About 65 percent of North American adults drink sugar-sweetened beverages every day (NCHS Data Brief, No 270, 2017). Two recent studies show how sugared drinks are associated with liver damage and kidney stones. A study of nearly 100,000 postmenopausal women followed for an average of more than 20 years found that compared to women who had fewer than three sugar-sweetened drinks per month, those who drank one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day had an 85 percent increased risk for liver cancer and 68 percent increased risk for death from chronic liver disease.
Advertisers are claiming that berberine (an over-the-counter herbal supplement) is “nature’s Ozempic for weight loss," but there is not adequate data to support this claim. The main reason that we are being exposed to such heavy advertising for berberine now is that studies have shown that the newer prescription drugs (Ozempic, Wegovy and others) have been proven scientifically to help overweight people lose excess weight, at least temporarily. However, these prescription drugs are so expensive that most people cannot afford them.
Gluten is a group of proteins found in wheat, rye and barley that causes about two percent of North Americans to become sick: those with celiac disease or gluten allergies. In spite of all its bad publicity from authors of popular diet books, gluten may actually offer health benefits to the remainder of the population.
The largest and most thorough review to date of research on sweetened drinks found that "fruit" drinks and other sweetened drinks are strongly associated with overweight and obesity. The authors reviewed 85 studies, covering more than half a million participants, and found that each increase in servings-per-day of sweetened drinks is associated with a one pound increase per year in body weight in adults, and one half pound in children.
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...
I have reported before on TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide) that is produced by certain bacteria in your gut when you eat foods that contain lecithin, carnitine and choline, such as meat, eggs and dairy products. High levels of TMAO in the bloodstream have been associated with increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, clots, diabetes and certain cancers.
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.
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.
A review of 95 different studies involving two million people shows that just two and a half servings of fruits and vegetables per day is associated with a 16 percent reduced risk of heart disease, an 18 percent reduced risk of stroke, a four percent reduced risk of cancer and a 15 percent reduced risk of premature death.
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.
Fructose causes more damage than glucose because it is far more likely to deposit fat in your belly, which causes higher blood sugar levels and increases risk for diabetes, heart attacks and death. Glucose is processed by every cell in your body, but almost all fructose is processed only by your liver where most is converted to fatty triglycerides.
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.
Nitrates from the foods you eat can be converted in your body to nitric oxide, which widens blood vessels to increase blood flow throughout your body, to improve exercise tolerance and to help prevent heart disease and to lower high blood pressure
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...
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.
A major benefit of losing excess weight is that it lowers high blood sugar levels to reduce your chances of becoming diabetic and suffering a heart attack. However, high-protein diets do not lower blood sugar levels as much as normal-protein diets do and therefore do not prevent diabetes as effectively as diets that are not high in protein.
The hottest area of medical research today may well be on the bacteria that live in your gut to affect how much you weigh, how long you live, and your susceptibility to many diseases. In the largest and most complete study of its kind ever, researchers analyzed genes of colon bacteria from 1,046 healthy Israelis and found that the bacterial composition of your colon is determined primarily by your lifestyle and what you eat, and has less than a two percent association with your genes.
More than 70 percent of North American adults are overweight and almost 50 percent will become diabetic. A new study from China shows that eating more fiber-containing foods encourages growth of bacteria in your colon that can lower high blood sugar levels to normal.
Several papers have raised concerns about the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners. In one study, researchers showed that a sweeter-tasting, lower-calorie drink caused people to eat more food, to have higher blood sugar levels and to be more likely to gain weight and become diabetic than a less-sweet, higher-calorie drink.
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.
Probiotics are foods or supplements containing healthful bacteria that pass to your colon when you eat them. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports that close to four million adults in the U.S. use probiotics.
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 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.
A new study found that skipping breakfast could damage your immune system. Missing the first meal of the day can suppress the immune cells of the brain to make it more difficult for your body to fight off infection. Mice that received no breakfast had an incredible 90 percent fewer monocytes in their blood four hours after skipping breakfast and even lower levels eight hours later.
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.