Subscribe to Dr. Mirkin's free FITNESS & HEALTH NEWSLETTER      

How to Live Longer and Better

No drugs, supplements or potions have been shown to extend your life, in spite of the fact that the internet is full of an incredible number of fraudulent life-extension products that provide no benefits while they steal your money. However, we do have overwhelming evidence that several healthful lifestyle habits can extend how long you live and improve your quality of life in your later years.

Coconut Oil is Not a Special Health Food

Coconut oil does not help a person lose weight, lower blood sugar levels, or dampen down harmful inflammation (Circulation, Jan 13, 2020). The authors reviewed 17 studies and found that coconut oil increased blood levels of the harmful LDL cholesterol much more than the increase from soybean, olive, safflower, canola or palm oils.

How Much Water Do You Need?

Do you believe that a person needs to drink eight glasses of water every day? If you do, you are probably making a lot of extra trips to the bathroom.

Little Evidence to Support Taking Probiotics

Probiotics are foods or supplements containing healthful bacteria that pass to your colon when you eat them. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports that close to four million adults in the U.S. use probiotics.

Milk is Not Essential for Health

The main argument for drinking milk is its high calcium content. Milk and cheese contribute 46 percent of the calcium intake by the average American, but researchers have found many recent studies showing that American adults do not need to take in that much milk to provide enough calcium to help prevent bone fractures.

Eat Breakfast, Especially if You Want to Lose Weight

If you are trying to control your weight, you should not skip breakfast because the food that you eat in the morning causes you to burn more than two and a half times as many calories as the food you eat at night.

Why a High Protein Diet May Increase Risk for Heart Attacks

A recent study in mice showed that increasing dietary protein from 15 percent to 46 percent of calories caused the mice to develop 30 percent more arterial plaques than mice on their normal-protein diet, even though they did not gain more weight.

High Blood Levels of Vitamin B12 Usually Caused by Eating Meat

A study of 5571 adults found that people who have higher blood levels of vitamin B12 are more likely to die prematurely. Compared to those with lower B12 blood levels, people with higher B12 levels were likely to be fatter and have higher blood pressure, higher cholesterol, and higher blood sugar.

Fiber Wins Again

Two new studies add to the huge body of research showing that perhaps the most important dietary recommendation is to eat lots of fiber, which is found in plants. You keep on gaining health benefits until you reach at least 25 to 29 grams of fiber per day.

Guide to Vegetable Oils

North Americans eat far more fat than they need, primarily from the vegetable oils that are added to just about every packaged food or fast food meal you can buy, and from our tendency to cook most of our foods in fat. It is harmful to take in a lot of fats from vegetable oils because excessive fat intake can cause high insulin levels and insulin resistance, which can cause diabetes.

More Controversy On Eggs

Egg yolks are among the richest food sources of cholesterol, and almost 100 million North American adults have high blood cholesterol levels, signifying increased risk for heart attacks. Most of the cholesterol in your body is made by your liver and less comes from the food that you eat.

Benefits of Time-Restricted Eating

In a recent study of time-restricted eating, a group of 19 people with metabolic syndrome (also called pre-diabetes) ate their usual meals but ate only between 8AM and 6PM (10 hours) and took in no calories during the other 14 hours each day.

Processed Foods Linked to Heart Disease

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that for every five percent increase in calories from ultra-processed foods, there is increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. Taking in 70 percent of calories from processed foods doubles heart attack risk factors.

Impossible Burgers and Beyond Meat: Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Two companies -- Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat -- dominate the market for plant-based burgers that taste like meat. A major concern is that these products have not been tested for long-term safety.

Prebiotics and Probiotics in Foods or Supplements

More than 100 trillion bacteria live in your colon. Some are healthful, while others can be harmful. Your healthful bacteria eat the same foods that you do and stay in your colon.

High Doses of Water-Soluble Vitamins May Be Harmful

It is well-known that taking large doses of the fat-soluble vitamins -- A, D, E and K -- can harm you. You may also be harmed by large doses of the water-soluble B vitamins or vitamin C.

Dangers of Storing Fat in Your Belly

In the last few months, several articles have shown that even if you are not overweight, having excess fat in your belly increases your risk for heart attacks, diabetes and inflammation.

Meat IS Associated with Heart Attacks and Some Types of Cancer

Don't believe the recent headlines suggesting that people can continue to eat their usual amounts of meat without suffering any increase in risk for illness or premature death.

Low Vitamin B12 May Increase Risk for Bleeding Strokes

A surprising study from the UK shows that vegetarians and pescatarians (those who eat fish but not meat) appear to be at increased risk for suffering bleeding strokes, even though they are at reduced risk for heart attacks and are not at increased risk for clotting strokes.

Keto Diets Increase Risk for Fatty Liver

The various ketogenic diets that severely restrict all carbohydrates and replace them mostly with fats are associated with increased risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD. NAFLD can lead to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, liver cancer and other cancers.

Get Vitamins and Nutrients from Foods, Not Pills

Researchers at Tufts University analyzed data from 30,899 U.S. adults who had answered questionnaires on the foods that they ate and the supplements that they took, and were then followed for six years or more (Annals of Internal Medicine, May 7, 2019). A total of 3613 deaths occurred during the study period. The researchers...

Calories from Foods Vary with Preparation Method and Your Gut Bacteria

Calorie counts listed on food packages or restaurant menus are deceptive because they tell how much energy a food produces when it is burned in a laboratory. The number of calories absorbed in your body is likely to be quite different, depending on how the food is prepared and what types of bacteria you...

Could the Obesity Epidemic Be Caused By an Immune Defect?

Mice that have a specific defect in their immune system all become obese (Science, Jul 26, 2019:365(6451)). These mice have defective T cells that are unable to recognize harmful invading germs and allow these germs to survive in their colons. You have about 100 trillion bacteria in your colon that help to control your immune...

High Protein Diets May Increase Heart Attack Risk

The Paleo diet and other high-protein diets may be among the more harmful popular diets recommended for weight loss because they: • raise blood levels of TMAO, a marker for increased heart attack risk (European Journal of Nutrition, July 5, 2019:1–14), and • fail to lower high blood sugar even when they promote weight loss ((Evid...

Cutting Calories Can Lower Heart Attack Risk in Healthy-Weight People

Recently I reported a study showing that post-menopausal women who store fat primarily in their bellies are at increased risk for having heart attacks, even if they are not overweight (Eur Heart, June 30, 2019). Now another study shows that adults under age 50 who were not overweight and reduced their intake of food...

The Good Food Book

The Good Food Book now available on Amazon as a Kindle eBook for just $0.99. With 100+ of Diana's healthful recipes.

Drink Water Instead of Sweetened Drinks

The Nurses' Health study and The Health Professional's Follow-Up study, two of the largest studies on the subject, show that sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with increased risk for heart attacks, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, and the more sugar-sweetened beverages you take in, the more likely you are to suffer from these diseases

High Plant Diet Wins Again

Chicken is not more heart-healthful than red meat, according to a new study from Oakland Research Institute. The study showed that chicken and mammal meat caused the same high rises in blood cholesterol levels that predict increased risk for heart attacks, while equal amounts of protein and saturated fats from plant sources resulted in...

Heart Attacks Again Linked to Red Meat

A prospective study from nine European countries (European Heart Journal Trial) followed for 12.6 years showed that heart attacks are strongly associated with eating mammal meat and processed meats. Many previous studies have shown that a vegetarian diet is associated with reduced heart attack risk.

Are Processed Foods Making Us Fatter?

A small but well-designed study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows how eating processed foods, compared to unprocessed foods, leads you to eat more calories per day and gain more weight.