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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.

Sweet Potatoes vs White Potatoes

Should you avoid white potatoes and eat sweet potatoes instead? Both white potatoes and sweet potatoes contain a variety of nutrients. Here’s the comparison:

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.

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.

What Makes a Healthful Recipe?

All of my healthful recipes fit into the Modified DASH Diet that Dr. Mirkin recommends for total health (to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, control weight and prevent or control diabetes): Up to 8 servings of WHOLE grains (serving size is 1/2 cup) At least 5 Vegetables At least 5 Fruits Up to 3 servings of fat free...

Sodas with Sugar May Age Cells

Researchers led by Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for telomere-related discoveries, measured the telomeres in white blood cells of 5,309 participants, ages 20 to 65, with no history of diabetes or heart attacks. They found that people who drink sugared sodas daily have shorter telomeres than those who drink fruit juices or artificially sweetened drinks

Coca Cola Pays to Convince You that Sugared Drinks are Safe

Sugared drinks are associated with increased risk for obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, certain cancers and premature death (J Am Coll Cardiol, 2015;66(14):1615-1624). Yet Coca Cola has given more than 118 million dollars to prestigious health research institutions, athletic groups, disease foundations, cancer and diabetes organizations and university researchers over the last five years. These...

Eat Breakfast, Especially if You Want to Lose Weight

If you are trying to control your weight, you should not skip breakfast because the food that you eat in the morning causes you to burn more than two and a half times as many calories as the food you eat at night.

Eat WHOLE Grains, Not Flour

Whole grains reduce risk for overweight, diabetes and heart attacks, whereas refined foods made from flour increase risk for these conditions. Researchers followed 54,871 Danish adults, aged 50-64, for almost 15 years and found that those who ate a lot of whole grains, particularly rye and oats, had far fewer heart attacks

Does stress increase your need for vitamins?

Several years ago a major drug company claimed that its vitamin pills helped to relieve stress from the "complications of everyday life" and gave their products names such as "StressTabs." The New York Attorney General forced them to stop their deceptive advertising, but many people still remember and believe this claim.

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.

Check Those Fish Oil Pills

Fish oil pills are among the most unstable supplements on the market because the oil oxidizes quickly when exposed to oxygen. Fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids that are unusually susceptible to being oxidized to products that can be harmful.

Grass-fed vs Corn-fed Meat

Nobody has presented good evidence that eating meat from grass-fed animals is more healthful than the meat from corn-fed animals. The main health arguments for eating grass-fed meat are its lower fat content and higher content of omega-3 fatty acids.

Spirulina, Chlorella and Seaweed

You have probably seen ads telling you that spirulina, chlorella or blue-green algae are wonder foods that "may help increase energy, decrease fatigue, enhance brain function, oxygenate the blood, nourish the nervous system, improve memory and concentration, increase muscle mass, speed healing, protect against pollutants and radiation, purify the blood, relieve kidney stones, and improve over-all health." Should you believe these claims?

Eat Whole Foods, Not Processed Foods, to Lose Weight

Overweight people who eat mostly whole foods rather than processed foods can lose weight without counting calories or restricting portion sizes. A new study from Stanford showed that restricting processed foods, particularly added sugars and other refined carbohydrates, is more important for weight loss than going low-carb or low-fat.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

Cooking and Human Evolution

For years, anthropologists have told us that humans dominate the earth because they learned to make tools that could kill big animals that would give them more food so that they could survive. Dr Richard Wrangham of Harvard thinks they are all wrong. He thinks that man dominates earth because he learned how to cook.

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.

Should You Eat Breakfast?

Skipping breakfast will not help you lose weight or cause you to gain weight. This month's issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition contains three studies on breakfast. One study shows that whether you eat breakfast or not doesn't affect your weight at all (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014;100:507-13). Three hundred volunteers...

Good Fats in Nuts

Nuts are a rich source of fat, but the fat in nuts is absorbed very poorly (Am J Clin Nutr, Jan, 2015;101(1):25-33). For example, the fat in almonds is located inside the cells of the almond kernel. Even after prolonged chewing, most of the almond cells remained intact and the fat is still inside the cells. Humans lack the enzymes to break down these cell walls. You have to liberate fat from inside cells to absorb it into your body.

Whole Milk or Skim? Cheese and Yogurt are Better

All types of milk and milk products are high in sugar, unless the milk is fermented to make yogurt or cheese. Skim milk may be more harmful to your health than whole milk because skim milk may have higher levels of a sugar called galactose that causes inflammation.

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.

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 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.