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A High-Fiber Diet May Help to Prevent Dementia

Researchers followed more than 3500 Japanese adults, 40-64 years of age, for 20 years and found that those who ate lots of dietary fiber were at reduced risk for developing dementia. The study found that those who ate the most soluble fiber had the lowest incidence of dementia.

New Drugs May Treat Obesity

On May 13, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved tirzepatide (Mounjaro), from Lilly, for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The drug has not been approved for weight loss, but so far studies show that tirzepatide with a weight loss diet causes significant weight loss in diabetics and sent 50 percent of them into remission as long as they kept taking the drug. The most recent study found that 63 percent of 2,539 obese, non-diabetic adults who were put on a weight loss diet and received tirzepatide once a week achieved at least 20 percent body weight reduction in 72 weeks.

Fatty Liver Disease Can Often Be Cured With Lifestyle Changes, Not With Drugs

More than 80 million North Americans suffer from Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), and many do not know that they have it because most people with a fatty liver have normal liver function blood tests in the early stages of the disease. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinology, supported by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, has just issued new guidelines for diagnosing and treating NAFLD.

Get Your Calcium from Foods

A study from the Cleveland Clinic found that people with mild to moderate calcification of their aortic valves who took calcium pills were at double risk for dying from heart disease and three times more likely to need surgery to replace their heart valve than the participants who did not take calcium pills.

Artificial Sweeteners Can Change Your Gut Bacteria

A review of 17 studies involving1733 adults found that substituting artificially sweetened drinks for sugared drinks is associated with slightly reduced body weight, body fat percentage, and measures of fatty liver disease.

Egg Yolks, Cholesterol and TMAO

Researchers followed 27,078 Finnish men for 31 years and found that the more dietary cholesterol and eggs a person ate, the greater the premature total death rate and death from heart attacks. They reviewed 41 other prospective studies and found the same association between dietary egg and cholesterol intake and increased total and heart attack death rates. These results are similar to those of the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study followed 521,120 U.S. adults, average age 62.2 years, for an average of 16 years and found that eating half an egg per day was associated with increased risk for death from heart attacks, cancer, and all causes

Alcohol Does Not Appear to Prevent Heart Disease

The World Heart Federation reports that even small amounts of alcohol increase heart attack risk. Taking one drink a day does not help to prevent heart attacks and appears to increase risk for heart attacks. A study of 371,463 individuals found that no amount of alcohol helps prevent heart disease, even low amounts of alcohol increase heart attack risk, and the more you drink, the greater your chance of suffering a heart attack.

Fiber Associated with Reduced Dementia Risk

Researchers followed 3700 adults, ages 40 to 64, for up to 20 years and found that those who ate the most fiber were 25 percent less likely to suffer dementia in later life than those who ate the least . The more fiber a person ate, the less likely they were to develop dementia. Dietary fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, nuts and other seeds.

Do You Need Vitamin Pills?

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend the routine use of vitamin or mineral pills to prevent chronic diseases (USPSTF Bulletin, May 4, 2021). Heart disease is the leading causes of death in the U.S. today, but taking vitamin pills has not been shown to prevent heart disease, and neither the American Heart Association nor the American College of Cardiology recommend them.

Be Sure Your Diet Contains Adequate Protein and Vitamin B12

Vegan diets are recommended by many researchers and doctors because they may help to prevent heart attacks and some cancers, but a diet that excludes all animal products can increase risk for deficiencies in dietary protein and vitamin B12. Older people in particular can be harmed by vegan diets because these deficiencies may increase their chances of suffering from muscle weakness, osteoporosis, lack of coordination, falls and broken bones.

Saturated Fats May Not Be the Culprit in Meats or Milk

Studies on meat from mammals and processed meats continue to show increased risk for heart attacks and certain cancers. The largest review ever of the prospective studies, including thirteen cohort studies involving over 1.4 million people and followed for up to 30 years, found that: *Each 50 g/day higher intake of processed meat (e.g. bacon, ham, and sausages) increased the risk of coronary heart disease by 18 percent

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

Most people do not need to keep track of how much fluid they take in. The average person takes in 6-8 glasses of liquids each day without even thinking about it, just by following their own thirst sensations. They meet almost 80 percent of their needs for water by drinking anything liquid and get the remaining 20 percent from the food that they eat.

More Good News About Nuts and Peanuts

A recent analysis of 86 studies found that "there is no association between nuts and weight gain, and in fact some analyses showed higher nut intake associated with reductions in body weight and waist circumference. The researchers from University of Toronto noted that even though nuts are concentrated sources of fats, "The physical structure of nuts may also contribute to fat malabsorption due to the fat content in nuts being contained within walled cellular structures that are incompletely masticated or digested."

Ultra-Processed Foods

A study from Italy found that eating a lot of processed foods is associated with increased risk for suffering a heart attack in people who have heart disease, and dying from heart disease, even if that person followed the plant-based Mediterranean diet and all the other rules for preventing and treating heart disease.

Pro-Inflammatory Diet Linked to Increased Risk for Dementia

The American Heart Association reports that dementia is strongly associated with a pro-inflammatory diet. Dementia means loss of brain function, and your chance of having dementia increases as you age. A new study from Greece found that people who eat a pro-inflammatory diet are far more likely to suffer from dementia, compared to those eating an anti-inflammatory diet.

Why Calorie Counting Doesn’t Work

A team of 17 internationally recognized scientists published a paper supported by more than 169 journal references, proposing that the current obesity epidemic is not caused just by taking in too many calories. They believe that obesity is caused primarily by hormonal changes brought on by eating refined carbohydrates and sugar-added foods.

Do You Need Vitamin D Pills?

Forty-two percent of North Americans have vitamin D levels below 20 ng/mL, which makes them deficient by most standards. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk for developing many diseases

Turmeric and Other Anti-Inflammatory Spices

Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, as are many other spices such as cinnamon or ginger.  Turmeric roots are available in some produce sections, and ground (dry) turmeric is in virtually every spice section.  It’s a widely used spice, especially in Indian dishes, and we recommend using it that way. 

Are Plant-Based Meats More Healthful than Animal Meats?

More than 40 percent of North Americans are trying to reduce their consumption of meat and to increase their intake of plant-based foods. Non-meat "meats" made out of plants are becoming popular, and the "Impossible Burger" is now available in more than 7,000 restaurants. When I first reported on "Impossible Burger" and "Beyond Meat" in 2019, I noted that, "A major concern is that these products have not been tested for long-term safety."

When Does Your Metabolism Slow Down?

Many people believe that they gradually gain weight from their 20s onward because their metabolism gets slower over the years, but now it appears that this is not true. The researchers found that metabolism (the rate at which a person burns calories) remains stable through adult mid-life, from ages 20 to 60. After age 60 it begins to slow down at a rate of slightly less than one percent per year.

Eating Meat Still Associated with Heart Disease

There is little debate in the scientific community whether eating mammal meat (beef, pork, lamb) regularly is associated with increased risk for heart disease. An analysis of several studies covering more than 1.4 million people, who were followed for 30 years or more, found that for each 1.75 ounces of beef, lamb or pork consumed, the risk of heart disease increased by nine percent.

Eating Fermented Foods Can Improve Colon Bacteria

A study from Stanford shows that eating fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, fermented cottage cheese, kimchi, fermented vegetables, vegetable brine drinks, and kombucha increases the diversity of colon bacteria, which decreases inflammation associated with many different diseases. The more fermented foods you eat, the greater the gain in bacterial diversity.

Snack on High Fiber Foods

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found that daily consumption of starchy snacks made from flour was associated with a 50 percent increased risk of death from all causes and a 44-57 percent increased risk of death from a heart attack. This study of 21,503 North Americans, with 149,875 person-years of follow-up, also found that lunches based on refined grains were associated with a 44 percent increased risk of cardiovascular death.

Bacteria in Your Gut May Determine How Much You Weigh

With the ever-increasing epidemic of obesity in North America, more than 70 percent of adults and almost 20 percent of children are overweight, which increases risk for heart attacks, diabetes, strokes, arthritis, and some types of cancers. A recent review of the world’s scientific literature suggests that obesity is determined to a large degree by the types of bacteria that live in your colon.

Processed Foods Linked to Heart Attacks, Colon Cancer

Researchers followed 3,000 middle-aged people, average age 53, for 18 years and found out that the more ultra-processed foods they ate, the more likely they were to suffer a heart attack. Each daily serving of ultra-processed food increased heart attack risk by seven percent, and increased risk of death from a heart attack by nine percent.

Sugared Drinks Linked to Type II Diabetes, Obesity, Heart Attacks and Some Cancers

A study from the University of Zurich found that drinking sugared drinks three times a day more than doubles the amount of fat produced by your liver, to increase chances for suffering from a fatty liver that markedly increases risk for Type II diabetes, obesity, heart attacks and certain cancers.

How Your Diet Can Help to Prevent Heart Attacks and Cancers

Eating more fruits and vegetables, and restricting meat, egg yolks and non-fermented dairy products, can help to reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack. Eating just two servings of red meat or processed meat per week (not poultry or fish) is associated with increased risk for heart attacks and premature death.

Whole (Unrefined) Grains Are Healthful

Unrefined whole grains are healthful and promote the growth of healthful colon bacteria that form short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which help to prevent heart disease, particularly if you are overweight or have high blood sugar levels. The Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study confirms many others that show that eating a lot of refined grains is associated with increased risk for heart attacks.

Organic Foods May Not Be Worth the Extra Cost

Organic fresh produce sales in 2020 were $8.54 billion, an increase of over $1 billion from 2019. A very sobering study of 55 rice types found that organic rice contained significantly more arsenic than non-organic rice. More than half of the rice samples were "unfit to feed to infants."

Nitrates: One Reason to Eat Lots of Vegetables

Nitrates from the foods you eat can be converted in your body to nitric oxide, which widens blood vessels to increase blood flow throughout your body, to improve exercise tolerance and to help prevent heart disease and to lower high blood pressure