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Are Plant-Based Meats More Healthful than Animal Meats?

More than 40 percent of North Americans are trying to reduce their consumption of meat and to increase their intake of plant-based foods. Non-meat "meats" made out of plants are becoming popular, and the "Impossible Burger" is now available in more than 7,000 restaurants. When I first reported on "Impossible Burger" and "Beyond Meat" in 2019, I noted that, "A major concern is that these products have not been tested for long-term safety."

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.

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.

Turmeric and Other Anti-Inflammatory Spices

Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, as are many other spices such as cinnamon or ginger.  Turmeric roots are available in some produce sections, and ground (dry) turmeric is in virtually every spice section.  It’s a widely used spice, especially in Indian dishes, and we recommend using it that way. 

Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Higher Blood Sugar Levels

Obese people who have taken aspartame or saccharin in the last 24 hours had higher blood sugar rises after taking sugar than those who had not used artificial sweeteners. Lead author Dr. Jennifer Kuk says, "Our study shows that individuals with obesity who consume artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame, may have worse glucose management than those who don't take sugar substitutes."

Artificial Sweeteners, Obesity and Diabetes

Virtually all scientists agree that North Americans need to reduce their intake of sugar, but their views on artificial sweeteners are not as clear. Increasing evidence is showing that artificial sweeteners are not benign substitutes for sugar. In a new study, people who took sucralose (an artificial sweetener) for just one week developed signs of insulin resistance and diabetes.

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.

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.

Vitamin and Mineral Pills Cannot Protect You from an Unhealthful Diet

Nobody can correct a faulty diet just by taking pills. A review of 18 studies, following more than two million men and women for an average of 12 years, shows that vitamin and mineral pills do not reduce risk for dying from heart disease or strokes, or even getting a stroke, regardless of age.

Healthful Fats

A report from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study of more than 126,000 men and women who have been followed for 32 years shows that increasing total fat intake is associated with decreasing risk of death.

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 .

Unexplained Weight Loss Can Signal Onset of Dementia

Overweight people who lose weight without dieting after age 65 are at high risk for dementia. Excess weight is a major risk factor for dementia.

Limit Fried and Browned Foods

A review of 17 different studies involving more than 560,000 people who suffered 37,000 heart attacks and strokes, followed for 10 years, found that compared to those who ate the lowest amount of fried food per week, those who ate the most suffered a 28 percent greater risk of a major heart attack or stroke, a 22 percent higher risk of heart disease, and a 37 percent higher risk of heart failure.

Will Gluten-Free Make You Feel Better?

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.

Fried vs Unfried Potatoes

A study of 4400 North American men and women, ages 45 to 79, followed for eight years, showed that those who ate fried potatoes two or more times a week were at increased risk for dying during the study period, compared to those who ate fried potatoes occasionally. Those who ate potatoes that were not fried had no increased risk of death.

Research on TMAO

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.

Get Vitamins and Nutrients from Foods, Not Pills

Researchers at Tufts University analyzed data from 30,899 U.S. adults who had answered questionnaires on the foods that they ate and the supplements that they took, and were then followed for six years or more (Annals of Internal Medicine, May 7, 2019). A total of 3613 deaths occurred during the study period. The researchers...

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.

Vitamin D Research

A review of studies written since January 2015 shows that you do not benefit from taking high doses of vitamin D or having very high blood levels of that vitamin. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults need only 600–800 IU of vitamin D per day and that blood levels of hydroxy vitamin D do not need to be higher than 20 ng per milliliter

Artificial Sweeteners, Dementia and Strokes

People who take one diet soda a day are nearly three times more likely than non-diet soda drinkers to suffer a stroke or to become demented, according to a study published in Stroke (April 20, 2017). Both sugar drinkers and artificial-sweetener drinkers were at increased risk for having smaller brains and advanced brain aging.

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.

Why Calorie Counting Doesn’t Work

A team of 17 internationally recognized scientists published a paper supported by more than 169 journal references, proposing that the current obesity epidemic is not caused just by taking in too many calories. They believe that obesity is caused primarily by hormonal changes brought on by eating refined carbohydrates and sugar-added foods.

Fructose is the Worst Sugar

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.

How Fiber Helps to Prevent Disease

We have known for a long time that high-fiber foods such as vegetables, fruits and seeds are associated with lower risk for heart attacks, strokes, many cancers, obesity, type 2 diabetes, dementia and other diseases. Recent studies on gut bacteria are helping to explain why fiber-rich foods are beneficial.

Eating at Night Increases Risk for Obesity and Diabetes

A study of 20 healthy, normal-weight people found that changing their evening meal from 6PM to 10PM significantly increased their markers for becoming obese and developing diabetes.

Whole (Unrefined) Grains Are Healthful

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.

More Reasons to Eat Plants

Two strong studies show that 1) giving people with heart disease a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables and low in red meat is more effective than taking statin drugs in preventing heart attack deaths, and 2) eating red meat regularly increases risk for death from a heart attack.

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.

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.

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.