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How Much Alcohol is Safe?

A review of 83 scientific studies covering almost 600,000 current alcohol drinkers in 19 higher-income countries shows that men and women who take in as few as six drinks a week (100 grams of alcohol) are at increased risk for death from strokes, heart failure, heart disease and aortic aneurysms, but not heart attacks.

Best Time to Eat: Just Before or After Exercise

The most healthful time to eat is just before or after you exercise. When you eat any source of sugar, it is used for energy and a small amount is stored in your muscles and liver. All the rest is turned into a fat called triglycerides that is stored as fat, forms plaques in your arteries and blocks insulin receptors which can cause diabetes.

How to Cook Whole Grains

Whole grains are easy to cook on the stovetop, just as you would cook rice or pasta. I always cook one pound (2½ cups) of whole grains at a time, since they keep well -- refrigerated or frozen. Leftovers can be reheated in a microwave or used in salads. I make my own "instant grains" by packaging ½-1 cup portions in baggies and storing them in the freezer. They take a minute or less to thaw in the microwave.

Emulsifiers May Disrupt Gut Bacteria

A study in mice showed that emulsifiers can disrupt intestinal bacteria to cause inflammation and weight gain (Nature, Feb 25, 2015). Emulsifiers are added to many foods, such as ice cream, salad dressing, pastas, bread and cookies, to prolong shelf life and keep ingredients from separating.

More Fiber from Whole Foods is Better

Our food industry works to bring you more and more ultra-processed foods that have little or no fiber, but there is no debate in the scientific community: you should eat lots of plants that have not had their fiber removed. A review commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) of 185 prospective studies and 58 clinical trials, covering 4600 adults, shows that for every 8-gram/day increase in dietary fiber, there was up to a 31 percent decrease in deaths from all causes, a 30 percent decrease in deaths from heart attacks, 22 percent reduced risk of stroke, and a 16 percent reduced risk of diabetes, colorectal cancer and breast cancer.

Low-Fat Milk is Not More Healthful than Whole Milk

A recent study from a group of highly-respected scientists shows that the fats in milk are unlikely to cause heart attacks and that fermented milk products such as cheese and yogurt may actually help to prevent heart attacks. Most previous studies on milk have depended on self-reporting, which is known to give inaccurate and often biased results. Instead, this study measured dairy fats in the subjects' bloodstreams to prove exactly how much dairy they had consumed.

Eat WHOLE Grains, Not Flour

Whole grains reduce risk for overweight, diabetes and heart attacks, whereas refined foods made from flour increase risk for these conditions. Researchers followed 54,871 Danish adults, aged 50-64, for almost 15 years and found that those who ate a lot of whole grains, particularly rye and oats, had far fewer heart attacks

Can You Eat Too Much Fruit?

Many scientific studies show that eating whole fruit is healthful, even for people who are diabetic. However, this month I learned that some people, especially those who are overweight, prediabetic or diabetic, may be harmed by eating very large amounts of fruit.

Vitamin D Recommendations

Less than six percent of North Americans suffer from vitamin D deficiency, but nearly 20 percent take vitamin D pills. It is true that it is difficult to get adequate levels of vitamin D from sunshine during the winter months, but vitamin D is not a miracle vitamin that treats and prevents all sorts of diseases.

What the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

The gigantic food industry in North America and its lobbyists are happy with the concept that most people are fat just because they eat too many calories. This message relieves them of their responsibility for harm from the typical western diet that consists largely of low-cost, highly-refined "junk" foods that are full of added sugars and have most of the fiber removed.

Convert White Fat Cells into Fat-Burning Brown Fat Cells

In childhood, you have more than 30 billion fat cells in your body and that number remains essentially the same for the rest of your life. You gain weight by filling fat cells with fat and you lose weight by emptying them.

Research on TMAO

A brilliant and very important breakthrough study shows that restricting mammal meat and eggs markedly lowers blood levels of TMAO. Mammal meat and eggs are rich sources of choline, carnitine and lecithin that are converted in your body to a chemical called TMAO that can damage arteries, which can cause plaques to form and later to break off to cause heart attacks and strokes.

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.

Ultra-Processed Foods

In our North American diet, more than 90 percent of the sugar and almost 60 percent of the calories from sugar are consumed in "ultra-processed foods" (BMJ Open, March 9, 2016;6(3)). The U.S. government recommends that you get no more than 10 percent of your calories from added sugars. Yet 71 percent of North American adults take in more than 15 percent of their calories from added sugars. Excess sugar intake leads to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, certain cancers and tooth decay.

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.

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.

Get Calcium from Foods, Not Pills

Osteoporosis or low bone mass affects 55 percent of people over age 50 in the United States, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. A study of 1,064 women followed for 15 years shows that not getting enough calcium is associated with smaller spinal bones and weaker spines. You need an adequate amount of calcium to keep your bones strong, but many people take calcium pills when they should be getting their calcium from foods. Calcium pills have not been shown to strengthen bones and they can have many serious side effects.

Is It Really Whole Grain?

When the label says "Whole Grain Bread", does that mean it's healthful? How can you tell if a food is made from whole grains or refined grains?

Eat More of the Healthful Foods

An unhealthful diet causes more deaths world-wide than any other risk factor, according to the Global Burden of Disease study reported this month. Of the 11 million deaths attributed to dietary factors each year, more deaths were associated with inadequate intakes of healthful foods than with eating too much of harmful foods.

Spirulina, Chlorella and Seaweed

You have probably seen ads telling you that spirulina, chlorella or blue-green algae are wonder foods that "may help increase energy, decrease fatigue, enhance brain function, oxygenate the blood, nourish the nervous system, improve memory and concentration, increase muscle mass, speed healing, protect against pollutants and radiation, purify the blood, relieve kidney stones, and improve over-all health." Should you believe these claims?

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.

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load

When you eat a food, your blood sugar level rises. The food that raises blood sugar the highest is pure table sugar. Glycemic index is a ratio of how high a particular food raises blood sugar in comparison to how high table sugar raises blood sugar levels.

Soluble Fiber Added to Processed Foods May Harm You

A recent study showed that processed soluble fiber added to low-fiber foods led to liver cancers in mice, probably by preventing the liver from clearing bile from the body .

Another Reason Not to Take Calcium Pills

A well-planned study shows that taking calcium pills, both with and without vitamin D, is associated with increased risk for pre-malignant serrated colon polyps.

How Soluble Fiber Promotes Good Gut Bacteria

New research from the University of California-Davis shows how soluble fiber promotes the growth of healthful bacteria in your colon and discourages the growth of harmful bacteria, to improve your immunity and reduce your chances of suffering heart attacks, infections and some cancers.

Hidden Sugars

The average North American takes in 150 to 200 pounds of sugar a year. Most of your sugar intake comes from added sugars in drinks and packaged, frozen and canned foods that you buy in grocery stores or eat in restaurants. More than 75 percent of the packaged foods in your grocery store have added sugar in them. Many of these foods do not taste particularly sweet, so you don't even realize that you are eating sugars.

Why Nuts Won’t Make You Fat

Nuts are a rich source of fat, but many studies have shown that the fat in nuts is absorbed very poorly. This month a study explains why nuts are not fattening.

Lectin-Containing Foods are Good For You

The latest fad diet tells you to try to avoid lectin-rich foods and to buy their products that are supposed to block lectins in the foods that you eat. However, scientific studies show that eating the common foods with high-lectin content is associated with living a long life and avoiding diseases such as heart attacks, certain cancers, and diabetes.

Metformin (Glucophage) for Weight Loss

Metformin, sold under the trade name Glucophage, is used to treat diabetes, but several studies show that it also helps non-diabetics to lose weight by reducing hunger.

Desire for Junk Food is in Your Genes

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors spent all their waking hours scrounging for food and trying to keep from starving to death. They developed a taste for the most calorie-dense foods that satisfied best, such as honey, meats and starchy roots.