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Do Vegetarians Live Longer?

Three recent large studies provide more support for a primarily plant-based diet. Two of the studies compared dietary protein from plants and animals and the third one compared dietary fats from plant or animal sources.

How Excess Salt Affects You

The common belief is that increasing salt intake increases urination and the more you urinate, the more fluid you have to drink to replace the fluid that you have lost. However, in 2011, these researchers studied Russian cosmonauts in a human space flight simulation program in Moscow, and were astonished to find that the cosmonauts actually drank less water when their daily salt intake was doubled.

Processed Meats and Cancer Risk

The World Cancer Research Fund International Continuous Update Project has released its recent findings from their review of about 400 studies. They found that the risk for colorectal cancer increases by 12 percent for every 100 grams per day of processed meat or red meat.

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.

Why Excess Weight Kills

Of the many factors causing more than 40 percent of Americans to die of heart attacks and 35 percent to become diabetic, the strongest are eating too much and exercising too little. Being Fat Makes You Even Fatter Having diabetes is one of the strongest risk factors for heart attacks and premature death. Before insulin can...

Get Calcium from Foods, Not Pills

Osteoporosis or low bone mass affects 55 percent of people over age 50 in the United States, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. A study of 1,064 women followed for 15 years shows that not getting enough calcium is associated with smaller spinal bones and weaker spines. You need an adequate amount of calcium to keep your bones strong, but many people take calcium pills when they should be getting their calcium from foods. Calcium pills have not been shown to strengthen bones and they can have many serious side effects.

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 .

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.

Cheese and Yogurt May Help to Prevent Fractures

Most doctors tell patients suffering from osteoporosis to increase their intake of calcium, but the scientific literature shows that calcium pills do not help to prevent or treat bone fractures. This implies that you should get your calcium from foods rich in that mineral. A review of the scientific literature found 18 articles following 363,557 participants for 3 to 23 years showing that yogurt and cheese, but not milk or cream, are associated with decreased risk for hip fractures.

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.

Overnight Fasting

Fasting can help people lose weight and slow the diseases being overweight causes (Obesity, Feb 2018;26(2):254-268). For several years I have been recommending the various types of intermittent fasting, but perhaps the easiest way to use fasting for weight loss and weight control is just to eat during the daytime and avoid eating at night.

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...

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.

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.

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.

Fiber Wins Again

Two new studies add to the huge body of research showing that perhaps the most important dietary recommendation is to eat lots of fiber, which is found in plants. You keep on gaining health benefits until you reach at least 25 to 29 grams of fiber per day.

More Fiber from Whole Foods is Better

Our food industry works to bring you more and more ultra-processed foods that have little or no fiber, but there is no debate in the scientific community: you should eat lots of plants that have not had their fiber removed. A review commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) of 185 prospective studies and 58 clinical trials, covering 4600 adults, shows that for every 8-gram/day increase in dietary fiber, there was up to a 31 percent decrease in deaths from all causes, a 30 percent decrease in deaths from heart attacks, 22 percent reduced risk of stroke, and a 16 percent reduced risk of diabetes, colorectal cancer and breast cancer.

New Data on Meat

Researchers followed 536,000 men and women, ages 50 to 71, for an average 16 years and found that those who ate the most meat from mammals and processed meat had a 26 percent greater risk of dying within the study period than those who ate the least.

Another Reason Not to Take Calcium Pills

A well-planned study shows that taking calcium pills, both with and without vitamin D, is associated with increased risk for pre-malignant serrated colon polyps.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Animal Products Linked to Increased Heart Attack Risk

For more than 60 years we have heard that saturated fat and cholesterol may be the driving forces behind the high rate of heart attacks in North America. A new study shows strong statistical links between eating a lot of high-cholesterol animal products -- eggs, meat, poultry, and dairy -- and risk for heart attacks.

Obesity Epidemic Now Worldwide

The rate of obesity worldwide has doubled in 73 countries since 1980. Today 30 percent of North Americans and 10 percent of the world's population are obese, an estimated 604 million obese adults and 108 million obese children. A recent article suggests that this world-wide increase in obesity is driven by the huge companies that make processed foods, sugared drinks and refined carbohydrates, and the extensive advertising they do for their products.

Eggs Do Not Prevent Heart Attacks and Strokes

A recent news headline proclaimed, "An Egg a Day May Keep Heart Disease Away" (Time, May 21, 2018), based on a study of 512,891 adults in urban and rural areas of China. Those who ate one egg a day were reported to have an 18 percent reduced incidence of heart attacks and an incredible 26 percent reduction in bleeding strokes.

What the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

The gigantic food industry in North America and its lobbyists are happy with the concept that most people are fat just because they eat too many calories. This message relieves them of their responsibility for harm from the typical western diet that consists largely of low-cost, highly-refined "junk" foods that are full of added sugars and have most of the fiber removed.

Lectin-Containing Foods are Good For You

The latest fad diet tells you to try to avoid lectin-rich foods and to buy their products that are supposed to block lectins in the foods that you eat. However, scientific studies show that eating the common foods with high-lectin content is associated with living a long life and avoiding diseases such as heart attacks, certain cancers, and diabetes.

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.