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Red Meat Linked to Diabetes

The largest study to date shows that eating red meat every day increases risk of diabetes by 19 percent (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 2011). Researchers analyzed data on 204,157 men and women who were followed from 14 to 28 years in the Health Professionals Study and the Nurses Studies. They found that eating processed meat (one hot dog or two slices of bacon) daily increased risk by more than 50 percent. They also found that substituting other protein sources for red meat markedly reduces diabetes risk. The most effective foods were whole grains, nuts, fish, poultry and low-fat dairy products. Beans are also an excellent substitute for red meat.

Another study found that meat-eating adults are four times more likely to develop diabetes than vegetarians in just two years of follow-up (Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, published online October 10, 2011). The authors followed 15,200 men and 26,187 women in the U.S. and Canada who were free of diabetes. Two years later diabetes had developed in 0.54 percent of vegans, 1.08 percent of lacto-ovo vegetarians, 1.29 percent of pesco-vegetarians, 0.92 percent of semi-vegetarians and 2.12 percent of non-vegetarians.

PROBABLE MECHANISM: Before insulin can do its job of driving sugar into cells, it must first attach to special hooks on cells called insulin receptors. The saturated animal fat in meat prevents insulin from attaching to its receptors. As a result, blood sugar levels rise and a person is at increased risk for developing diabetes.

NITRATES AND IRON: Meat is also high in nitrites and nitrates which block insulin receptors. Processed meats have even higher levels of nitrates because they are added as preservatives. Red meat contains high levels of extremely absorbable heme iron that can damage the beta cells that produce insulin.


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Weight Loss Reduces Joint Pain

175 obese people suffering from knee osteoarthritis went on a formula diet limited to 800 calories a day for eight weeks and lost an average 26 pounds (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dec. 21, 2011). For the next eight weeks, they took 1,200 calories a day. After 16 weeks, more than 60 percent had less knee pain, which improved their ability to walk.

Osteoarthritis means that a person has joint pain and stiffness and doctors cannot find a cause. Several other studies show that weight loss in obese people frequently improves arthritic pain. Doctors do not know why. We do know that full fat cells cause inflammation, which turns on a person's immunity, causing cells to send out cytokines that damage joints. Losing weight reduces inflammation.

These people lost weight because of tight supervision that forced them to restrict their food intake. Most obese people who lose weight on any program quickly regain their lost weight, regardless of the method used. Being overweight markedly increases your chances of suffering diabetes, heart attacks, cancers and premature death.

If you are overweight and have joint pain, you should try to lose weight by restricting sugared drinks, foods with added sugars, red meat, and fried foods; increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts; and get into a supervised exercise program that does not hurt when you do it.


Study Identifies Foods That Make You Fat

Researchers followed 120,877 U.S. women and men, free of chronic diseases and not obese at baseline, from 1986-2006. The relationships between changes in lifestyle factors and weight change were evaluated at four-year intervals (N Engl J Med, June 23, 2011;364:2392-2404). In each four-year period, participants gained an average of 3.35 lb. Weight gain was most strongly associated with the following foods:

• French fries (3.35 lb)
• potato chips (1.69 lb)
• boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes (0.57 lb)
• all non-water drinks except milk (includes artificial sweetened drinks):
• sugar-sweetened beverages (1.00 lb)
• fruit juices (about 1 lb)
• unprocessed red meats (0.95 lb)
• processed meats (0.93 lb)
• sweets and desserts (0.41 lb per serving per day)
• flour (0.39 lb per serving per day)

• drinking alcohol (0.41 lb for each drink per day)
• quitting smoking (new quitters, 5.17 lb; former smokers, 0.14 lb)
• too much or too little sleep (<6 or >8 hours of sleep)
• television watching (0.31 lb per hour per day)

• vegetables (-0.22 lb)
• whole grains (-0.37 lb)
• fruits (-0.49 lb)
• nuts (-0.57 lb)
• yogurt (-0.82 lb - May change bacteria in intestines that help absorb foods)

• Exercise (-1.76 lb)


Continuous Aerobic Exercise Gets Rid of Belly Fat

A review of 35 studies shows that continuous aerobic exercise is far more effective that lifting weights in reducing belly fat (Obesity Reviews, January, 2012;13(1):68-91).

HIGH INSULIN LEVELS CAUSE BELLY FAT: Having abdominal obesity and small buttocks means you have high blood sugar and insulin levels, and are at high risk for diabetes and a heart attack. Insulin causes fat to be deposited in the belly and around organs. If you have small buttocks, that increases risk for diabetes and high insulin levels even more because insulin causes fat to be deposited selectively in your belly.

DIABETES MEANS THAT BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS RISE TOO HIGH. This causes sugar to stick to the outside surface of cells. Once there, sugar can never get off. Eventually it is converted to sorbitol which destroys the cell to cause all the side effects of diabetes: blindness, deafness, dementia, heart attacks, strokes, impotence, cancers and so forth.

CAUSE OF HIGH LEVELS OF INSULIN: Most cases of diabetes are caused by inability to respond to insulin and most diabetics have high insulin levels because their bodies cannot respond to insulin. Therefore high blood sugar levels cause the pancreas to produce ever increasing amounts of insulin, which causes fat to be deposited in the belly. Eventually the pancreas dies and a person can develop low levels of insulin and have to be treated with insulin.

HIGH LEVELS OF INSULIN CAUSE HEART ATTACKS by constricting arteries leading to the heart. A review of 100 cases of sudden heart attacks in apparently health people who took no medication showed that more than 60 were diabetic and the first sign of diabetes was their heart attack. Therefore the treatment for all people "shaped like apples" is to get rid of the belly fat. These studies show that the best way to lower insulin levels and get rid of belly fat is to exercise continuously.

HOW EXERCISE CAN PREVENT AND CURE DIABETES: Resting muscles can draw sugar from the blood only with insulin, and even then do so very ineffectively. On the other hand, contracting muscles can pull sugar from the bloodstream without needing insulin. However, this effect of exercise lasts only up to 17 hours. Therefore, you need to exercise every day to keep blood sugar levels from rising too high after meals.


Recipe of the Week:

Double Mushroom Soup

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE


December 31st, 2011
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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