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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

Should You Eat Breakfast?

Skipping breakfast will not help you lose weight or cause you to gain weight. This month's issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition contains three studies on breakfast. One study shows that whether you eat breakfast or not doesn't affect your weight at all (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014;100:507-13). Three hundred volunteers...

Why Whole Grains are Healthful

A popular book, Grain Brain, claims that carbohydrates are "destroying your brain". He says that "even healthy ones like whole grains can cause dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, depression, and much more". A similar book, Wheat Belly, makes many of the same claims. Most of these authors' arguments against eating carbohydrates are based on data about refined carbohydrates and excess calories.

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.

Is Honey More Healthful than Sugar?

Some people believe that honey is more healthful than sugar. They tell us that honey is a quicker source of energy and a rich source of minerals, and is less fattening. All of these claims are untrue. As far as your body is concerned, there is no difference between honey and table sugar.

How to Pick a Breakfast Cereal

The most healthful cereals are made with whole grains and not much else. If you're trying to lose weight, control cholesterol or diabetes, or just need a lot of energy, your best bet is a hot cooked cereal of whole grains, such as oatmeal; or barley, brown rice or wheat berries cooked and served like oatmeal

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?

Blood-Type Diets Debunked

Many years ago I criticized a very popular but ridiculous book that said people should follow different diets depending on their blood types. Now, finally, a study of 1,455 mostly young and healthy adults shows that there is no relation whatever between blood type and diet-linked heart attack risk indicators such as...

Garcinia Cambogia: Questionable Safety of Weight Loss Supplements

The widely-advertised supplement Garcinia cambogia has not been shown to help people lose weight and keep it off, and may not even be safe. The main ingredient is extracted from the rusty-red fruit of a small tree that grows in Asia.

Ignore Grain Brain and Wheat Belly: Eat WHOLE Grains

Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis and Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter are two best-selling books that tell you to avoid wheat and other grains. Dr Davis claims that wheat makes you fat and causes many diseases, and by eliminating wheat you will lose weight and prevent these diseases. Actually, he proposes a low-carbohydrate diet that may cause you to lose weight, but he does not have data to show that it helps you keep that weight off over time. He and Dr. Perlmutter both claim that avoiding wheat cures diseases, but they have no data to support these wild claims . . .

Chewing Raises Blood Sugar Response to Food

Chewing rice 30 times before swallowing it raised blood sugar much higher than chewing rice 15 times.

Amphetamines Found in Supplements

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientists tested 21 "all natural" supplements claiming to help weight loss, increase energy and stabilize mood, and found that nine of them contained manufactured amphetamines (Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, November 2013). Manufactured amphetamines are found nowhere in nature and therefore cannot be "natural". It is incredible...

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...

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.

Why You Feel Sleepy After Eating

If you feel sleepy after eating, particularly after sweets or bakery products, you are normal. Eating sugary foods causes your brain to make large amounts of the neurotransmitter, serotonin, that makes people fall asleep naturally at night.

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.

Acrylamide and Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs)

Acrylamide belongs to a class of chemicals that form advanced glycation end products, also known by their first letters as AGEs. They are a group of molecules that are formed when sugar attaches on protein when starchy foods such as potatoes and grains are cooked in the absence of water at very high temperatures.

Acid or Alkaline?

Advertisements for products such as coral calcium or alkaline water claim that they will neutralize acid in your bloodstream, but eating calcium or drinking alkaline water does not affect blood acidity. You should not believe that it matters whether foods are acidic or alkaline, because no foods change the acidity of anything in your...

Phytochemicals

Phytochemicals are substances found in plants that have been identified by researchers as beneficial to humans. We have identified only a few of the thousands of phytochemicals, and we do not fully understand how they work. Here are a few that have been linked to prevention of specific diseases. Phytochemicals That Help to Prevent Cancer: peppers contain...

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?

WHOLE Grains are Better than Any Flour

When grains are processed into flour or cereals, the primary concern is loss of nutrients. This is explained in report #N178, Why Flour is Like Sugar. However, if you grind your own grains or use products that are made from the whole grain without discarding anything, you get all or most of the nutrients of the original grain. But grains that have been broken apart in any way will be digested more quickly. That's a big disadvantage for diabetics and dieters.

What Makes a Healthful Recipe?

All of my healthful recipes fit into the Modified DASH Diet that Dr. Mirkin recommends for total health (to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, control weight and prevent or control diabetes): Up to 8 servings of WHOLE grains (serving size is 1/2 cup) At least 5 Vegetables At least 5 Fruits Up to 3 servings of fat free...

Soluble and Insoluble Fiber

Fiber is the indigestible structural material of plants that is found in all fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and other seeds. Before food can be absorbed from your intestines into your bloodstream, it must be broken down into basic building blocks. Since you lack the intestinal enzymes to break down fiber into its building blocks of basic sugars, you do not absorb fiber in your upper intestines. Fiber passes through your intestines into your colon where soluble and insoluble fiber are treated differently by the bacteria in your colon.

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.