You should eat lots of unrefined whole grains because they promote the growth of healthful colon bacteria that help to prevent death and heart disease, particularly if you are overweight or have high blood sugar levels. A study from Iran found that people who ate lots of refined grains were at increased risk for suffering blocked arteries leading to the heart, while those who ate more whole grains were at reduced risk.
Staying hydrated may slow the aging process. NIH researchers followed 11,255 adults for 30 years and found that compared to those who didn't drink enough fluids, those who stayed well-hydrated aged more slowly, lived longer, and were far less likely to develop chronic diseases such as those of the heart, lungs and kidneys.
A group of 54 very obese children, 5 to 17 year of age, were placed on a standard weight loss diet plus either a butyrate supplement or a placebo for six months. The butyrate group took sodium butyrate capsules, 20 mg/kg body weight per day, up to a maximum of 800 mg per day for six months. Those given butyrate lost significantly more weight than those in the placebo group.
Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found that people with high blood levels of a chemical called phenylacetylglutamine (PAG) are at high risk for heart failure that affects more than 6.2 million North Americans. PAG is formed primarily in the colon where bacteria there make it from the amino acid phenylalanine that is found in meat and other rich sources of protein. The higher the blood level of PAG, the more severe the heart failure risk.
A study from the Cleveland Clinic and Tufts University found a 22 percent greater risk for heart disease for every 1.1 serving of meat per day (3.3 oz. cooked lean meat). This study followed more than 4,000 men and women older than 65 for an average of 12.5 years, and the increased heart attack risk was directly related to blood levels of TMAO and its precursors.
A study of 4125 patients, 65 years or older, followed for an average of almost 11 years, found that higher total fiber intake from grains, fruits and vegetables was associated with lower inflammation rates.. The reduction in markers of inflammation improved even more in patients who ate an additional five grams per day of fiber from grains.
Everyone agrees that movement and exercise help to slow down the inevitable loss of bone with aging that increases risk for fractures. Most studies show that maintaining normal levels of vitamin D and getting your calcium from food also help to prevent fractures, but almost all studies show that calcium pills by themselves do not help to prevent osteoporosis or fractures.
Some foods ("pro-inflammatory") turn on your immune system to cause these cells and proteins to attack and damage your own normal cells, while other foods ("anti-inflammatory") dampen down this response to protect your cells from damage from an overactive immune system. Pro-inflammatory foods are associated with many diseases, and anti-inflammatory foods can help to prevent them. The more pro-inflammatory foods that you eat, the greater your chances of developing chronic inflammation and the diseases it causes.
Researchers followed more than 934,000 cancer-free people for 34 years, during which more than 135,000 died from cancer. Those who drank more than two sugar-sweetened beverages per day were at increased risk for death from 20 different cancers. The data showed that sugared drinks are associated with a high rate of obesity which, by itself, is associated with increased risk for cancer and death from cancer.
A recent study on mice helps us understand how eating sugar can cause diabetes and obesity. Eating excess sugar can cause loss of protective T Helper cells (TH17 cells), to allow overgrowth of harmful bacteria that damage the linings of your gut and increase absorption of calories and fat when you don't need them. Eliminating sugar from the mice's high-fat diet protected them from developing obesity and metabolic syndrome.
One study followed more than 200,000 U.S. men and women for up to 28 years and found that eating almost any type of ultra-processed food was associated with increased risk for colorectal cancer in men, but not in women Men were at significantly higher risk for colon cancer if they ate a lot of meat and sugar-sweetened beverages. Ultra-processed foods were also associated with increased risk for weight gain.
Most exercise water bottles are made from plastic, and about 10 percent of them contain the chemical BPA, a highly suspected carcinogen and hormone blocker. The Food and Drug Administration plans to decide by October 31, 2022 whether to ban BPA from most containers and utensils that come in contact with food. They have already banned BPA from baby bottles. “Most Americans get 5,000 times more BPA in their daily diet than the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) expert panel says is safe."
In April 2022, the Environmental Defense Fund sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking them to again consider removing BPA (bisphenol A) from can liners, plastic bottles and anything else that comes in contact with, and can leach into, foods and beverages. They quoted extensive research showing how harmful BPA may really be and stated that there is no longer a reasonable certainty of safety. BPA is a chemical that has been used to make certain plastics used for can liners and other packaging of foods and drinks since 1950, that can potentially harm you.
A study from Israel found that two artificial sweeteners, saccharin and sucralose, significantly raised blood sugar levels in healthy adults. Transferring their colon bacteria to mice caused the mice to suffer the same elevations in blood sugar. Artificial sweeteners can harm you by altering the bacteria in your colon (Nutrition Today, May 6, 2021;56(3):105-113). Some artificial sweeteners may cause inflammation, a condition in which your own immune system, which is supposed to kill invading germs, stays active all the time to attack you
A new study found that short-term high protein diets may hinder muscle endurance and short-term high carbohydrate diets may increase endurance. This study found that what elite long-distance runners ate determined which types of bacteria lived in their colons. A diet high in fruits and vegetables (high-carbohydrates) was associated with improved time-trial runs in highly trained competitive runners by 6.5 percent.
A 36-week study from Stanford University compared the benefits of two diets -- a Mediterranean diet and a ketogenic diet -- for treating 33 individuals with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Both diets were based on eating lots of non-starchy foods that do not cause a high rise in blood sugar, and avoiding foods that cause a high rise in blood sugar such as sugar-added foods or drinks and foods made from flour (ground-up whole grains).
A study of 360,600 British adults found that high levels of exercise will not protect you from the life-shortening effects of an unhealthful diet. People who ate an unhealthful diet and exercised vigorously every day still were at increased risk for dying from heart disease, cancer, or any cause.
Whenever you read about a study on health benefits from a specific food or food group, you can bet that there is a food industry organization or lobbying group involved in funding the study, and in promoting favorable results. The avocado is a perfect example. When popular weight loss diets were focusing on cutting back on fats, avocados got a bad reputation because they are a concentrated source of fat and are high in calories compared to most other vegetables and fruits.
A study from the Netherlands suggests that vegetarian and vegan diets may not be preferred for older adults because they are often deficient in protein, and that can increase the rate of muscle loss with aging. This muscle loss increases risk for falls, heart attacks, heart failure and premature death.
Last year, North Americans spent more than 30 billion dollars on dietary supplements, and 31 percent of adults reported taking daily multivitamins or vitamin-mineral supplements. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reviewed 84 studies testing vitamin-mineral supplements in almost 700,000 people, and found "insufficient evidence" of any benefits that could extend one's life.
Researchers followed more than 3500 Japanese adults, 40-64 years of age, for 20 years and found that those who ate lots of dietary fiber were at reduced risk for developing dementia. The study found that those who ate the most soluble fiber had the lowest incidence of dementia.
On May 13, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved tirzepatide (Mounjaro), from Lilly, for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The drug has not been approved for weight loss, but so far studies show that tirzepatide with a weight loss diet causes significant weight loss in diabetics and sent 50 percent of them into remission as long as they kept taking the drug. The most recent study found that 63 percent of 2,539 obese, non-diabetic adults who were put on a weight loss diet and received tirzepatide once a week achieved at least 20 percent body weight reduction in 72 weeks.
More than 80 million North Americans suffer from Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), and many do not know that they have it because most people with a fatty liver have normal liver function blood tests in the early stages of the disease. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinology, supported by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, has just issued new guidelines for diagnosing and treating NAFLD.
A study from the Cleveland Clinic found that people with mild to moderate calcification of their aortic valves who took calcium pills were at double risk for dying from heart disease and three times more likely to need surgery to replace their heart valve than the participants who did not take calcium pills.
Researchers followed 27,078 Finnish men for 31 years and found that the more dietary cholesterol and eggs a person ate, the greater the premature total death rate and death from heart attacks. They reviewed 41 other prospective studies and found the same association between dietary egg and cholesterol intake and increased total and heart attack death rates. These results are similar to those of the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study followed 521,120 U.S. adults, average age 62.2 years, for an average of 16 years and found that eating half an egg per day was associated with increased risk for death from heart attacks, cancer, and all causes
The World Heart Federation reports that even small amounts of alcohol increase heart attack risk. Taking one drink a day does not help to prevent heart attacks and appears to increase risk for heart attacks. A study of 371,463 individuals found that no amount of alcohol helps prevent heart disease, even low amounts of alcohol increase heart attack risk, and the more you drink, the greater your chance of suffering a heart attack.
Researchers followed 3700 adults, ages 40 to 64, for up to 20 years and found that those who ate the most fiber were 25 percent less likely to suffer dementia in later life than those who ate the least . The more fiber a person ate, the less likely they were to develop dementia. Dietary fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, nuts and other seeds.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend the routine use of vitamin or mineral pills to prevent chronic diseases (USPSTF Bulletin, May 4, 2021). Heart disease is the leading causes of death in the U.S. today, but taking vitamin pills has not been shown to prevent heart disease, and neither the American Heart Association nor the American College of Cardiology recommend them.
Vegan diets are recommended by many researchers and doctors because they may help to prevent heart attacks and some cancers, but a diet that excludes all animal products can increase risk for deficiencies in dietary protein and vitamin B12. Older people in particular can be harmed by vegan diets because these deficiencies may increase their chances of suffering from muscle weakness, osteoporosis, lack of coordination, falls and broken bones.
Studies on meat from mammals and processed meats continue to show increased risk for heart attacks and certain cancers. The largest review ever of the prospective studies, including thirteen cohort studies involving over 1.4 million people and followed for up to 30 years, found that: *Each 50 g/day higher intake of processed meat (e.g. bacon, ham, and sausages) increased the risk of coronary heart disease by 18 percent