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Vitamin B12: One Pill You May Need

If you suffer from daytime sleepiness, forgetfulness, confusion, tiredness or muscle weakness, I recommend that you get a blood test for vitamin B12 deficiency, since nerve damage from lack of B12 is not always reversible.

Impossible Burgers and Beyond Meat: Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Two companies -- Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat -- dominate the market for plant-based burgers that taste like meat. A major concern is that these products have not been tested for long-term safety.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Prebiotics and Probiotics in Foods or Supplements

More than 100 trillion bacteria live in your colon. Some are healthful, while others can be harmful. Your healthful bacteria eat the same foods that you do and stay in your colon.

High Doses of Water-Soluble Vitamins May Be Harmful

It is well-known that taking large doses of the fat-soluble vitamins -- A, D, E and K -- can harm you. You may also be harmed by large doses of the water-soluble B vitamins or vitamin C.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Convert White Fat Cells into Fat-Burning Brown Fat Cells

In childhood, you have more than 30 billion fat cells in your body and that number remains essentially the same for the rest of your life. You gain weight by filling fat cells with fat and you lose weight by emptying them.

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

Soluble Fiber Added to Processed Foods May Harm You

A recent study showed that processed soluble fiber added to low-fiber foods led to liver cancers in mice, probably by preventing the liver from clearing bile from the body .

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.

How Gut Bacteria Affect Weight

Since bacteria in your colon eat the same food that you do, what you eat determines which types of bacteria thrive in your colon. These bacteria are a prime driver of how high your blood sugar rises after meals and how many calories you absorb from the food you eat.

Processed Foods Linked to Heart Disease

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that for every five percent increase in calories from ultra-processed foods, there is increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. Taking in 70 percent of calories from processed foods doubles heart attack risk factors.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Do You Need Vitamin Pills?

North Americans almost never suffer from vitamin deficiencies, except for vitamin D, yet more than 50 percent of the population spends more than 30 billion dollars each year for vitamin pills and other nutritional supplements that they do not need. Forty-five percent of those who take vitamin pills believe that they will improve their health, but we have no good evidence that they do.

Artificial Sweeteners Alter Gut Bacteria

Many research papers have associated artificial sweeteners with increased risk for cancer, weight gain and diabetes, but nobody yet has proven that artificial sweeteners cause these conditions.

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.

Eat More of the Healthful Foods

An unhealthful diet causes more deaths world-wide than any other risk factor, according to the Global Burden of Disease study reported this month. Of the 11 million deaths attributed to dietary factors each year, more deaths were associated with inadequate intakes of healthful foods than with eating too much of harmful foods.

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.

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).