government: Half of 55 to 64 Year Olds Have High Blood Pressure

The AP's Mike Stobbe passes along some good news: the government just announced that life expectancy in the U.S. has hit an all-time high of 77.6 years. But, he writes, there are some worrying trends on the horizon:

Half of Americans in the 55-to-64 age group — including the oldest of the baby boomers — have high blood pressure, and two in five are obese. That means they are in worse shape in some respects than Americans born a decade earlier were when they were that age.

In his book Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman has this to say about high blood pressure.

Studies have shown controlling sodium intake and weight loss to be effective in reducing blood pressure, even in the elderly.1 How can you implement these interventions into you lifestyle? It's simple. Eat many more fruits, vegetables, and legumes; eat less of everything else; and engage in a moderate amount of exercise. High blood pressure is relatively simple to control.

I encourage my patients to do what it takes to normalize their blood pressure so they do not require medication. Prescribing medications for high blood pressure has the effect of a permission slip. Medication has a minimal effect in reducing heart attack occurrence in patients with high blood pressure because it does not remove the underlying problem (atherosclerosis), it just treats the symptom. Patients given medication now falsely believe they are protected, and they continue to follow the same disease-causing lifestyle that caused the problem to begin with, until the inevitable occurs--their first heart attack or stroke. Maybe, if high blood pressure medications were never invented, doctors would have been forced to teach healthful living and nutritional disease causation to their patients. It is possible that many more lives could have been saved.
Dr. Fuhrman tells the story of a patient who followed his advice.
Though it took a full two years, Rhonda Wilson dropped her weight from 194 to a slim 119. She was able to come off blood pressure medication as a result of her newfound commitment to a healthful lifestyle. When she first came to me, she was on two medications to control her high blood pressure. These two medications were not sufficient, as her blood pressure was still excessively high. Rhonda did not see normal blood pressure readings for a long time and was not able to stop her blood pressure medication until she became relatively thin. Her story illustrates a common dilemma. It is not unusual for some people to lose some weight, yet still have high blood pressure. Some individuals develop high blood pressure and diabetes even from a small amount of excess body fat. For these individuals, it is even more important to maintain an ideal weight.

UPDATE: You can read the whole government report here.

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Study: A Better Measure than Body Mass Index

Canadian researchers have just had an article published in The Lancet that suggests their may be a simple technique to determine your risk of heart disease that is more effective than the standard Body Mass Index. Nicholas Bakalar reports in The New York Times. Warning: you'll be wanting a tape measure and a calculator, so you might as well get those now...

A waist-to-hip ratio (waist measurement divided by hip measurement) below 0.85 in women or 0.9 in men is average. Anything above that is a risk for heart disease.

The researchers, led by Dr. Salim Yusuf, a professor of medicine at McMaster University near Toronto, studied 12,461 people who had had a first heart attack and compared them to a matched group of 14,637 without heart disease.

A body mass index greater than 28.2 in women or 28.6 in men did indicate an increased risk of heart attack, but the relationship disappeared after adjusting for age, sex, geographic region and tobacco use.

Waist-to-hip ratio, on the other hand, showed a continuous relationship to heart attack risk even after adjusting for other risk factors. Those in the highest fifth were 2.52 times as likely to have a heart attack as those in the lowest fifth.

Dr. Fuhrman wrote about this in his book Eat to Live. In fact, Amazon.com will let their customers read that part of Eat to Live online for free.

You'll see he cites the work of Harvard's Dr. I-Min Lee--who studied nearly 20,000 men over nearly thirty years. She found that you practically can not be too thin: the lightest group of men had the lowest mortality. (Of course, he cautions, there is such a thing as being too thin, which is usually anorexia and is a topic for another time.)

And as you can read, Dr. Fuhrman describes various favored techniques for measuring body fat: like Dr. Yusuf, he finds that fat around the waist is a more useful measure than body mass index.

Two quickie rules of thumb from Eat to Live to assess whether or not you are at your ideal weight:

  • Men shouldn't be able to pinch more than a half-inch of skin near the belly button. Women should not be able to pinch more than an inch.
  • If you have gained as little as ten pounds since you were 18 or 20 years old, then you could have a significantly increased risk for health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Goodbye to Medications, Hello to Long-Term Health

The following story comes from 30-year-old Shawn Powers in Indian River, Michigan.

I wanted to send a sincere thank you. On a whim, I googled for a diet plan to help with blood pressure. Eat to Live happened to be the first I ran into. I drove a half hour to the bookstore, and bought a copy. I read the whole book that afternoon.

I could go on and on about struggles, cravings, relief from cravings, addiction, etc. -- but I'll just put my current results as an "attaboy" for the doctor.

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