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Restricting Calories for Just Five Days a Month May Prolong Life

A new study from the University of Southern California shows that restricting calories just five days a month for three months: • helped people lose weight, • reduced a number of risk factors for cancer, diabetes and heart attacks, and • improved markers for living a longer life and tests for immune function (Cell Metabolism, published online June...

Good News About Nuts and Peanuts

Several recent articles show that eating tree nuts or peanuts with a high-fat or high-sugar meal prevents the expected high rise in blood factors that increase risk for the inflammation that can lead to diabetes, heart attacks or strokes.

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. 

Should You Avoid Gluten?

Twenty-one percent of North Americans are trying to avoid gluten, a component of wheat, when fewer than one percent actually need to do so. If following a gluten-free diet causes people to consume fewer foods made with flour -- such as bread, muffins, cookies and pasta -- they may lose weight and lower their risk for diabetes, even though these benefits have nothing to do with avoiding gluten. However, many people hop on the "gluten-free" bandwagon and consume huge amounts of gluten-free flour products which are just as unhealtful as those made with wheat flour.

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.

Coca Cola Pays to Convince You that Sugared Drinks are Safe

Sugared drinks are associated with increased risk for obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, certain cancers and premature death (J Am Coll Cardiol, 2015;66(14):1615-1624). Yet Coca Cola has given more than 118 million dollars to prestigious health research institutions, athletic groups, disease foundations, cancer and diabetes organizations and university researchers over the last five years. These...

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.

Animal Products Linked to Increased Heart Attack Risk

For more than 60 years we have heard that saturated fat and cholesterol may be the driving forces behind the high rate of heart attacks in North America. A new study shows strong statistical links between eating a lot of high-cholesterol animal products -- eggs, meat, poultry, and dairy -- and risk for heart attacks.

Body Wrapping and Cold Receptors

You go to a body wrapping salon where an attendant measures and weighs you, rubs a cream on your fatty areas and then wraps you in cloth. You feel alternately hot and cold and one hour later, they remove the cloth wrap, measure your waist circumference and show you that you have lost a couple of inches. You are delighted, pay your money and go home. The next day, you are very upset because you measure your waist again and find that your waist circumference has returned to its previous size and that you have lost no weight at all.

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.

Best Breakfast

For many years I have recommended oatmeal as the ideal breakfast food. It is filling, does not cause a high rise in blood sugar and is an excellent source of soluble fiber. You can enhance the flavor and nutritional value of your oatmeal by adding your choice of nuts, raisins or other dried fruits,

Unexplained Weight Loss Can Signal Onset of Dementia

Overweight people who lose weight without dieting after age 65 are at high risk for dementia. Excess weight is a major risk factor for dementia.

Does stress increase your need for vitamins?

Several years ago a major drug company claimed that its vitamin pills helped to relieve stress from the "complications of everyday life" and gave their products names such as "StressTabs." The New York Attorney General forced them to stop their deceptive advertising, but many people still remember and believe this claim.

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.

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.

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

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

A review of 95 different studies involving two million people shows that just two and a half servings of fruits and vegetables per day is associated with a 16 percent reduced risk of heart disease, an 18 percent reduced risk of stroke, a four percent reduced risk of cancer and a 15 percent reduced risk of premature death.

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

Fish Oil and Cod Liver Oil Pills Not Shown to Prevent Heart Attacks

A review of 79 randomized and controlled studies of more than 110,000 men and women, with or without heart disease, shows that omega-3 fats in fish oil or in cod liver oil pills, taken for one to six years, do not prevent heart attacks, strokes or deaths in general. Fish oil pills did lower triglycerides which may be healthful, but they also lowered blood levels of the good HDL cholesterol, which may be harmful.

Add Fiber to Fruit Juice?

A study sponsored by PepsiCo showed that adding extra fiber to regular orange juice markedly reduced the usual high rise in peak blood sugar and insulin concentrations in men who were at high risk for diabetes and heart attacks.

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...

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.

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.

Nuts Associated with Reduced Risk for Diabetes and Weight Gain

Nuts are full of fat, but it appears that eating nuts does not increase risk for obesity or diabetes. Almost 1000 people who did not have diabetes or metabolic syndrome were followed for six years. Those who ate nuts at least twice a week were 32 percent less likely to develop metabolic syndrome than...

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.

Long Total Fasts May Be Harmful

A study from Brazil found that having rats fast for 24 hours on alternate days increased their belly fat and interfered with the ability of insulin to control blood sugar levels. One of the most effective ways to lose weight is "intermittent fasting", but this study suggests that doctors need to be careful about the type of "fasting" they recommend to their patients.

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.

Artificial Sweeteners Can Change Your Gut Bacteria

A group of scientists reviewed existing studies on artificial sweeteners, and recommend additional in-depth research on how artificial sweeteners affect health and disease by altering the bacteria in the colon. Another article reviews studies that show how some artificial sweeteners may cause inflammation.

Cooking and Human Evolution

For years, anthropologists have told us that humans dominate the earth because they learned to make tools that could kill big animals that would give them more food so that they could survive. Dr Richard Wrangham of Harvard thinks they are all wrong. He thinks that man dominates earth because he learned how to cook.

Vitamin B12: One Supplement You May Need

In the last year, I have seen two experienced cyclists who suffered recurrent numbness and tingling of their hands when they rode long distances. Both had low blood levels of vitamin B12 and one was cured by taking 1000 mcg per day of vitamin B12 pills, the other by eating fish.