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Meat Is Associated with Heart Attacks and Some Types of Cancer

Don't believe the recent headlines suggesting that people can continue to eat their usual amounts of meat without suffering any increase in risk for illness or premature death.

Anti-Inflammatory and Pro-Inflammatory Foods

Fruits and vegetables contain polyphenols that help to protect you from chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation increases risk for certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

Fiber, a True Superfood

Hundreds of studies done in the last 15 years have shown how your microbiome (gut bacteria) helps you to retain your health, and that what you eat determines the ratio of healthful to harmful types of bacteria in your colon. These bacteria govern your immune system that determines, to a large degree, what diseases you will develop and how long you will live.

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.

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.

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.

Should You Take Probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that can live in your body and help to keep you healthy. Probiotics are available in live-culture fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir (a probiotic milk drink), buttermilk, kombucha (fermented tea), tempeh, miso and natto (fermented soybean products), kimchi, sauerkraut, some pickles, and some fermented cheeses.

Low Vitamin B12 May Increase Risk for Bleeding Strokes

A surprising study from the UK shows that vegetarians and pescatarians (those who eat fish but not meat) appear to be at increased risk for suffering bleeding strokes, even though they are at reduced risk for heart attacks and are not at increased risk for clotting strokes.

Keto Diets Increase Risk for Fatty Liver

The various ketogenic diets that severely restrict all carbohydrates and replace them mostly with fats are associated with increased risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD. NAFLD can lead to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, liver cancer and other cancers.

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.

Even Occasional Meat May Be Harmful

Strong data associate eating red and processed meats regularly with increased risk for heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, some types of cancers and other diseases, but until now we had no good data to show whether eating small amounts of meat may be harmful. However, this month researchers published a study on 96,000 Seventh-day Adventists which suggests that even small amounts of meat increase risk of death, particularly from heart attacks.

Fried and Browned Foods Linked to Shorter Lives

A study of more than 150,000 older U.S. veterans showed that eating fried foods is associated with increased risk for heart attacks (Clinical Nutrition, July 05, 2019). Another study of almost 107,000 women, ages 50-79, followed for an average 18 years, found that one serving or more of fried chicken a week was associated with a 13 percent higher risk of death during the study period, and a serving of fried fish or shellfish per week was associated with a seven percent greater risk of death.

Why We Use Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting does not mean complete avoidance of foods and drinks. Instead, you markedly reduce your intake of food during certain periods. The benefits of intermittent fasting can be seen as long as you significantly reduce your total caloric intake during those periods.

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.

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).

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.

How Eating Less May Prolong Life

Restricting calories, even in non-obese people, reduces inflammation, helps to prevent cancers and increases autophagy. Autophagy or cellular recycling extends the lives of many different species. Autophagy means "self-eating." When a cell dies, the body has a quick way to break down the dead cell’s parts (protein-making, power-generating and transport systems) into small molecules that can be reassembled to be used for making new cell parts.

Red Meat, Neu5Gc and Risk for Cancer

This year, researchers have identified the CMAH gene in meat, dairy, and even caviar from some fish that produces a sugar-protein called Neu5Gc, which may explain the association between eating red meat and increased risk for certain cancers. We do not have an explanation for the association between eating meat from mammals and various diseases in humans, but a leading theory was offered by Ajit Varki in 1982 when he discovered a sugar-protein on the surface of all cell membranes in mammals except humans. He called this sugar-protein Neu5Gc.

Dangers of Storing Fat in Your Belly

In the last few months, several articles have shown that even if you are not overweight, having excess fat in your belly increases your risk for heart attacks, diabetes and inflammation.

Heart Attacks Again Linked to Red Meat

A prospective study from nine European countries (European Heart Journal Trial) followed for 12.6 years showed that heart attacks are strongly associated with eating mammal meat and processed meats. Many previous studies have shown that a vegetarian diet is associated with reduced heart attack risk.

Alcohol Has No Health Benefits

A study from New Zealand showed that 30 per cent of alcohol–related deaths were from cancer, and 60 per cent of those deaths were from breast cancer. One third of these deaths were associated with an average of fewer than two drinks a day.

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 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.

Do You Need Vitamin D Pills?

North Americans spent more than $936 million on vitamin D pills in 2017, doctors ordered more than 10 million laboratory tests for vitamin D for Medicare patients at a cost of $365 million in 2016, and 25 percent of older adults take vitamin D supplements. A Kaiser Health News investigation recently reported that the man most responsible for the obsession with vitamin D pills, Boston endocrinologist Michael Holick, has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by supplement and drug manufacturers, the indoor-tanning industry and commercial laboratories that run blood tests for vitamin D.

Big Sugar Paid Harvard to Say that Sugar is Healthful

My faith in several of my Harvard mentors during the 1950s and 1960s has been shattered by an article that appeared this week in JAMA Internal Medicine (September 12, 2016). Cristin E. Kearns, a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF, discovered letters in the archives at Harvard, the University of Illinois and other libraries showing that...

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 . . .

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.

Drink Water Instead of Sweetened Drinks

The Nurses' Health study and The Health Professional's Follow-Up study, two of the largest studies on the subject, show that sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with increased risk for heart attacks, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, and the more sugar-sweetened beverages you take in, the more likely you are to suffer from these diseases

Latest Research on TMAO

A brilliant and very important breakthrough study shows that restricting mammal meat and eggs markedly lowers blood levels of TMAO. Mammal meat and eggs are rich sources of choline, carnitine and lecithin that are converted in your body to a chemical called TMAO that can damage arteries, which can cause plaques to form and later to break off to cause heart attacks and strokes.

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,