Thursday, August 23, 2007

Vegetables and Fruits Double Breast Cancer Survival Rates

Results from the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) study show that, in women previously diagnosed with breast cancer, diets including at least five fruit and vegetable servings daily, when coupled with physical activity, reduce mortality by nearly 50 percent. Increasing fruit and vegetable intake beyond five a day did not lead to further benefit.
A June report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology showed that women who followed the five-a-day recommendation and remained physically active had a nearly 50% reduction in mortality risk during the seven-year study period.1 A report in the July 18, 2007, edition of JAMA shows that recommendations for even greater fruit and vegetable intake did not extend benefits beyond those achieved by the five-a-day group.2 The WHEL study included more than 3,000 women.
Prior reports from the WHEL study have shown that diet changes alter the hormones that influence cancer growth. In a sub-study of 291 participants, increases in fiber and reductions in dietary fat were associated with reduced serum concentrations of estradiol, bioavailable estradiol, estrone, and estrone sulfate.3
Previous studies have shown that low-fat, high-fiber diets improve cancer survival. The Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS) showed that reducing dietary fat and boosting fiber cut the risk of cancer recurrence by 24 percent.4
1. Pierce JP, Stefanick ML, Flatt SW, et al. Greater survival after breast cancer in physically active women with high vegetable-fruit intake regardless of obesity. J Clin Oncol 2007;25:2345-51.
2. Pierce JP, Natarajan L, Caan BJ, et al. Influence of a diet very high in vegetables, fruit, and fiber and low in fat on prognosis following treatment for breast cancer: The Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) randomized trial. JAMA 2007;298:289-98.
3. Rock CL, Flatt SW, Thomson CA, et al. Effects of a high-fiber, low-fat diet intervention on serum concentrations of reproductive steroid hormones in women with a history of breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 2004;12:2379-2387.

4. Chlebowski RT, Blackburn GL, Thomson CA, et al. Dietary fat reduction and breast cancer outcome: interim efficacy results from the Women's Intervention Nutrition Study. J Natl Cancer Inst 2006;98:1767-76.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Flaxseed and Sunshine Prevent the Most Common Cause of Age Related Blindness

A new study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology adds further support for increasing the Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. It could slash the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 40 per cent.

"These results and those from other observational analytic investigations suggest that modifying diet to include more food rich in omega-3 [long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids] could result in a reduction in the risk of having [severe] AMD," stated researchers from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs when the macula, the area at the back of the retina that produces the sharpest vision, deteriorates over time. It is the most common cause of blindness among the over-50s.

According to the new research, the prevalence of the condition is likely to increase as the population ages. While there is currently no known way of preventing the condition, more and more research is focusing on potentially modifiable risk factors and nutrient-based approaches, most notably on the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

Another class of nutrients showing promise is omega-3 fatty acids. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group assessed 4,519 individuals aged between 60 and 80 at the start of the study. The researchers took photographs of the subjects' retinas to determine whether they had AMD, and if so, to which one of four stages the condition had progressed. Diets were assessed using a 90-item food frequency questionnaire.

At the start of the study 1,115 subjects did not have any symptoms of AMD. They were compared with those who did, including 658 individuals with severe (neovascular) AMD. The authors calculated that dietary omega-3 fatty acid intake was associated with a 39 per cent reduction in neovascular AMD, while docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) was associated with a 46 per cent reduction.

The researchers stated that omega-3 fatty acids might influence processes involved in the development of blood vessel- and nerve-related diseases of the retina. For example, DHA may protect the retina by influencing which genes turn on and off. Fatty acids overall may eventually form compounds that promote cell survival and proper blood vessel function, reduce inflammation and maintain energy balance.

The researchers called for clinical trials to explore the benefits of dietary or supplemental forms of omega-3 in preventing advanced AMD in more detail.

In a related study in the same journal, Niyati Parekh, from the University of the Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reports that increased levels of vitamin D may be associated with a reduced prevalence of early AMD.

The researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and focused on 7,752 individuals (including 11 per cent with AMD) seen as representative of the general U.S. population. As with the AREDS study, subjects had photographs taken of their retinas, questionnaires assessed dietary intakes, and blood samples were taken to calculate blood vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) levels.

When participants were split into five groups based on the level of vitamin D in the blood, those in the highest group had a 40 per cent lower risk of early AMD than those in the lowest group.

"The present study conducted in a large, representative sample of the US population provides evidence for inverse associations between AMD and higher serum vitamin D levels" explains Parekh.

Parekh and co-workers speculated that the beneficial effects of vitamin D might be via an anti-inflammatory effect or by preventing the growth of new blood vessels in the retina, which contributes to some forms of AMD.

"The results of the present research warrant further investigation for confirmation of the vitamin D-AMD association in other population studies," they concluded.

Source: Archives of Ophthalmology
May 125, Volume 125, Pages 661-669
"Association Between Vitamin D and Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988 Through 1994"
Authors: N. Parekh, R.J. Chappell, A.E. Millen, D.M. Albert, J.A. Mares

Archives of Ophthalmology
May 125, Volume 125, Pages 671-679
"The Relationship of Dietary Lipid Intake and Age-Related Macular Degeneration in a Case-Control Study: AREDS Report No. 20"
Authors: Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group

Friday, April 27, 2007

New Studies Suggest Eating Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Instead of Ulcer Medications

Polyphenols found in olive oil may prevent infection with the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, said to be the cause of millions of cases of gastritis and peptic ulcer disease each year.

In February of this year (2007) new research from the Spanish Institute de la Grasa, and the University Hospital of Valme, reported that, under their simulated in vitro conditions, the polyphenol-rich extra virgin olive oil exerted anti-bacterial effects against eight strains of H. pylori, three of which were said to be resistant to antibiotics.
"These results open the possibility of considering extra virgin olive oil a chemoprotective agent for peptic ulcer or gastric cancer, but this bioactivity must be confirmed in vivo in the future," wrote lead author Concepcion Romero in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
The researchers state that previous studies have shown that green tea, cranberry juice and certain other natural foods inhibit the growth of H. pylori, the only bacteria that can survive in the acidic environment of the stomach and known to cause peptic ulcers and gastritis.
The new study, the first to look at the potential anti-H. pylori role of olive oil polyphenols, used laboratory experiments to demonstrate that under simulated conditions the healthful phenolic compounds in extra virgin olive oil remain stable in the acidic environment of the stomach for hours.
Indeed, the results show that, under the simulated conditions, over half of the polyphenols found in olive oil could diffuse into the aqueous (water) phase of the gastric juices. Moreover, these polyphenols were found to exert the greatest anti-H. pylori activity.
“The results indicate that the secoiridoid aglycons are not hydrolysed in the acidic environment of the gastric juice,” wrote Romero. “It has just been demonstrated that these secoiridoid aglycons, in particular the dialdehyde form of decarboxymethyl ligstroside aglycon, are the most powerful anti-H. pylori compounds of the olive oil.”
The olive oil extract’s anti-bacterial effects were found to be dose-dependent, and only the weakest extract (one per cent) failed to exert a significant bactericidal activity.
“In view of the low concentration required to exert bactericidal action against H. pylori by the dialdehydic form of decarboxymethyl ligstroside aglycon, it is promising to carry out studies in vivo with extra virgin olive oil to prevent and control peptic ulcers and gastric cancer caused by this bacteria,” concluded the researchers.
The results of the study may keep consumer interest in olive oil high, following other studies linking the diet to lower incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and certain types of cancer.
Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Volume 55, Pages 680-686
“In vitro activity of olive oil polyphenols against Helicobacter pylori”
Authors: C. Romero, E. Medina, J. Vargas, M. Brenes, A. de Castro

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The World's Best Power Breakfast!

When it comes to breakfast there are several issues that need to be understood in order to make good choices for this "most important meal of the day."

First, the word breakfast literally means to break our fast. We have been fasting through our sleep period and the result is low blood sugar. It is this low blood sugar level that typically motivates our first food picks of the day. The body's call is for sugar! Our brains are not even fully functioning until we get blood sugar levels up because they rely entirely on simple sugars. With these forces understood it becomes easy to see why sugar cereals, doughnuts, pastries, pancakes, waffles, yogurt, sweetened coffee beverages, juice, jelly, instant breakfast drinks, smoothies and fruit are all popular choices.

Our next issue is of course how to manage blood sugar optimally. We need to bring it up quickly, but not too quickly. We need to maintain it through the day and we need to avoid dramatic or rapid fluctuations. Working within these guidelines will keep the body on an even energy burn without periods of tired and wired. These guidelines also result in protection from and reversal of blood sugar disorders, including insulin dependency!

Now we need to understand that it is all about the carbohydrates in the diet and that they are far from equal. Carbohydrate must be eaten with fiber. Fiber is the time release mechanism provided by nature. Without it we are essentially injecting ourselves with sugar. Carbohydrates are absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestines, primarily the small intestine. Without the buffering effect of the fiber sugar is taken up too quickly resulting in a spike in blood sugar and insulin. It is the spiking that we feel as being tired or wired. This is not the roller coaster we want to hop on first thing in the AM!

Starting the day with the right food choices sets the stage for successful blood sugar management throughout the day. In addition to blood sugar management we should also take the opportunity at breakfast, as with all meals, to load up on antioxidants. Generous liquids or high water content foods are also important to flush away the elimination that has taken place through our rest period. The best breakfast choice to cover all of these bases is the humble smoothie. Ok, maybe not so humble by the time I'm finished with it, but a smoothie nonetheless.

My top picks for a real POWER breakfast smoothie include; flesh and coconut water from young coconut, (check Whole Foods and other natural foods stores but Asian markets are the best place to find them/ they have white husks) bananas, acai,(check the freezer section in Whole Foods and other natural foods retailers/ Sambazon is the best quality and the frozen packets are smoothie ready!) blueberries, strawberries, mango, and pineapple juice.

Open the coconut with a thick bladed sharp knife. The coconut will be filled with water, it should be clear and have a delicate odor, the flesh should be white. If it has started to turn pink it is not fresh. Pour the water into the blender and scrape the flesh out with a spoon. The consistency of the flesh is like pudding and is rich in fatty acids critical for proper immune function. Use half of the coconut water and meat along with one half of an acai package unless preparing multiple servings. Unused coconut meat and water can easily be stored frozen in a zip-lock bag until needed. Add remaining frozen fruit and top off with pineapple juice. Pour the juice only to the level of the fruit and blend until smooth; add more juice a little at a time until the desired consistency is achieved.

Adding various boosters can supercharge this basic smoothie. I like to keep half a dozen boosters on hand and mix them up from day to day. My top picks include flax seed, raw hemp protein (Manitoba Harvest brand is the best, made simply from ground whole raw hemp seed), raw cacao (chocolate, nibs or whole bean is best)), raw carob, powdered greens (Amazing Grass brand is best, wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa), raw oat bran, raw wheat germ, macca, Siberian ginseng, dates, fresh figs, nut butters, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Fresh ingredients are always better! However, using frozen fruit is also fantastic and there is no waste. I like to buy my bananas for example, ripen them, peel and freeze them. When I find really nice fresh fruit that is in season I will stock up and store it in the freezer. Portioning out individual ziplock bags of fruit and keeping them in the freezer is a great time saver for those mornings when there is no extra time and it makes it easy for kids too.

Start the day with a generous glass of water with a squeeze of lemon, followed by the smoothie approximately 15 minutes later.

Ideally the smoothie can be followed in 30-45 minutes by sprouted or whole grain breads and cereal. Carbohydrates found in the fruit will typically reach the blood stream within 15 minutes if consumed on an empty stomach. The sugar in fruit is in a simple ready to use form; it does not require the stomach or much digestive activity at all. Carbohydrates found in grains on the other hand can take hours for the body to break down into the simple sugars it actually uses. By starting with the smoothie we are providing a source of immediately available energy fully buffered by the fiber naturally found in all fruit. The smoothie will carry us for hours, plenty of time for the complex carbs found in the grains to be broken down and prepared for use.
By following the simple sugars in the fruit with the complex sugars in the grains we are setting the stage for proper blood sugar management through the day.
Smoothies are sweet, rich and delicious and even the kids love them.

Boundless energy throughout the day is ours for the taking. This simple breakfast regimen is the foundation on which to build. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Beef Not On The Menu For Environmentalists

Greenhouse gasses from cars, trucks,and busses are less than what results from animal agriculture.A United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report published in 2006 points the finger at livestock operations globally. The study asserts that a 50% decrease must be achieved in order to avoid increasing the current level of environmental damage.

Animal farms around the world generate 18% more greenhouse emissions than all of the previously mentioned transportaion methods combined. Further, livestock production currently occupies 30 percent of earths land surface. The areas used for grazing are a major source of deforestation, particularly in Latin America, where 70% of former forest lands are used for grazing.

By far the most important non-CO2 greenhouse gas is methane, and the number one source of methane worldwide is animal agriculture.[1]
Methane is responsible for nearly as much global warming as all other non-CO2 greenhouse gases put together.[2] Methane is 21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2.[3] While atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have risen by about 31% since pre-industrial times, methane concentrations have more than doubled.[4] Whereas human sources of CO2 amount to just 3% of natural emissions, human sources produce one and a half times as much methane as all natural sources.[5] In fact, the effect of our methane emissions may be compounded as methane-induced warming in turn stimulates microbial decay of organic matter in wetlands—the primary natural source of methane.[6]
With methane emissions causing nearly half of the planet’s human-induced warming, methane reduction must be a priority. Methane is produced by a number of sources, including coal mining and landfills—but the number one source worldwide is animal agriculture.[7] Animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of methane a year.[8] And this source is on the rise: global meat consumption has increased fivefold in the past fifty years, and shows little sign of abating.[9] About 85% of this methane is produced in the digestive processes of livestock,[10] and while a single cow releases a relatively small amount of methane,[11] the collective effect on the environment of the hundreds of millions of livestock animals worldwide is enormous. An additional 15% of animal agricultural methane emissions are released from the massive “lagoons” used to store untreated farm animal waste,[1] and already a target of environmentalists’ for their role as the number one source of water pollution in the U.S.[13]
The conclusion is simple: arguably the best way to reduce global warming in our lifetimes is to reduce or eliminate our consumption of animal products. Simply by shifting to a plant-based diet[14][15][16] we can eliminate one of the major sources of emissions of methane, the greenhouse gas responsible for almost half of the global warming impacting the planet today.

1. Animal agriculture is also a major source of nitrous oxide emissions, another important greenhouse gas 310 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. 73% of U.S. emissions of nitrous oxide come from animal grazing, manure management, and crop growing practices—with half of U.S. crops grown for livestock feed. Agricultural emissions of nitrous oxide in the U.S. increased 9% from 1990 to 2002. “Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 1990-2002,” EPA 430-R-04-003, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 15 April 2004, p. ES-16, emissions.
2. Hansen and Sato, supra note 11. Estimated climate forcing of methane from 1850 to 2000 is 0.7 W/m2, while estimated forcing of CFCs, tropospheric ozone, and nitrous oxide combined is 0.9 W/m2.
3. “Global Warming Potentials”, supra note 10.
4. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations have risen from 278 parts per million (ppm) in 1750 to 365 ppm in 1998. Atmospheric concentrations of methane have increased by 149% since 1750, from .700 ppm to 1.745 ppm. “Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2002”, Chapter 1, Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, October 2003,
5. Natural sources emit 770 billion metric tons of CO2, and 239 million metric tons of methane, compared to 23.1 billion and 359 million, respectively, for anthropogenic sources. “Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2002”, supra note 20.
6. Hansen, et al, supra note 5. It is also possible that warming may dampen natural sources of methane by drying out wetlands.
7.Animal agriculture is responsible for 32% of global methane emissions from human activity, including 28% from domesticated livestock and 4% from livestock manure. Natural gas is the second largest source, accounting for 15% of emissions. Kruger, Dina, “The Role of ‘Other Gases’ in Addressing Climate Change”, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 12 Feb 2004, output_all/workshop/usjapan/pdf/06Kruger.pdf.
8. “Emissions of methane from livestock”, Climate Change Fact Sheet 32, Information Unit on Climate Change (IUCC), UNEP, 1 May 1993,
9. World meat production reached 242 million tons in 2002, from 122 million tons in 1977, and from 44 million tons in 1950. Additionally, per capita meat consumption has more than doubled since 1950, from 17 to 39 kg per person. Vital Signs 2003, Worldwatch Institute, May 2003, p.30-31, The majority of the meat is consumed by developed countries. Delgado, Christopher et al., Livestock to 2020: The Next Food Revolution, “Food, Agriculture, and the Environment Discussion Paper 28”, International Food Policy Research Institute, May 1999,
10. “The Role of ‘Other Gases’ in Addressing Climate Change”, supra note 23. Methane emissions come particularly from ruminant animals, like cows, sheep, buffalo, and goats, but also from non-ruminants like pigs and horses. “Emissions of methane from livestock”, supra note 24.
11.Not including methane released from manure, an adult cow produces 80-110 kg of methane a year. “Frequent Questions”, Ruminant Livestock, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
12.“The Role of ‘Other Gases’ in Addressing Climate Change”, supra note 23.
13.“Water Quality Conditions in the United States”, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, August 2002,
14.Herein, the term “vegetarian” is used to refer not just to a meatless diet, but to one free of animal products, i.e. a “vegan” diet. Dairy cows, for example, produce even more methane per animal than beef cattle. Logically, the same concerns extend beyond diet to the consumption of other consumer goods derived from livestock, like wool and leather.
15.Because ruminant livestock produce far more methane than non-ruminant livestock, reductions in agricultural methane can also be achieved by shifting consumption away from cows and sheep in favor of chickens and pigs. However, the benefits of such shifts are not simple; for example, in the U.S., manure from pigs produces more than five times as much methane as manure from beef cattle. (“Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 1990-2002”, p. 181, supra note 17.) Moreover, the large scale production of these animals in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) is associated with numerous other environmental harms already extensively documented by environmental organizations, making the trade of one environmental danger for another a Faustian bargain.
16.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to address methane from livestock amount to encouraging changes in feed and increasing the amount of product (meat, milk, offspring) per animal. Even at best such efforts are unlikely to achieve large reductions in emissions per animal, and any such reductions are easily swamped by increases in the number of animals raised overall. Methane emissions from manure can also be captured and used to produce energy.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Lose Weight by Eating More Dairy?...Maybe Not So Fast

Dairy Diet Myth

You’ve probably seen the ads in magazines or on TV. “Milk, cheese-
yogurt. Burn more fat, lose weight.” Drink 24 ounces
of milk every 24 hours and that skinny hourglass figure will be
yours. Eat three servings of yogurt every day and squeeze into
that itsy-bitsy bikini...

Beginning October 2003 "Drink Milk... Lose Weight" ads ran in over 30 newspapers and magazines when the dairy industry launched an entire "Healthy Weight with Milk" campaign to boost sales. Curiously, that also happened to be the same year a review of that exact subject was published in the Journal of Nutrition. The review found nine randomized controlled studies in the medical literature on body weight and dairy. Seven of the nine studies found no significant change in body weight compared to controls and the last two found that those who increased their dairy consumption gained significantly more weight than the nondairy control groups.[1] Subsequent and even larger studies published in 2004[2] and 2005[3] showed the exact same thing.

So, wait a second. How can the dairy industry's ads claim that "a clinical study shows it helps you burn more fat and lose more weight than just cutting calories alone?" Well, because there are actually three small published studies that found greater weight loss in people who were told to cut calories and eat dairy foods and all were done by one researcher with a patent on the claim. Michael Zemel of the University of Tennessee, found that study participants instructed to eat more dairy did seem to lose more weight. Yes, of course the studies were bought and paid for by the dairy industry, but it goes further than that. This guy Zemel owns a patent on the claim that dairy foods aid weight loss, which is licensed to dairy food manufacturers. As the Center for Science in the Public Interest noted, "In the world of patents and PR, a little science can go a long way."[4] For an in depth analysis of Zemels work and how it is assisting the Dairy Industry check out the Nutrition Action Health Letter Spetember 2005 available online at

Similar maneuverings were involved in the increased dairy recommendation in the new USDA Dietary Guidelines, even though a recent World Health Organization review found no significant relationship at all between low dairy consumption and osteoporotic fracture risk.[5] Assigned to write the dairy guideline was Connie Weaver, head of nutrition at Purdue University and a funding favorite of the National Dairy Council. Walter Willet, head of nutrition at Harvard, calls the guideline committee's report "egregious," accusing them of ignoring the evidence linking dairy to cancer. "There is no nutritional requirement for dairy," Dr. Willet told the Wall Street Journal, "at all."[6]
To hopefully clear up the dairy/weight question once and for all, on June 6, 2005, Harvard researchers published what may be considered the definitive study on the subject in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. A study which followed the milk-drinking habits of not 11 kids, or even 12 kids, but over 12,000 kids! After following these 9- though 14-year-olds for years, they found that "children who reported higher total milk intake experienced larger weight gains." The more milk they drank, the heavier they became. Boys who drank the "recommended" three servings of milk a day were 35% more likely to become overweight and girls who drank three servings were 36% more likely to become overweight over time.[7]
"Given the high prevalence of lactose intolerance, the energy content and saturated fat in milk, and evidence that dairy products may promote both male (prostate) and female (ovarian) cancers, we should not assume that high intakes [of dairy] are beneficial," the researchers told reporters. "Furthermore, these cancers may be linked to consumption during adolescence."[8]
What most surprised the researchers was that those who drank low-fat milk (skim and 1%) gained the most weight of all! The weight gain seemed tied more to the dairy protein intake than the dairy fat intake (extra whey protein is often added to low-fat milk during processing). Although there are at least four human studies that show that the dairy protein whey itself may promote weight gain, the researchers guessed that the blame lay in the growth hormones in milk, like the sex steroid estrone found in whey. After all, milk is designed by mother nature to start an 80-pound calf on her way to 1,400 pounds by her second birthday.
This new study has serious implications for our childhood obesity epidemic, which not only has devastating health consequences but social consequences as well. A study released the same week by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control found that teens who perceived themselves as overweight were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide.[9]

[1] Barr SI. "Increased Dairy Product or Calcium Intake: Is Body Weight or Composition Affected in Humans?" Journal of Nutrition 133(2003):245-8S.
[2] Obesity Research 12(2004):A23.
[3] Gunther CW, Legowski PA, Lyle RM, et al. "Dairy Products Do Not Lead to Alterations in Body Weight or Fat Mass in Young Women In A 1-Y Intervention." Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:751-6.
[4] "Dairy Does Diets." Nutrition Action Healthletter September 2004:8.
[5] Kanis JA, et al."A Meta-Analysis of Milk Intake and Fracture Risk: Low Utility For Case Finding." Osteoporisis International 21 October 2004.
[6] Zamiska N. "How Milk Got a Major Boost By Food Panel." Wall Street Journal 30 August 2004:B1.
[7] Berkey CS, et al. "Milk, Dairy Fat, Dietary Calcium, and Weight Gain ." Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 1599(2005):543-50.
[8] Fox M. "Milk may make for heavier kids, study finds." Reuters 6 June 2005.
[9] Eaton DK, et al. "Associations of Body Mass Index and Perceived Weight With Suicide Ideation and Suicide Attempts Among US High School Students." Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 1599(2005):513-9.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pills or Papayas? Survey Finds Americans Want Healthful Foods, Not More Medicines.

Sixty-Nine Percent of Respondents Would Prefer to Treat Diabetes with Dietary Changes, Such as a plant-based diet, Rather than Medication; Findings Reinforce Clinical Research Outlined in New Book

WASHINGTON--If you thought Americans would rather pop a pill to treat illness than make major diet changes, think again. A new survey shows the vast majority would rather change their diets—including trying a vegetarian diet—than use medicines. According to a nationally representative survey of 1,022 adults conducted in mid-January by Opinion Research Corporation, 69 percent of Americans would prefer to try a dietary approach. Just 21 percent preferred treating diabetes with medicines.

The survey, commissioned by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), reinforces results from PCRM’s clinical research on diabetes, which has consistently found that people with diabetes adapt well to low-fat plant-based diets and gain important health benefits.

In Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes, a new book published in January 2007, PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., outlines a dietary approach to diabetes based on scientific research showing that a low-fat plant-based diet can lower high blood sugar levels three times more effectively than oral medications. In the past, many clinicians have felt that patients lack the willpower to make diet changes and would rather “pop a pill.” The new results show just the opposite.

“A low-fat plant-based diet offers a powerful way to control and even reverse diabetes,” said Dr. Barnard. “The idea that Americans would rather take pills than make diet changes is a myth. Americans clearly favor tackling serious diabetes with diet changes, including vegetarian diets.” The survey was conducted January 12 through 15 2007 and included 515 women and 507 men, 18 years and older, living in the continental United States.

Other key survey findings:

* Women are even more likely than men to prefer food changes over pills. Women preferred diet by 73 percent versus 17 percent for medicines. For men, the split was 65 percent versus 26 percent.

* People with more education and higher incomes were especially likely to favor a diet approach.

* Americans aged 45 to 64 were more enthusiastic about diet changes, compared with older Americans; 76 percent of the middle-aged respondents preferred diet changes. Among those aged 65 and above, the figure dropped slightly, to 59 percent. The most pill-happy generation was the 18- to 24-year-olds. But even in this group, only 30 percent favored using medicines, while 63 percent favored diet changes.

* People living in Western states were especially likely to prefer diet changes: 73 percent versus only 17 percent for drugs.

For detailed survey results or more information about Dr. Barnard’s book, contact Jeanne Stuart McVey at 202-686-2210, ext. 316, or, or Simon Chaitowitz at 202-686-2210, ext. 309, or

Thursday, March 8, 2007

California Dairy Giant Rejects Hormone Treated Milk

Consumer groups and public health organizations give cheers to California’s dairy industry after the Associated Press, along with other news agencies, reported yesterday that members of the largest dairy cooperative in California will be required to supply milk that is free of the hormone RBST. California Dairies Company's 650 members produce approximately 40% of California's milk and 10% of the nation's. By August First, they'll have to stop injecting their herds with the genetically engineered hormone or pay a premium for the co-op to truck their milk to other markets.

The industry wide shockwaves expected will assist in bringing US production regulations closer to that of our trading partners. In Europe and Canada US dairy exports recently have faced increasing resistance because of the refusal by American producers to discontinue using the hormone. European and Canadian authorities banned the hormone, recognize RBST as a threat to human health and have linked it to cancer. Several years ago documents came to public attention that showed Monsanto lied about their studies in order to gain approval from the FDA. The evidence on this is stunning and I have included an exhaustive list of references and hope that everyone gives them at least a quick glance.[1-58]

The good news for the consumers and the cows is not in any case good news for Monsanto, they are going to lose billions of dollars. Monsanto is the only supplier of the hormone, sold under the name Posilac, and sales have been estimated at close to $300 million annually, although Monsanto refuses disclosure of actual figures. Monsanto Corporation, in case anyone has forgotten, is that esteemed member of the American corporate community that has brought us such wonders as Agent Orange, Roundup and is the world's leader in GMO's (genetically modified organism).

RBST or Posilac is also an excellent example of corporate welfare. Posilac causes cows to produce more milk. So... what is wrong with that you ask? American taxpayers pay farmers not to produce milk and have been doing so for years. [59] There is an excess of dairy products in this country and our government buys it using our money. They buy it to keep the prices stable. If the supply exceeds demand, the price of dairy drops. The government steps in and keeps product from reaching the market. It ends up in government warehouses where much of it is simply thrown away. This is where “government cheese” came from. What is not eaten by our poor, elderly, and native populations ends up in the trash. Do you think that Monsanto cares about the fact that their product is contributing to this? I think Monsanto sees the bottom line.

The trouble with this continues because not only has Posilac been recognized as a human health threat, but so is the milk it helps produce more of! Dairy proteins and fats have been linked to heart disease, stroke [60,6], cancer [62-66], diabetes (types 1&2) [67,68], multiple sclerosis, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowl syndrome, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis [69-78], and more. So where did Monsanto get the bright idea for such a great product? Since great minds think alike, maybe it was a friend of one of Monsanto’s other top executives; Donald Rumsfeld was a CEO for Monsanto. Hmmmm.

My hat is off to the California dairy producers for standing up to Monsanto and their money grubbing schemes regardless of the reason. It is a rare day when I have anything positive to say about the dairy industry, today just happens to be one of them.


1. Conyers, John. Letter to Richard R. Kusserow, Inspector General, Department of
Health and Human Services. May 9, 1990.
2. Kennelly J & DeBoer G. Bovine somatotropin. In Proceedings of the Alberta Dairy Seminar. Banff, Alberta, March 9-11, 1998.
3. Baer RJ, et al. Composition and flavor of milk produced by cows injected with recombinant bovine somatotropin. Journal of Dairy Science 72:1424-1434, 1989.
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11. Davis SR, et al. Effects of injecting growth hormone of thyroxine on milk production and blood plasma concentrations of insulin-like growth factors I and II in dairy cows.
Journal of Endocrinology 114:17-24, 1987.
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14. Francis GL, et al. Insulin-like growth factors 1 and 2 in bovine colostrum. Sequences and biological activities compared with those of a potent truncated form. Biochem J. 251:95-103, 1988.
15. Prosser CG, et al. Increased secretion of insulin-like growth factor-1 into Milk of cows treated with recombinantly derived bovine growth hormones. Journal of Dairy Research 56:17-26, 1989.
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Science 249:875-884, 1990.
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Geneva. June 9-18, 1992. Cited six unpublished industry studies confirming increased IGF-1 levels in rBGH milk. These included one by Monsanto (Schams et al, 1988) reporting a four-fold increase, and another (Miller et al, 1989) reporting a further 50% increase following pasteurization.
19. Epstein SS. BST and cancer. New Scientist U.K., October 29, 1994.
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a case of regulatory abdication. International Journal of Health Services 261:173-185, 1996.
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24. Glimm DR, et al. Effect of bovine somatotropin in the distribution of immunoreactive insulin-like growth factor-1 in lactating bovine mammary tissue.
Journal of Dairy Science 71:2923-2935, 1988.
25. Reynolds RK, et al. Regulation of epidermal growth factor and insulin-like growth factors I receptors by estradiol and progesterone in normal and neoplastic endometrial cells cultures. Gynecology Oncology 38:396-406, 1990. page 6
26. Lippman A. Growth factors, receptors and breast cancer. National Institutes of Health Research 3:59-62, 1991.
27. Rosen N, et al. Insulin-like growth factors in human breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research Treatment 18 (Suppl):555-562, 1991.
28. Harris JR, et al. Breast Cancer. New England Journal of Medicine 7:473-480, 1992.
29. Pollak MN, et al. Tamoxifen reduced insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Breast Cancer Research Treatment 22:91-100, 1992.
30. Lippman ME. The development of biological therapies for breast cancer. Science 259:631-632, 1993.
31. Pappa V, et al. Insulin-like growth facotr-1 receptors are over expressed and predict a low risk in human breast cancer. Cancer Research 53:3736-3740, 1993.
32. Bruning PF, et al. Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 3 is decreased in early-stage operable pre-menopausal breast cancer. International Journal of Cancer 62(3):266-270, July 1995.
33. Epstein SS. Unlabeled milk from cows treated with biosynthetic growth hormones: a case of regulatory abdication. International Journal of Health Services 261:173-185, 1996.
34. LeRoith D. Insulin-like growth factors and cancer. Annals of Internal Medicine 122(1):54-59, January, 1995.
35. Bohlke K, et al. Insulin-like growth factor-1 in relation to premenopausal ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast. Epidemiology 9(5):570-573, 1998.
36. Del Giudice ME, et al. Insulin and related factors in premenopausal breast cancer risk. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 47 (2):111-120, 1998.
37. Hankinson SE, et al. Circulating concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-1 and risk of breast cancer. The Lancet 351:1393-1396, 1998.
38. Agurs-Collins T, et al. Insulin-like growth factor-1 and breast cancer risk in post-menopausal American women. Proceedings of the American Association of Cancer Research 40:152, 1999.
39. Toniolo P, et al. Serum insulin-like growth factor-1 and breast cancer.
International Journal of Cancer 88(5):828-832, 2000.
40. Yu H & Rohan T. Role of the insulin-like growth factor family in cancer development and progression. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 92:1472-1484, 2000. page 7
41. Epstein SS. Re Role of the insulin-like growth factors in cancer development and progression. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 93(3):238, 2001.
42. Pines A, et al. Gastrointestinal tumors in acromegalic patients. Am J Gastroenterology 80:266-269, 1985.
43. Orme SM, et al. Cancer incidence and mortality in acromegaly: a retrospective cohort study. Journal of Endocrinology Supplement Number OC22, June 1996.
44. Epstein SS. Unlabeled milk from cows treated with biosynthetic growth hormones: a case of regulatory abdication. International Journal of Health Services 261:173-185, 1996.
45. Manousos O, et al. IGF-I and IGF-II in relation to colorectal cancer. International Journal of Cancer 83:15-17, 1999.
46. Ma J, et al. Prospective study of colorectal cancer risk in men and plasma levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 and IGF-1 binding protein-3. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 91:620-625, 1999.
47. Giovannucci E, et al. Plasma insulin-like growth factor-I and binding protein-3 and risk of colorectal cancer and adenoma in women. Proceedings of the American Association of Cancer Research 40:211, 1999.
48. Renehan AG, et al. Circulating insulin-like growth factor II and colorectal adenomas. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 85(9):3402-3408, 2000.
49. Mantzoros CS, et al. Insulin-like growth factor 1 in relation to prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia. British Journal of Cancer 76:1115-1118, 1997.
50. Chan JM, et al. Plasma insulin-like growth factor-I and prostate cancer risk: a prospective study. Science 279:563-566, 1998.
51. Wolk A, et al. Insulin-like growth factor 1 and prostate cancer risk: a population-based, case-control study. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 90:911-915, 1998.
52. Signorello LB, et al. Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-1 and prostate cancer.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute 91:1965-1967, 1999.
53. Stattin P, et al. Plasma insulin-like growth factor-binding proteins, and prostate
cancer risk: a prospective study. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 92:1910-1917, 2000.
54. Harman SM, et al. Serum levels of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1), IGF-II, IGF-binding protein-3, and prostate-specific antigen as predictors of clinical prostate cancer.
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 85(11):4258-4265, 2000. page 8
55. Juul A, et al. The ratio between serum levels of IGF-1 and the IGF binding protein decreases with age in healthy patients and is increased in acromegalic patients. Clinical Endocrinology 41:85-93, 1994.
56. Tremble JM & McGregor AM. In Treating Acromegaly, editor Wass p. 5-12.
Journal of Endocrinology Ltd., Bristol, England, 1994.
57. Resnicoff M, et al. The insulin-like growth factor-I receptor protects tumor cells from apoptosis in vivo. Cancer Research 55(11):2463-2469, June 1,1995.
58. Epstein SS. Re: role of the insulin-like growth factor family in cancer development and progression. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 93(3):238, 2001
59. Milk Pricing in the United States. By Alden C. Manchester and Don P. Blayney.
Market and Trade Economics Division, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department
of Agriculture. Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 761.

60. Pennington JAT. Bowes and Churches Food Values of Portions Commonly Used, 17th ed. New York: Lippincott, 1998.
61. Ornish D, Brown SE, Scherwitz LW, Billings JH, Armstrong WT, Ports TA. Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease? Lancet 1990;336:129-33.
62. Cramer DW, Harlow BL, Willet WC. Galactose consumption and metabolism in relation to the risk of ovarian cancer. Lancet 1989;2:66-71.
63. Outwater JL, Nicholson A, Barnard N. Dairy products and breast cancer: the IGF-1, estrogen, and bGH hypothesis. Medical Hypothesis 1997;48:453-61.
64. Chan JM, Stampfer MJ, Giovannucci E, et al. Plasma insulin-like growth factor-1 and prostate cancer risk: a prospective study. Science 1998;279:563-5.
65. World Cancer Research Fund. Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective. American Institute of Cancer Research. Washington, D.C.: 1997.
66. Cadogan J, Eastell R, Jones N, Barker ME. Milk intake and bone mineral acquisition in adolescent girls: randomised, controlled intervention trial. BMJ1997;315:1255-69.
67. Scott FW. Cow milk and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus: is there a relationship? Am J Clin Nutr 1990;51:489-91.
68. Karjalainen J, Martin JM, Knip M, et al. A bovine albumin peptide as a possible trigger of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. N Engl J Med 1992;327:302-7.
69. Feskanich D, Willet WC, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA. Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study. Am J Public Health 1997;87:992-7.
70. Cumming RG, Klineberg RJ. Case-control study of risk factors for hip fractures in the elderly. Am J Epidemiol 1994;139:493-505.
71. Huang Z, Himes JH, McGovern PG. Nutrition and subsequent hip fracture risk among a national cohort of white women. Am J Epidemiol 1996;144:124-34.
72. Cummings SR, Nevitt MC, Browner WS, et al. Risk factors for hip fracture in white women. N Engl J Med 1995;332:767-73.
73. Finn SC. The skeleton crew: is calcium enough? J Women’s Health 1998;7(1):31-6.
74. Nordin CBE. Calcium and osteoporosis. Nutrition 1997;3(7/8):664-86.
75. Reid DM, New SA. Nutritional influences on bone mass. Proceed Nutr Soc 1997;56:977-87.
76. Tucker KL, Hannan MR, Chen H, Cupples LA, Wilson PWF, Kiel DP. Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69:727-36.
77. Prince R, Devine A, Dick I, et al. The effects of calcium supplementation (milk powder or tablets) and exercise on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. J Bone Miner Res 1995;10:1068-75.
78. The Cornell-China-Oxford Project. The China Study- Dr. T .Colin Campbell 2006

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Arsenic Levels High in Chickens

Arsenic in Chicken

After reviewing 5000 chicken samples, researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service recently reported alarmingly high levels of arsenic contamination in the flesh of broiler chickens[1] These government researchers found that the amount of arsenic in chicken greatly exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency's new upper safety limit of arsenic allowed in drinking water. In fact, the amount of arsenic found in chicken was 6 to 9 times that allowed by the EPA. A "bucket" of Kentucky Fried Chicken would be expected to have up to almost fifty times the amount of arsenic allowed in a glass of water.[2]

How did the arsenic get into the chickens? The poultry industry fed it to them. Most broiler chickens (which constitute 99% of the chicken meat that people eat) are fed arsenic in the United States[3,4] Although fish and shellfish also present significant dietary sources of arsenic,[6] according to the Food and Drug Administration arsenic compounds are extensively added to the feed of animals--particularly chickens and pigs--to make them grow faster.[5] The animals Americans eat are so heavily infested with internal parasites that adding arsenic to the feed can result in a "stunning" increase in growth rates.[7]

Dr. Ellen Silbergeld, a researcher from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, said the poultry industry's practice of using arsenic compounds in its feed is something that has not been studied. "It's an issue everybody is trying to pretend doesn't exist," she said.[8] "Arsenic acted as a growth stimulant in chickens -- develops the meat faster -- and since then, the poultry industry has gone wild using this ingredient," says Donald Herman, a Mississippi agricultural consultant and former Environmental Protection Agency researcher who has studied this use of arsenic for a decade. "And they've tried everything to refrain it from becoming public knowledge,".[9]

The poultry industry argues that the organic form of arsenic given to chickens isn't toxic.[10] "This study appears to be much ado about nothing," says Richard Lobb, the public relations Director of the National Chicken Council. He says the less toxic form of arsenic is "used responsibly and safely by poultry producers."[11] The researchers, however, found not only elevated levels of organic arsenic in chicken meat, they found elevated levels of the highly toxic inorganic form typically used only in insecticides and weed killers.[12] And cooking the muscles of these animals may create additional toxic arsenic by-products.[13]

Inorganic arsenic is considered one of the prominent environmental causes of cancer mortality in the world.[14] Arsenic is a human carcinogen linked to liver, lung, skin, kidney, bladder and prostate cancers. It can also cause neurological, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and immune system abnormalities. Diabetes has also been linked to arsenic exposure.[15]

The feeding of arsenic to chickens in the U.S. releases hundreds of tons of arsenic into the environment every year in the form of poultry manure which is spread on fields as fertilizer.[16] In fact there's currently a coalition of families suffering serious health conditions suing chicken producers like Tyson after research showed cancer rates as much as 50 times above the national average in communities neighboring factory farmed poultry operations.

The February 2004 Medical Letter on the CDC & FDA concludes "Chicken consumption may contribute significant amounts of arsenic to total arsenic exposure of the U.S. population..." Levels of arsenic in chicken are so high that other sources may have to be monitored carefully to prevent undue toxic exposure among the population.[17]

1 Environmental Health Perspectives 112(2004):18.
2 One KFC bucket contains 3 legs, 3 breasts, 3 wings and 3 thighs [] weighing a total of 1176 grams [] containing up to 108.5 mcg of inorganic arsenic [Environmental Health Perspectives 112(2004):18] exceeding to EPA limit on an 8oz. glass of water by a factor of 48.4 [EPA 815- Z- 01- 001].
3 Momplaisir, G. M; C. G. Rosal; E. M. Heithmar ˆíArsenic Speciation Methods for Studying the Environmental Fate of Organoarsenic Animal- Feed Additives,ˆì U. S. EPA, NERL- Las Vegas, 2001; (TIM No. 01- 11)
4 Medical Letter on the CDC & FDA February 1, 2004
5 Momplaisir, G. M; C. G. Rosal; E. M. Heithmar ˆíArsenic Speciation Methods for Studying the Environmental Fate of Organoarsenic Animal- Feed Additives,ˆì U. S. EPA, NERL- Las Vegas, 2001; (TIM No. 01- 11)
6 Ibid.
7 Texas Lawyer, January 23, 1995
8 Daily Times (Salisbury, MD) January 4, 2004
9 Texas Lawyer, January 23, 1995
10 Daily Times (Maryland) 11 January 2004.
11 Health Day News 19 January 2004.
12 Environmental Health Perspectives 112(2004):18.
13 Hanaoka, K., Goessler, W., Ohno, H., Irgolic, K. J., and Kaise, T., (2001). Formation of toxic arsenical in roasted muscles of marine animals, Appl. Organometal. Chem., 15: 61- 66.
14 Smith, A.H., C. Hopenhayn-Rich, M.L. Bates, H.M. Goeden, I. HertzPicciotto, H.M. Duggan, R. Wood, M.J. Kosnett, and M.T. Smith. 1992. Cancer risks from arsenic in drinking water. Environmental Health Perspectives 97, 259-267.
15 Momplaisir, G. M; C. G. Rosal; E. M. Heithmar ˆíArsenic Speciation Methods for Studying the Environmental Fate of Organoarsenic Animal- Feed Additives,ˆì U. S. EPA, NERL- Las Vegas, 2001; (TIM No. 01- 11)
16 Ibid.
17 Medical Letter on the CDC & FDA February 1, 2004

A penny's worth of cinnamon a day Lowers Cholesterol as Well as Drugs and Improves Blood Sugar Control

Cinnamon: Spice Up Your Life

Most of us remember the blueberry story that soaked the press several years ago describing the antioxidant power of the berry's blue pigment. The anti-cancer properties of blueberries literally... come out of the blue. Whether we were talking about the orange beta carotene in sweet potatoes, or the red lycopene in tomatoes, the colors themselves are the antioxidants.

The blueberry study tested only 40 fruits and vegetables, though. Newer data shows that blueberries, the previous "number one" antioxidant food, got their little blue butts kicked down to number six. Just when we thought blueberries were the winners, someone tested walnuts, which then took the lead. And now, just when walnuts were getting cocky, someone looked at herbs and spices, which almost all blow walnuts out of the water. We now know that lots of the flavor compounds in herbs are powerful antioxidants as well. The flavors are the antioxidants. So there's these compounds called gingerols. Guess where they're found? Don't forget rosmarinic acid... So for maximum nutrition we should eat colorful and flavorful foods.

On a per weight basis herbs and spices rule the plant kingdom, but how many grams of cloves can people eat? And just because herbs and spices are at the top of the antioxidant ladder doesn't necessarily translate into clinical benefit. While U.S. scientists continued to tinker our tax dollars away force-feeding rodents blueberry pulp, researchers in Pakistan had the novel idea of actually studying human beings.

Researchers took 30 men and 30 women--all with type II diabetes--and gave half of them capsules containing cinnamon and half of them placebo capsules. After 40 days, those eating just 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon a day not only had significantly better blood sugar control, but their cholesterol dropped almost 30%--that's like what you see in cholesterol-lowering drugs!

Why hasn't this study been plastered all over the front pages? It was certainly published in a prestigious American medical journal. Perhaps it's because, although the statin medications net drug companies billions in profit every year, a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon costs me less than a penny a day in the bulk bin at my local co-op. And the research suggests that even just a pinch a day (less than 1/8 teaspoon) might have a similar effect.[6]. Are other spices as medicinal as cinnamon? I guess we'll just have to wait for the government of Pakistan to fund more studies.

[6] Diabetes Care 26(12):3215.

Dairy Proteins Linked to Multiple Sclerosis

Milk and Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a devastating disease characterized by your immune system attacking the insulation of your own nerve cells, causing unpredictable short-circuiting within your nervous system, which commonly interferes with vision, speech and mobility.

But why would your immune system do such a thing? We know that other diseases of so-called immune "autoaggression" may be caused by something called "molecular mimicry," in which a foreign protein looks just like one of the body's own proteins. So then when the body makes antibodies against the foreign invader, it also unintentionally makes antibodies against some of the body's own proteins.

For example, there is a protein in bovine milk that looks like a protein in the human pancreas, and so human babies exposed to the milk of cows may try to fend off the foreign bovine protein and, in doing so, destroy their pancreas's ability to produce insulin, leading to type I diabetes.

Numerous population-based studies around the world have linked multiple sclerosis to dairy product consumption,[1-3] but cause and effect could never be proven. So a prestigious research team of German, Swedish, British and American scientists set out study bovine milk proteins and see if they could find any milk protein that cross-reacted with human nerve-sheath proteins. And for the first time ever, they found it.[4]

If a milk protein is causing or contributing to multiple sclerosis, why don't more people come down with the disease? Like all diseases, susceptibility has both a genetic and an environmental component. We don't know why in some people the bovine milk protein is able to sneak through the blood-brain barrier into the central nervous system and potentially trigger an inflammatory response that ends with your own nerves as victims of collateral damage.

This research is still in the preliminary stage, and blaming dairy for multiple sclerosis remains speculative, but evidence is mounting that this disabling disease may just be yet another problem inherent to humans eating the bodies and body fluids of fellow mammals.

[1] Medical hypotheses 19(1986):169.
[2] Neuroepidemiology 11(1992):304.
[3] Annals of Neurology 49(1997):55.
[4] Journal of Immunology 172(2004):661.

Fish During Pregnancy Places 600,000 American Children At Risk for Lowered IQ and Learning Disabilities

Fish Contamination, Pregnancy and Cognitive Development

Each year in the U.S., up to 600,000 children are born at risk for lower intelligence and learning problems due to mercury exposure because their mothers ate fish. That's the number of children the Environmental Protection Agency estimated to be at risk in an analysis published last month using data from the Centers for Disease Control. This is double the Agency's previous estimate.[1]

This study follows on the heels of the joint FDA/EPA advisory in March, which warned young children, pregnant and breast-feeding women, or even women just planning to get pregnant to severely limit the consumption of many types of fish like canned tuna, and to stay away from some fish completely, like swordfish, mackerel, etc. Still, many scientists didn't think the advisory went far enough.

After learning that the FDA was going to "disregard" science[2] and allow women to eat a whole can of albacore tuna once a week, one leading FDA advisory panel expert resigned in protest. University of Arizona toxicologist Vas Aposhian said the advisory should have put more stringent limits on all canned tuna and warned women who might get pregnant to avoid albacore tuna entirely, claiming that "The new recommendations are dangerous to 99 percent of pregnant women and their unborn children.[3] "It seems that one should be more concerned about the health of the future children of this country," he said, "than the albacore tuna industry.".[4]

The hundreds of thousands of babies born every year in the U.S. to the one in six women with enough mercury in their blood to put their babies at risk suffer most often subtle losses in potential. Although mercury can cause irreparable damage to the human central nervous system and has been found to deform fetuses, more often, "It might reduce IQ by a few points," says Dr. Michael Gochfeld, chairman of New Jersey's mercury task force. "It might reduce motor coordination, so that this child is someone we think of as a klutz. It might make them unmusical."[5]

Studies have shown that children born to mothers who ate a lot of fish were slower to talk, walk and develop fine motor skills and have weaker memories and attention spans. And the brain damage is apparently permanent. Follow-up studies over a decade later showed that their brains had not recovered.

The tuna industry feels that tuna is being unfairly singled out and is quick to point out that "almost all ocean fish and seafood naturally contain trace levels of mercury."[6] One such leading "natural" source is the smoke that pours from coal-burning plants across the U.S. And this past Earth Day it was the coal and power industry executives that were celebrating.

Lost in Bush's "war on terror" is Bush's war on the Clean Air Act. As part of Bush's "Clear Skies Initiative," the Bush White House proposes to weaken and delay efforts to clean up mercury emissions from America's power stations, thus saving millions for their corporate campaign contributors. The energy industry alone contributed $40 million to Republican election campaigns, including $1.3 million directly to Bush. And they got their money's worth.

Last December as the EPA signed the first proposal ever to cut mercury emissions from coal plants, Bush was busy proposing mercury be delisted as a toxic air pollutant. The EPA was hoping to cut mercury emissions 90% by 2008. Bush had a better idea--how about 70% by 2018? Bush's plan would also allow coal plants to buy and sell pollution credits; in other words, bigger plants could buy the right to continue emitting mercury.

At the same time, Bush is applauding Congress for passing the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which makes harm to a fetus a federal crime separate from harm to the mother. Of course Bush's "Clear Skies Initiative" is going to mean harm for both.

We have until June 29th to make our voices heard. Go to to submit comments to the EPA about their proposed Utility Mercury Reductions Rule.

On a personal level, people can reduce their exposure to mercury by not eating fish. In a recent public relations blitz, Chicken of the Sea International was quick to point out the heart-healthy benefits of the omega 3's found in fish. Thankfully people don't need to choose between mercury poisoning or heart disease.

For adults, mercury overload from eating fish can cause fatigue and memory loss--something clinicians often call "fish fog". Mercury poisons the heart and may double one's risk of dying from a heart attack. In fact, the mercury contamination in fish and fish oil may be so extensive that some recent data suggests that it may cancel out the benefits of the omega 3's in the fish. There are a number of studies, for example, showing increased mortality among fish-eaters, which we think is from the toxic mercury. Thankfully, plant-based sources of omega 3's provide a safe and healthy alternative.

Our bodies convert some of the short chain omega 3's found in flax seeds, for example, into the long chain omega 3's found in fish fat, so one can choose to get omega 3's packaged with soluble fiber and antioxidants in flax, rather than getting them packaged with heavy metals and carcinogens in fish. Many Doctors recommend everyone eat 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds a day (thorough chewing works well also).

For those who want to take supplemental long chain omega 3's directly, but don't want to be exposed to the high concentrations of PCBs and pesticides in fish oil capsules,[7] there are at least two vegan algae-based contamination-free supplements in veggie-caps currently on the market.

[1] Environmental Health Perspectives 112(April 2004).
[2] Connecticut Post (Bridgeport, CT). March 20, 2004.
[3] The Boston Globe. March 20, 2004.
[4] USA TODAY. March 22, 2004.
[5] Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin). April 12, 2004.
[6] Greenwire. March 22, 2004.
[7] Times Newspapers Limited, January 11, 2004

Rocket Fuel in Milk Could Harm Children

Rocket Fuel in Milk

The headline in the San Francisco Chronicle pretty much summed it up: "Rocket fuel found in milk in California: Not clear if amount imperils children."[1]

For decades the Pentagon has been contaminating the drinking water of hundreds of U.S. communities across at least 43 states with ammonium perchlorate, the main explosive component of solid missile fuel.[2]Utah, where NASA and the military test their rockets, recently saw a local news broadcast wherein grocery store milk samples were randomly tested and all turned up alarming levels of perchlorate. Not surprisingly, the Bush Administration, despite the fact that every milk sample taken in Bush's home state of Texas was also found to be perchlorate contaminated,[3] attempted once again this year[4] to exempt chemical companies and military contractors like Lockheed Martin and Morton Thiokol from cleaning up this toxic waste which, as Senator Barbara Boxer noted, is "endangering the health of millions of Americans."[5]

Perchlorate leaches into the irrigation water used to grow feed crops for cattle who can then concentrate this agent into their milk. Testing milk off California grocery store shelves for the first time, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently found that infants and children may be exposed to more of this toxic chemical than is considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)[6] and other independent scientific bodies.[7] The average 1-year-old in Southern California, for example, is estimated to be getting twice the EPA's "provisional daily safe dose." The EWG also unearthed previously unreleased tests done by the California Food and Agriculture Department that found an average level of perchlorate contamination in California milk over 5 times the EPA safety standard. Cheese, yogurt and other dairy products are likely to be as contaminated as milk.[8]

Scientists know that at the levels that were found in milk, perchlorate can affect a baby's ability to make essential thyroid hormones.[9,10] What we don't know is if the disruptions in thyroid hormone levels caused by milk would be enough to cause the lowered IQ, mental retardation, loss of hearing and speech, and motor skill deficits seen in thyroid deficient fetuses, infants, and children.

The spokesperson for the state's $4.5 billion dairy industry agrees with the California Ag department that there is a "paucity of science" as to the potential effects of children drinking rocket fuel chemicals.[11]Government and industry both admit, though, that there could be some risk, but that moms and kids should NOT stop drinking milk because of all its "calcium, protein and minerals."[12] Is that the choice our children get? Rocket fuel or malnutrition? Pouring fortified SOY milk on one's cereal, kids can get comparable amounts of protein and calcium and even more minerals--without the toxic waste.Rice milk, almond milk, oatmilk, hazelnut milk and soy, are available in stores everywhere. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the healthier choice.

1 San Francisco Chronicle 22 June 2004.
6 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2002. Perchlorate Environmental Contamination. NCEA-1-0503.
7 Massachusetts Department Of Environmental Protection (MADEP). 2004a. Perchlorate Toxicological Profile And Health Assessment (Final Draft). Office of Research and Standards. May 2004. Available at
8 Los Angeles Times 22 June 2004
9 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 42(2000):777.
10 [24] Schwartz, J. 2001. Gestational exposure to perchlorate is associated with measures of decreased thyroid function in a population of California neonates [thesis]. Berkeley, CA: University of California.
11 Associated Press 22 June 2004.
12 Los Angeles Times 22 June 2004.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Hotdogs and Cured Meats Linked to Chlidhood Brain Tumors

Childhood Brain Tumors and Maternal Diet

Cancer is second only to accidents as a leading cause of death for our children these days. Brain tumors are the most common solid form of pediatric cancer. The development of childhood brain tumors is a chief reason why pregnant women no longer get X-rayed. Evidence has been building, though, that the mother's diet during pregnancy also plays a significant role.

Nitrites are found naturally in cigarette smoke and are artificially added to cured meats like bacon and bologna. They increase the shelf life of lunch meats, but seem to decrease the human life of those that consume them. They also may cause brain tumors.

A recent review of ten major epidemiological studies found that eight of them showed significant associations between maternal intake of cured meats during pregnancy and the risk of giving birth to a baby that would develop a brain tumor, usually within the first 5 years of life. Mothers eating lots of foods like sausages, ham, hot dogs, etc. had up to 6 times higher risk. The nitrites in meat under extreme chemical conditions (like in the acidity of the stomach) react with amides like creatine and creatinine (also found in meat) to create potent carcinogens called nitrosamides. The researcher suspect that the "nitrosamides formed endogenously in the mother's stomach could also be transported transplacentally to the brain of the embryo or fetus, passing the blood brain barrier, and resulting in brain tumor development in the child."[18]

In terms of other dietary factors, most of the studies that measured fruit and vegetable intake found (not surprisingly) that both fruit and vegetable intake during pregnancy seemed protective. Not all plant foods were found protective, though. A study published last month from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, found that unhealthy plant foods like french fries may also increase risk.[19] But otherwise, fruits and vegetables were found protective across a wide variety of tumors. One study published Summer 2005, for example, found that fruits and vegetable consumption even proved protective against retinoblastoma, a rare form of brain tumor that forms on the back of the eye and for which treatment typically requires the removal of one or both of the child's eyes.[20]

[18] Dietrich M, et al. 2005. A review: dietary and endogenously formed N-nitroso compounds and risk of childhood brain tumors. Cancer Causes and Control 16(2005):619-35.
[19] Bunin GR. Maternal diet during pregnancy and its association with medulloblastoma in children. Cancer Causes and Control (2005) 16:877-91.
[20] Orjuela MA, et al. 2005. Fruit and vegetable intake during pregnancy and risk for development of sporadic retinoblastoma. Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention 14(6):1433-40.

Dr Dean Ornish Takes on Cancer

Ornish Takes on Cancer

Until Dean Ornish published his landmark study in 1990, most cardiologists saw heart disease as an inexorable part of old age and treated it largely palliatively, going to great lengths--even open heart surgery--to alleviate the pain and disability. What Dr. Ornish showed was that heart disease could be not only slowed down, but actually reversed with a plant-based diet and other lifestyle changes.[1] People learned they could quite literally take their life in their own hands and cure themselves of a debilitating life-threatening disease once thought incurable. The broader implication, of course, was that a plant-based diet could potentially prevent heart disease in the first place.

Largely ignoring the evidence Ornish presented, physicians of today, however, continue to talk of merely decreasing the risk of heart disease. As Dr. William Roberts, editor of the American Journal of Cardiology, points out "Pediatricians do not focus on decreasing the risk of mumps, measles, pertussis, or rheumatic fever. They focus on preventing these illnesses entirely. The same concept needs to be applied to atherosclerotic events."[2] Having demonstrated we could prevent and cure our number one killer without drugs and surgery, Ornish has now decided to take on killer number two, cancer.

Ornish knew that many plant foods--certain vegetables, tomato products, and soy--seem to reduce one's risk of prostate cancer and many animal foods--namely milk, cheese, eggs, fish[3] and other meat--have been shown to increase one's risk of dying from prostate cancer.[4] So Ornish wondered what would happen if he took patients who already had cancer and fed them a strictly plant-based diet--"predominantly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and soy products." As prostate cancer is the number one cancer among men, the Department of Defense provided funding for the study.

Ornish found 93 men with early biopsy-proven prostate cancer who volunteered to forgo radiation, chemo and surgery. He then randomized the cancer patients into lifestyle modification group, which included a strictly plant-based diet along with other healthy behaviors such as walking 30 minutes six days a week, or a control group which just watched and waited. A year later the results were tallied and published in the September 2005 issue of the Journal of Urology, the official journal of the American Urological Association.

By the end of the year-long study, six of the control group patients had dropped out because their tumors were growing. MRI's or diagnostic tests of cancer activity showed that their tumors were growing at such a rate that they decided they could wait no longer and opted for a combination of radical surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Not one of the vegan diet group suffered the same fate. In fact, while on average cancer activity increased in the control group, as measured by PSA tests, the cancer markers decreased in the lifestyle modification group. By the end of the year the cancer growth rate, as measured by these tests, was highly significantly different between the two groups. For those on the plant-based diet, the cancer markers were going down.[5]

These results are nothing short of revolutionary. "This is the first randomized trial showing that the progression of prostate cancer can be stopped or perhaps even reversed by changing diet and lifestyle alone," Ornish told the Washington Post.[6] Cancer takes years--sometimes even decades--to grow. The fact that one might be able to make a difference this late in the game is astounding. If you smoke and get lung cancer, even if you choose to then finally stop smoking, it is very often too little, far too late. The cancer is already there and chances are it will still kill you. How could dietary changes have such a dramatic effect in people already diagnosed with cancer? Maybe a vegan diet boosts the cancer-fighting arm of your immune system? Ornish and his fellow researchers were intent on finding out.

The researchers took flasks of human cancer cells and incubated them with the blood taken from the cancer patients at the year's end. The blood serum taken from those that did nothing but watch and wait for a year only weakly inhibited the cancer cells, reducing their growth by only 9%. But the serum taken from those who spent the past year on the plant-based diet inhibited cancer growth 70%, almost an 8-fold difference! And Ornish found that the closer the patients stuck to the program, the better their results were--the more their own cancer seemed to be dwindling and the better their own blood was at killing cancer cells in the lab.

Dr. Ornish may have been naive to think that the cardiology profession would embrace his earlier work demonstrating as essentially unnecessary the majority of procedures by which cardiac surgeons derived their income. He was prepared, however, for the backlash from urologists, who's bread and butter include radical prostatectomies and brachytherapy (the implantion of radioactive pellets in through the rectum). One urologist attached a note to Ornish's paper trying to downplay the fact that the diet group's blood serum was so much more efficient in killing cancer cells. "Experimental serum seemed to contain something that differentially inhibited cell line growth but so what?" the urologist wrote. "Just because these serums were different does not mean that there were good. They might have also killed normal cells."

This shows how mired some physicians remain in the slash and burn mentality that too often typifies allopathic medicine. Ornish responded "Although it is true that chemotherapy and radiation may kill normal as well cancerous cells, we are not aware of any evidence that fruits vegetables, whole grains, legumes and soy products kill normal cells." He then of course goes on to cite all the evidence that in fact the reverse is more likely the case, as many of the phytonutrients in whole plant foods are actually protective of normal cells.[7]

Typical side-effects of conventional prostate cancer treatments are impotence and incontinence. What were the side-effects of the diet and lifestyle group? First off, a highly significant improvement in their cholesterol--dramatically decreasing the risk of these men dying from a heart attack while they were waiting for their cancers to disappear. The same diet that prevents heart disease also prevents cancer. And diabetes, and obesity, and hypertension, and constipation, diverticulitis, appendicitis--the list goes on and on. Yeah, but how was the quality of life of those undertaking these "intensive" lifestyle changes? I have often had patients jokingly ask if they are going to live longer on a healthy diet or is it just going to seem longer. But patients in this study dramatically changing their diet reported a marked improvement in quality of life overall. As Dean Ornish put it, "While fear of dying may not be a sustainable motivator, joy of living often is."[8]

[1] Ornish D, et al. 1990. Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease? The Lifestyle Heart Trial. Lancet 336(8708):129-33.
[2] Roberts WC. 1999. Shifting from decreasing risk to actually preventing and arresting atherosclerosis. American Journal of Cardiology 83(5):816-7.
[3] Allen NE, et al. 2004. A prospective study of diet and prostate cancer in Japanese men. Cancer Causes Control 15(9):911-20.
[4] Snowdon DA, Phillips RL, and W Choi. Diet, obesity, and risk of fatal prostate cancer. American Journal of Epidemiology 120(1984):244-50.
[5] Ornish D, et al. 2005. Intensive lifestyle changes may affect the progression of prostate cancer. Journal of Urology. 174:1065-70.
[6] Stein R. Diet, exercise and reduced stress slow prostate cancer. Washington Post, August 11, 2005: A06.
[7] Ornish D, et al. 2005. Intensive lifestyle changes may affect the progression of prostate cancer. Journal of Urology. 174:1065-70.
[8] Ornish D. 2002. Statins and the soul of medicine. American Journal of Cardiology 89(11):1286-90.

Clinical Review of Plant Based Athletes

The July/August/04 issue of the journal Nutrition had a review on the "Nutritional Considerations for Vegetarian Athletes." The last comprehensive review of athletic performance and vegetarianism was over 5 years ago.[14] Not much has changed.

There still hasn't been a single well-controlled long-term study on the effects of vegetarian or vegan diets on athletes, but the best science we have so far suggests that there are no consistent differences in strength, fitness, or performance between vegetarian and nonvegetarian athletes. Vegetarian athletes seem to perform just as well as their flesh-eating counterparts.[15]

The review addressed the role of creatine. Creatine is a compound found in your muscles that your body produces to facilitate quick bursts of energy. People who eat the muscles of others--meat-eaters--tend to build up higher levels of creatine than vegetarians. While this has not been shown to offer a competitive advantage, there is some evidence that massive creatine supplementation may offer additional benefit for vegetarian athletes who may have lower baseline levels.[16,17] The level of creatine supplementation typically used, however, is the equivalent of eating about 10 pounds of meat a day,[18] the safety of which has not been established.[19] The review concludes that "the most prudent conclusion is that more data on the long-term safety profile are needed before creatine supplementation can be endorsed for athletes, vegetarians, or others."[20]

[14] American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 70(1999):532S
[15] Nutrition 20(2004):696
[16] European Journal of Applied Physiology 82(2000):321
[17] Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 35(2003):1946
[18] Sports Medicine 18(1994):268
[19] Journal of the American Dietetic Association 99(1999):593
[20] Nutrition 20(2004):696

Pomegranates Reverse Arteriosclerosis

Reversing Arteriosclerosis with Pomegranate Juice

Folk medicine has been extolling the medicinal qualities of pomegranates for thousands of years. Modern science has been a bit slow catching up, but with the fruit's intense ruby red color, it should come as no surprise it has topped the antioxidant charts, blowing blueberries right out of the water. But Israeli researchers have just permanently placed pomegranates on the map with a landmark study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition.[7]

The researchers took a group of people coming into a vascular surgery clinic with severe carotid artery blockage--the arteries in their neck providing blood flow to their brain were 70-90% obstructed. Half of the patients were then instructed to drink a little less than a quarter cup of pomegranate juice every day for a year.

At the end of the year, the arteriosclerotic plaques in the arteries of those who did nothing predictably worsened, thickening 9%, closing their arteries off even further. But in the pomegranate juice group, after just 3 months the plaques in their arteries shrank 13%. By 9 months the plaque was down 26%. And after one year of drinking less than a quarter cup of pomegranate juice a day, the arteriosclerotic lesions were 35% reversed. The investigators attribute the anti-arteriosclerotic properties of pomegranates to the antioxidant polyphenols.

So should we start forking out $4 a bottle for that "Pom Wonderful" juice that started popping up in grocery stores? Well, you can get cheaper (and organic!) pomegranate juice in your natural food store, but the whole fruit is always preferable to juice--you get the additional benefits of the fiber and other nutrition discarded during processing. Expect to start seeing pomegranates in your local produce section as the growing season peaks around October.

Dairy and Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer and Milk

Prostate cancer is now the single most common cancer among men in the United States and is on the rise in almost every country in the world as they adopt a more meat and dairy centered diet.[4] Does drinking cow milk really increase a man's risk for developing this killer cancer, though? Yes, according to a meta-analysis of 11 independent studies published summer 2004. Milk-drinking men seem to have about a 70% greater chance of developing cancer of the prostate. In fact the case against milk is so strong and consistent that even if 50 new studies came out all failing to show any link between milk and prostate cancer, the balance of evidence would still indict milk as a significant cancer risk factor.[5]

Although the butterfat in dairy may play a role, the researchers blame the hormones in milk as the likely culprit. "Because commercial milk is mainly produced by pregnant cows in developed countries," the researchers claim, "it contains considerable amounts of estrogen." Combined with other growth hormones in the milk designed to make a calf gain 100 pounds in 50 days,[6] cow milk may promote the growth of hormone-sensitive cancers.

Milk is for babies.

[4] European Journal of Cancer 37(2001):S4
[5] Nutrition and Cancer 48(2004):22
[6] NorthEast DairyBusiness August 2002:24

Full-Fat Salad Dressings Healthier than Fat-Free

Full-Fat Salad Dressings Healthier than Fat-Free

There is a public misconception that all fat is bad for you. In reality, there are good fats (those found in nuts), bad fats (saturated animal fat), great fats (omega-3's found in flax seeds) and killer fats (trans fats found in both animal fat and hydrogenated oils used in processed foods). Although experiments on nonhuman animals show conflicting results (as usual), the human data is quite good. For example in the Harvard Nurse's Study, after following over 75,000 women for a decade, those that put oil and vinegar dressing on their daily salad had less than half the cardiac mortality compared to those who, for instance, used fat-free dressings. They cut their risk of dying from a fatal heart attack in half with Italian dressing! Those that used dairy or egg-based creamy dressings, of course, had zero benefit.[1]

Canola oil-based salad dressings are an important source of omega-3 fatty acids in this country. For example, one tablespoon of Annie's Goddess Dressing contains about 25% of your daily recommended omega-3 intake--add a tablespoon of ground flax seeds or a handful of walnuts to your salad and you're basically set for the day.

The Harvard researchers are concerned about people switching over to fat-free dressings. They conclude their report with the sentence "Our findings suggest that a reduction in consumption of foods such as oil-based salad dressings... may increase the risk of fatal ischemic heart disease."[2]

Eating a source of fat with your salad greens (or any vegetable for that matter), also helps the absorption of critical nutrients. Your intestines require the presence of fat to absorb carotenoid phytonutrients like beta-carotene and lycopene. A new study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that fat is essential.[3]

Researchers at the University of Iowa gave people nice salads containing spinach, romaine lettuce, grated carrots and cherry tomatoes. With the dark green leafy spinach in there, the salad was just packed with cancer-fighting antioxidant carotenoids, but it's not what you eat, it's what you absorb. And the researchers found that "Essentially no absorption of carotenoids was observed when salads with fat-free salad dressings were consumed." So be sure to include some source of fat at your meals. The healthiest sources of fat, of course, are from unrefined whole foods. So by adding nuts and seeds or avocado to your meal you not only get all their nutritional benefit, but you enhance your absorption of other nutrients in the rest of the meal.

Don't be a fatphobe :)
[1 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 69(1999):890
[2] American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 69(1999):890
[3] American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 80(2004):396

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Nutrition 101 / 7 Principles for Perfect Nutrition

The Principles

1. Cover the Bases / Give the body what it wants

Outside of advertising and food addictions, the body only wants what it needs, and it will scream until it gets it! Like a child, only when satisfied, is it peaceful. Cravings, and hunger pangs are all important players tied in to our self preservation mechanisms; they are there to keep us alive! They go away only when we are truly satisfied or dead. We must understand that the body requires both nutrients and calories, and that they frequently are not found together.

The biggest game going in food manufacturing today is that of providing lots of calories and no nutrition. By doing this, food companies are able to insure that we eat more, and in turn increase their profits. Remember the body wants what it needs. If we do not get the nutrients we need it does not matter how many calories we get, we will keep eating. If we do not get enough carbohydrate the body will hit us with cravings for sugar. Many Americans are deficient in essential fats, and likely have fat cravings as a result. When we restrict fat, all too often we just end up with worse cravings for it then before we started our diet. If we are deficient in vitamins or other nutrients we will generally be hungry all of the time.

These are the fundamental reasons why dieting doesn’t work. It is not so much an issue of excess, as it is an issue of deficiency. We have many overfed people in this country who are actually seriously malnourished. We are kept hungry. If we are focused on calories instead of nutrients, the tendency is to blame ourselves, for not burning enough calories. This sort of self blame frequently leads to emotional eating, otherwise known as eating disorders. All too often the responsibility is not that of weak will, but that of strong survival instincts responding to a food supply that is processed, cooked, packaged, preserved, re-cooked, void of anything but calories and dead. The best way to overcome this is by eating a wide variety of nutrient rich foods, and by following the second and third principles.

The second biggest game going in the world of commercial foods is addiction. This should come as no surprise considering the role tobacco companies now play in American food production. It probably does however come as a shocker that the biggest player in the world of addiction is actually the dairy industry. Yes, the dairy folks! All mammalian milk contains a substance to insure that the infant will stay with the mother for its food. These substances are called opioids, and are a close relative of opiates. The larger the animal the greater the concentration, in cow milk it is about 1/10th the potency of morphine. It is highly addictive. When we make cheese, we concentrate the casein which is where the stuff is found. It takes 40lbs. of milk to produce one pound of Cheddar, and 120lbs. to produce hard cheeses like Parmesan, Asiago, or Romano. That is the real power of cheese. It is good to know that casein has now become a popular food additive. It is now sprayed on chips and crackers, put in cakes, drinks and ice cream, and is even found in bread.

Combinations of fats and refined sugars are also highly addictive. Fast food menus and commercial food recipes take full advantage of this subtle chemistry.

Because the body requires primarily carbohydrates or sugars, nature was kind and dedicated the majority of our taste buds to sweet tasting. Enter commercial food interests, suddenly sugar is added to everything from bread to ketchup, and we are at their mercy. If you want something sweet make it count, eat a piece of pie. Overloading the diet with sugar from breads and other “hidden” sources makes less room for them when we would really like to enjoy a treat.

The carbohydrates we eat become the sugars in our blood. Blood sugar levels largely determine our energy levels. The main idea here is to maintain blood sugar levels by eating the right carbohydrates at the right time. Carbohydrate must be eaten with fiber. Think of fiber as a time-release for carbs. Without it we get too much too fast. Fruit is the ultimate source of carbs because the sugars are the same simple sugars the body uses, no conversion process or digestion required like there is with grains and other sources of complex carbohydrates. Fruit is also packed with fiber. All of it is. In my opinion the human diet should include huge amounts of fresh fruit .Because fruit is so simple, and so readily absorbed by the body, it is best to eat it in the A.M. before we put anything else in. If we do this we really maximize the benefits of fruit.

When planning our carbohydrate consumption it is important to consider the fact that complex carbohydrates, except for fruit, typically take hours to digest. Timing the consumption of fruits, grains, and legumes should allow us to avoid the low energy periods so commonly experienced during the day.

So how much protein, fat and carbohydrate does the body need? I can almost guarantee that this will come as a surprise. If we are not over or under consuming calories, on a daily basis, roughly 70-80 percent of calories are used as fuel, which means carbohydrate. 10-15% of calories should each come from proteins and fats. Working within these ratios is where I spend my time with athletes, as well as those with serious health issues. These ratios consistently produce stunning results.

2. Eat plant based.

There are growing lists of reasons to eat plant based foods. Science continues to pile up the evidence from just about every angle. Eating plant based foods means an automatic shift down the food chain. Eating further down the food chain gets us out of the way of the vast majority of environmental contaminants, which build up in the tissues and body fluids of animals. Plant based diets have been recognized as the indicated way to eat by biochemists, anatomists, physiologists, and yes even paleontologists. They all agree that human beings are anatomically, physiologically, and biochemically, plant eaters. Geneticists recently discovered that plant based eaters have overall the least DNA damage compared to other groups. The less damage to DNA, the less likely the opportunity for mutations, and in turn lessens the risk of cancer.

We have been able to look at foods under the microscope for many years. We have mixed them with our salivary fluids, our digestive enzymes and acids. We can see with our own eyes which foods respond best to the conditions in the human digestive tract. This is not somebody’s opinion, it is hard science. Even the American Dietetics Association*, that is the organization of professional dieticians in this country, recognizes and recommends the many benefits of a plant based diet.

Eating the foods which support the body optimally allows the body to perform at its best. The immune system, lymphatic system, cardiovascular system, digestive system, and every chemical reaction carried out by the body is going to be facilitated instead of impaired. I wish that I could share with you all of the first hand experiences that I have seen with my clients. Cancer patients, whose immune systems are wreckage, end up managing their disease by changing their food choices. These battered individuals not only bounce back faster, but also dramatically increase their odds of surviving.

Athletes also have a great deal to gain from eating according to our genetic design. When the body is given its preferred fuel and building materials, everything works better. Initially, for most there is an almost instant gain in energy. As the toxic burdens are lifted we begin to function better. Strength is gained more rapidly, recovery time is decreased, and there is even a dramatic overall decline in the requirements for calories, everything is more efficient. The food manufacturers love me for saying this too.

Eating lower on the food chain actually reduces the amount of toxins entering the environment as well as the body! Plant based agriculture also is a more efficient way to produce food, which means we can feed many, many more people.

3. Eat whole foods.

What are whole foods? Whole foods, as I define them, are foods that are exactly as nature made them. No processing, engineering, cooking, preserving, or in other words, untouched by man. This also means food must be cultivated using only wholesome methods. Healthy food has been proven to come from healthy soil. The closer we get to this the better off we will be. When making food choices we can look at things and take steps. What I mean is that when faced with a food choice between pastas for example, we need to look for the whole grain blended, whole grain, and finally whole grain organic, would be best. Further, instead of pasta, which is refined, choose a dish made from whole grains or legumes. Rice, beans, and lentils can be prepared in an infinite number of delicious ways. For ultimate health, try eating your grains and legumes in a sprouted state.

Whole foods are bursting with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which protect us from disease. The more we process foods the greater the overall depletion of nutrients. Also, when cooking foods we cause chemical reactions in them, some of which produce carcinogens. A good rule of thumb is the darker the brown the more carcinogens. In other words, golden brown potatoes are less harmful than dark brown or burnt potatoes. The higher the cooking temperature, the more toxins build up. Avoid burning food.

Freshness and ripeness count heavily also. When making food choices, it is best to buy local. Look for farmers markets in your area, and shop what is in season wherever you shop. Ask the produce manager at your grocery store what is in season. I can’t think of anything more delicious than fresh ripe produce, and there is also nothing more disappointing than biting into something that was picked green, to make it ship and store better, and tastes like cardboard. Some foods ripen after picking better than others, following your nose will guide you to your top picks.

Backyard gardens are the ultimate way to go because they can take a huge chunk out of the food budget, while providing the freshest possible source of whole foods. I encourage everyone to look into the opportunities presented by keeping a personal garden. Many communities offer cooperative gardening opportunities, and have space available for apartment dwellers. Depending on how many people the garden is feeding, it may still save significant money to hire a landscape company to install and maintain one. Do the math for yourself and then team up with neighbors if possible.

Remember that taste follows freshness. We are on a quest for the best possible tasting food too.

4. Minimize toxins

We have already learned that processing foods can add toxins to them, but what about other sources of toxins in the diet? Toxins enter the picture from both internal sources, such as overeating, or improperly eating otherwise healthy nutrients, and from external sources, such as environmental toxins.

Internal toxins frequently result from improperly eating one or more of the macronutrients, fats, proteins, or carbohydrates. This includes problematic cooking methods.

Over consumption of protein requires the body to carry out a process called deamination. This causes ammonia to build up in the system, and becomes a tremendous burden for the liver and kidney’s. Eskimos, bodybuilders and Atkins dieters consistently over consume protein and are all prone to kidney and liver disease because of this. It is important to know that too much protein in the diet also makes us very acidic, particularly animal proteins.

In the study of osteoporosis we have learned that exercise strengthens bones.
Athletes as a group, even though they get all of this exercise, have a greater depletion of bone mass compared to non athletes, and they nearly all tend to over consume protein. Is it a coincidence that most of our “fitness” magazines are owned by huge corporations which primarily engage in selling protein?

Refined sugar and fats lead to toxic buildup. Artificial colors, sweeteners, flavor enhancers and chemical preservatives should be avoided.

High heat cooking is best minimized. Steaming, boiling and simmering are better picks compared to deep frying, broiling, etc. Animal flesh contains potentially carcinogenic compounds which can actually increase one's risk of developing breast and other cancers. The compounds in questions, heterocyclic amines, are produced during the cooking process of many animal products, including chicken, beef, pork, and fish. Meat that is cooked under normal conditions, which may involve grilling, frying, and oven-broiling, produce large quantities of these mutagens, though the effect does not appear to be the same for soy-based foods, which produce little or no carcinogens upon cooking.

In April 2002, scientists in Sweden discovered unexpectedly large amounts of the chemical acrylamide in foods rich in starch, which had been cooked at high temperatures. These included crackers, potato chips, bread and crisp breads. Acrylamide is known to cause cancer in animals and its presence in some foods may harm human health.

Food choices that may be good sources of nutrients on the one hand, may also be providing nutrients that the body would prefer not to ingest on the other. Good examples of these are cheeseburgers and steaks. Both supply fat, protein, iron, vitamin A, some B vitamins, Folic Acid, phosphorus, and the cheese, bun, condiments, and vegetables on the burger contain calcium, carbohydrate and fiber. However, these foods also contain uric acid, cholesterol, highly saturated fats, highly refined carbohydrates, viruses, bacteria and they break down in the system in ways that result in even more toxins forming.
Better choices would include soy products, beans, lentils, and meat analogs or veggie burgers. Black beans and kidney beans have about the same amount of protein per ounce as beef, but unlike beef they are low in fat, and also contain fiber, healthy carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorous, and have twenty five times the amount of folic acid as beef.

Environmental toxins are increasingly risky. Since up to 90% of cancer results from these toxins it is critical to know how to protect ourselves from them. The number one way for these chemicals to enter our bodies, except in extreme, rare cases, is through the foods we eat. Not from polluted air, or water, but FOOD.

Toxins build up in the food chain through a process known as bio-accumulation. Animals, including you and me, live in toxic environments, drink polluted water, and eat feed that has been grown using all types of hormones, petro-chemicals, and antibiotics. As animals are raised for slaughter they are exposed to some of the most toxic environments on earth, and continuously ingest pollutants. Depending on the lifespan of the animal we can be exposed to years of toxic buildup with every bite. This issue is made worse by the fact that in the U.S. we are still feeding slaughter house waste back to the animals, thus increasing the buildup of poisons exponentially.

Nowhere is this seen more prevalently than in fish populations. This should come as no surprise since the fish live in the water, and everything, and I mean everything, tends to end up there. It is especially bad when we look at the fact that the fish which are often eaten by humans are the large predatory fish. Large predator fish live on smaller predator fish, and so forth. This means that we get pollutants in unbelievable concentrations. Some of the most recent “fish findings” include rocket fuel solids, fire retardants, and entire populations unable to reproduce properly because bio-active feedlot hormones in the water are causing them to swap gender traits. In simpler terms, males taking on female traits and visa versa are making it difficult for the fish to reproduce. The real question here is if the hormones remain bioactive and effect fish, are they also affecting humans?

The threat of bio-accumulation is not isolated; it is prevalent in all animal foods, including dairy products. Plant foods on the other hand are different. Even though plants are exposed to all kinds of environmental toxins there are mechanisms built into them that prevent them from entering the plant. In the simplest terms, roots and leaves act as natural filters, they basically only take in what they are supposed to and nothing else. Obtaining our foods from these sources removes the largest exposure to toxins in our world, it is that simple. It is worth mentioning that the amount of poisonous residue that we might find on the outside of non organic foods is still a tiny fraction compared to the amounts found in animal foods. It is not even a comparison worth making.

The most toxic foods in the food chain are animal flesh, and animal body fluid foods. Specifically, beef, chicken, pork, salmon, tuna, lamb, yogurt, milk, cheese, butter, eggs, etc. I am not saying that everyone must give all of these foods up. I am saying that steps we can easily take away from these foods lead only to other equally, if not more pleasurable, food choices. The more we fill our plates with these new delights, the less room there will be for those delights that may be perilous.

5. Maximize cleansing.

Toxins moving out of the body are just as critical as those flowing in. From the dietary and soluble fiber that keeps our colon and blood clean, to antioxidants and phyto, or plant, compounds that clean out our cells, and protect us from disease, they all come from plant foods.

We have probably all heard about the legendary antioxidant content of blueberries, and pomegranates. But, how many of us are aware that when it comes to the antioxidant content of foods, blueberries and strawberries are actually quite low on the list. Herbs, especially fresh herbs, have many times the quantities of antioxidants in comparison, and spices have even more than herbs. Cinnamon is at the top of the list. Something to remember is that when it comes to the antioxidants in foods, the richer the color the richer the antioxidant content. In fact the colors are the antioxidants. Shopping by color is a great way to go.

The easiest & most delicious way I know to boost antioxidant levels is to sprinkle cinnamon on my fruit, and chop fresh herbs like, basil and oregano, directly into my salads and other foods. Be sure to check the listing of antioxidant super-foods in the resource section of this book.

Periodic cleansing regimens are marvelous for the body. Two gentle cleansing protocols are included in the resource guide

6. Keep the body’s pH balanced.

Maintaining proper pH is one of the body’s fundamental requirements. Cancer loves acidity. It is a crucial element in its ability to survive and reproduce. Acidity is also associated with calcium loss and the depletion of bone mass. For these and many other reasons paying attention to ones pH, or parts hydrogen, is a great idea.

Nothing impacts our pH more than diet. Over consuming protein shifts us to acidity, or acidosis. Acidosis results from eating refined sugar, drinking soda, coffee, and alcohol. Smoking also causes acidosis. On average, including vegetarians, Americans consume 3 times too much protein every day. We drink soda by the 64oz portion, and we drink coffee like there is no tomorrow. Is it any wonder that we have cancer rates in this country which are epidemic? When we stop to consider how we load our bodies with foods that contain carcinogenic toxins, and add that to chronic acidosis, there should be much less mystery in the issue of cancer.

Generally raw fruits and vegetables, including sprouts, are alkalizing, while cooked foods tend to form acids. Fresh wheat grass juice is one of the most alkalizing foods available, one or two ounces per day will generally balance pH rapidly.

7. Take a break

Fasting is an important principle we cannot forget. Food producers hate me for this!

The body loves a good rest. It is much more than just sleep that the body thrives from. Once a week fasting (24 hrs) is fantastic! Once per month is ok. There is a lot to be said for regularly fasting. It can be used as an ongoing tonic as previously mentioned, or it can be used as a powerful intervention tool.

Juicing is often incorporated into fasting regimens. While providing a nice rest for the organs, we are able to alkalize and flood the body with nutrients and disease fighting antioxidants. Juicing is very powerful.

Medically supervised fasting has been recognized even by mainstream HMO’s as part of a preferred treatment plan for high blood pressure, which also includes a plant-based diet following the fast. HMO’s like this approach because it means no medications, simply put, it’s cheaper. Patients love it because it means they will not die from the complications which frequently result from a lifetime of meds.

An annual thorough cleanse, in addition to quarterly cleanses helps the body maintain optimum energy and immunity. During a fast is a great time to cleanse. While the organs are resting and not busy with their usual activity, cleansing measures are maximized. Fasting and cleansing can require considerable effort, if we are going to do it, we might as well get as much out of it as possible.