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Overnight Fasting

Fasting can help people lose weight and slow the diseases being overweight causes (Obesity, Feb 2018;26(2):254-268). For several years I have been recommending the various types of intermittent fasting, but perhaps the easiest way to use fasting for weight loss and weight control is just to eat during the daytime and avoid eating at night.

Major Alcohol Study Cancelled for Conflict of Interest

The National Institutes of Health cancelled and withdrew funds for a prospective study on how drinking alcohol affects heart attack risk because it was to be largely funded by the alcohol industry itself, and for "concerns about the study design that cast doubt on its ultimate credibility."

Ketogenic Diets

Ketogenic diets are controversial popular diets that can temporarily help you to lose weight by restricting carbohydrates. A keto diet usually restricts carbohydrates that are absorbed only as sugars, and lets you eat lots of fat and moderate amounts of protein.

Cheese, Yogurt or Milk?

Much controversy still exists over whether dairy products are healthful or harmful. However, the recent literature shows that milk is a high-sugar drink, and accumulating evidence over the last few years shows that fermented dairy products such as cheese and plain yogurt, which humans have made for more than 8000 years, may be far more healthful than milk.

Long Fasts May Increase Diabetes Risk

At the European Society of Endocrinology meeting in Barcelona (May 20, 2018), a study was presented that found that three months of alternating 24-hours of fasting on one day and eating unrestricted food on the next day caused rats to eat less total food and lose total body fat, but the rats developed signs of becoming diabetic.

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.

Why Intermittent Fasting Works

Intermittent fasting works because it causes repeated "flipping of the metabolic switch." After you have fasted for about 12 hours, you start to lose body fat because your body is forced to change temporarily from its main energy source, glucose (sugar) to fat from the fat stored in your body, and using these fatty acids that are converted to energy to produce ketones that are also used for energy.

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.

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.

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.

Artificial Sweeteners, Obesity and Diabetes

Virtually all scientists agree that North Americans need to reduce their intake of sugar, but their views on artificial sweeteners are not as clear. Increasing evidence is showing that artificial sweeteners are not benign substitutes for sugar. In a new study, people who took sucralose (an artificial sweetener) for just one week developed signs of insulin resistance and diabetes.

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.

Fiber Helps to Prevent and Treat Obesity and Diabetes

More than 70 percent of North American adults are overweight and almost 50 percent will become diabetic. A new study from China shows that eating more fiber-containing foods encourages growth of bacteria in your colon that can lower high blood sugar levels to normal.

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.

Eat Whole Foods, Not Processed Foods, to Lose Weight

Overweight people who eat mostly whole foods rather than processed foods can lose weight without counting calories or restricting portion sizes. A new study from Stanford showed that restricting processed foods, particularly added sugars and other refined carbohydrates, is more important for weight loss than going low-carb or low-fat.

Cheese and Yogurt May Help to Prevent Fractures

Most doctors tell patients suffering from osteoporosis to increase their intake of calcium, but the scientific literature shows that calcium pills do not help to prevent or treat bone fractures. This implies that you should get your calcium from foods rich in that mineral. A review of the scientific literature found 18 articles following 363,557 participants for 3 to 23 years showing that yogurt and cheese, but not milk or cream, are associated with decreased risk for hip fractures.

Dietary Changes Lecture Slides

This video contains slides from Dr. Gabe Mirkin's 2018 lecture on Dietary Changes to Help You Lose Weight and Prevent Heart Attacks, Diabetes and Cancers    

How Fiber Helps to Prevent Disease

We have known for a long time that high-fiber foods such as vegetables, fruits and seeds are associated with lower risk for heart attacks, strokes, many cancers, obesity, type 2 diabetes, dementia and other diseases. Recent studies on gut bacteria are helping to explain why fiber-rich foods are beneficial.

Calcium and Vitamin D Pills Do Not Prevent Fractures

A review of 33 studies shows that calcium and vitamin D pills do not prevent fractures, regardless of dose. An editorial in the same issue of JAMA states that the evidence is so overwhelming that extra calcium does not prevent fractures that we have to ask ourselves why these products are still so widely used.

Latest on Eggs

Researchers from Denmark performed a detailed survey of studies published between 2005 and 2015 on the associations between egg consumption, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.. They concluded that "up to seven eggs per week can safely be consumed, but in patients with established cardiovascular diseases or type 2 diabetes, only with special emphasis on a prudent diet and proper medical treatment."

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.

Processed Meats and Cancer Risk

The World Cancer Research Fund International Continuous Update Project has released its recent findings from their review of about 400 studies. They found that the risk for colorectal cancer increases by 12 percent for every 100 grams per day of processed meat or red meat.

Fried vs Unfried Potatoes

A study of 4400 North American men and women, ages 45 to 79, followed for eight years, showed that those who ate fried potatoes two or more times a week were at increased risk for dying during the study period, compared to those who ate fried potatoes occasionally. Those who ate potatoes that were not fried had no increased risk of death.

Obesity Epidemic Now Worldwide

The rate of obesity worldwide has doubled in 73 countries since 1980. Today 30 percent of North Americans and 10 percent of the world's population are obese, an estimated 604 million obese adults and 108 million obese children. A recent article suggests that this world-wide increase in obesity is driven by the huge companies that make processed foods, sugared drinks and refined carbohydrates, and the extensive advertising they do for their products.

High Dose Vitamins Associated with Increased Risk for Lung Cancer

Vitamins B6 and B12 have been promoted by the supplement industry for many years, touting benefits such as increased energy and higher metabolism. A new study suggests that these high-dose vitamin supplements are associated with increased risk for lung cancer in men, particularly in smokers.

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.

Artificial Sweeteners

Several papers have raised concerns about the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners. In one study, researchers showed that a sweeter-tasting, lower-calorie drink caused people to eat more food, to have higher blood sugar levels and to be more likely to gain weight and become diabetic than a less-sweet, higher-calorie drink.

Added Sugars: Labels Can Deceive

Sugar added to food affects you differently than sugars in whole fruits and vegetables. Clinical trials in humans and population studies show that sugar added to foods increases risk for diabetes and heart attacks, while sugar in whole fruits does not.

Weight Gain with Sugar Plus Meat

If you take a sugared drink while eating meat, the animal protein reduces your ability to burn off the calories from sugar by more than a third. In this elegant new study, 27 healthy-weight adults spent two full days in a sealed "metabolic room" that measured how many calories their bodies burned each minute by tracking their intake of oxygen and outflow of carbon dioxide and measuring calories lost in their urine.

Grass-fed vs Corn-fed Meat

Nobody has presented good evidence that eating meat from grass-fed animals is more healthful than the meat from corn-fed animals. The main health arguments for eating grass-fed meat are its lower fat content and higher content of omega-3 fatty acids.