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Will Gluten-Free Make You Feel Better?

Gluten is a group of proteins found in wheat, rye and barley that causes about two percent of North Americans to become sick: those with celiac disease or gluten allergies. In spite of all its bad publicity from authors of popular diet books, gluten may actually offer health benefits to the remainder of the population.

Check Those Fish Oil Pills

Fish oil pills are among the most unstable supplements on the market because the oil oxidizes quickly when exposed to oxygen. Fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids that are unusually susceptible to being oxidized to products that can be harmful.

New Dietary Guidelines

the Dietary Guidelines issued in January 2016 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services recommend * restricting sugar, salt, saturated fat, and trans fats, and eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, and low-fat foods. The recommendation to eat lean meat has caused the most criticism by scientists.

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.

Good Fats in Nuts

Nuts are a rich source of fat, but the fat in nuts is absorbed very poorly (Am J Clin Nutr, Jan, 2015;101(1):25-33). For example, the fat in almonds is located inside the cells of the almond kernel. Even after prolonged chewing, most of the almond cells remained intact and the fat is still inside the cells. Humans lack the enzymes to break down these cell walls. You have to liberate fat from inside cells to absorb it into your body.

Whole Milk or Skim? Cheese and Yogurt are Better

All types of milk and milk products are high in sugar, unless the milk is fermented to make yogurt or cheese. Skim milk may be more harmful to your health than whole milk because skim milk may have higher levels of a sugar called galactose that causes inflammation.

The Saturated Fat Debate

Have recent headlines made you believe that you can eat unlimited amounts of saturated fat in red meat and dairy products? I hope not. A recent study from Harvard School of Public Health shows that when people replace five percent of calories from saturated fats with the same amount of calories from:polyunsaturated fats, they gain a 25 percent reduction in heart disease

Calcium Pills Do Not Prevent Fractures

In light of the overwhelming evidence that extra dietary calcium does not prevent fractures, it is very puzzling that many medical and public health organizations still recommend extra calcium

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...

Auto-Immune Diseases and Gut Bacteria

Lifestyle changes that affect gut bacteria may help to prevent and treat auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. More than 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases that look just like a person has an infection because laboratory tests show that a person has an over-active immunity that is trying to kill some germ.

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.

Why I STILL Restrict Meat, Eggs and Milk

TMAO May Explain the Risk in Eating Red Meat, Eggs or Milk. Red meat, eggs and milk contain lecithin, and lecithin is broken down into another chemical called choline. Your intestinal bacteria use choline as a source for their energy and then release a breakdown product called TMAO (trimethylamine oxide).

Diet Shown to Reduce Risk for Dementia

A study from Rush Medical School in Chicago shows that a special diet can reduce the risk for Alzheimer's disease by 53 percent in those who follow the diet rigorously, and by 35 percent in those who follow it and cheat some of the time.

Big Sugar Uses Big Tobacco Tactics

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposes that, to reduce heart disease, all foods with added sugar have labels listing the amounts of added sugar and recommended restriction levels. The proposed rule sets the intake of added sugar for packaged food and beverages at no more than 200 calories a day, or 10 percent of the 2,000-calorie diet generally used for nutrition guidance.

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...

Coffee Guidelines

The European Food Safety Authority has just released a 120-page report reviewing the health benefits and risks of coffee and advises against drinking more than four cups of coffee per day. The U.S 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommends close to the same limit.

Dietary Recommendations Opposed by Industry

Corporate interests from the meat and sugar industries are actively disputing dietary recommendations that could help prolong the duration and enhance the quality of the lives of many North Americans.

Fruits are Healthful Despite Sugar Content

Sugar added to foods increases risk for diabetes and heart attacks, while sugar in whole fruits does not. People who eat lots of fruits and vegetables are at reduced risk for heart attacks and are least likely to die prematurely

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.

Stevia May Affect Gut Bacteria

Amid growing concerns about artificial sweeteners, many of my readers asked whether stevia can also change gut bacteria. Stevia is a sugar substitute extracted from the leaves of a plant, Stevia rebaudiana, and is almost 200 times sweeter than regular table sugar. In 2008, the FDA declared that stevia was safe in foods and beverages.

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.

No Simple Cure for Obesity

More than 70 percent of North American adults are overweight, which increases risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and premature death. A review of 45 trials of 11 weight loss programs (Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, HMR [Health Management Resources], Medifast, OPTIFAST, Atkins, The Biggest Loser Club, eDiets, Lose It! and SlimFast) showed that most had no good long-

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.

Take Vitamin D Pills Only If You Have a Deficiency

Doses of vitamin D greater than 4,000 IUs increase risk for kidney stones, calcification of blood vessels and even the very cardiovascular disease you were seeking to prevent. The dose of vitamin D recommended by the National Academy of Sciences is 600 international units daily for those up to 70 years of age , and 800 IU for those over 71.

Sugar-Added Foods Increase Diabetes Risk

Sugar-added to foods, but not in whole fruits, increases risk for diabetes, heart attack and premature death, according to a new summary of animal and human studies, clinical trials in humans and epidemiological human population studies (Mayo Clinic Proceedings, published online January 29, 2015). The report shows that adding sugar to foods and processing...

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.

How Red Meat May Increase Risk for Cancer

This week, Dr. Ajit Varki of the University of California at San Diego showed for the first time that feeding genetically-engineered mice a sugar called Neu5Gc, found in red meat, caused them to produce anti-Neu5Gc antibodies that caused spontaneous cancers (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online Dec. 29, 2014). Several previous studies...

Dangers of Processed Foods

Many processed foods are full of sugar and salt that raise blood pressure, increasing risk for heart attacks, strokes, and premature death. Most dietary salt does not come from the salt shaker and most dietary sugar does not come from the sugar bowl.

Weight Loss with Intermittent Fasting

Eating regular meals five days a week and markedly reducing calories for the other two days may be the best way to lose weight and keep it off. This approach to weight loss is called "intermittent fasting." We have some good data on how effective this diet regimen is for animals, but we are just starting to see the results of research on humans. Most of the studies on humans do not ask participants to avoid all food on their "fast" days.

Sodas with Sugar May Age Cells

Researchers led by Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for telomere-related discoveries, measured the telomeres in white blood cells of 5,309 participants, ages 20 to 65, with no history of diabetes or heart attacks. They found that people who drink sugared sodas daily have shorter telomeres than those who drink fruit juices or artificially sweetened drinks