Thursday, September 23, 2010

Early detection is not prevention

Just to be clear, Mammograms do not prevent cancer.  They can prevent the spread of cancer, but the procedure itself does not constitute prevention.   The best is to live in balance, avoid environmental and emotional toxins, feed yourself well, etc.  Early detection is good, but prevention is better. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

debunking food myths

Cooking foods destroys essential enzymes, therefore raw foods are better.

“Raw foods are unprocessed so nothing’s taken away; you don’t get the nutrient losses that come with cooking,” says Brenda Davis, R.D., co-author of Becoming Raw: The Essential Guide to Raw Vegan Diets (Book Publishing, 2010). But the claim by some raw-food advocates that eating raw boosts digestion by preserving “vital” plant enzymes, Davis explains, just doesn’t hold water. “Those enzymes are made for the survival of plants; for human health, they are not essential.” What about the claim by some raw-foodistas that our bodies have a limited lifetime supply of enzymes—and that by eating more foods with their enzymes intact, we’ll be able to spare our bodies from using up their supply? “The reality is that you don’t really have a finite number of enzymes; you’ll continue to make enzymes as long as you live,” says Davis. Enzymes are so vital to life, she adds, “the human body is actually quite efficient at producing them.”

Eggs are bad for your heart

Eggs do contain a substantial amount of cholesterol in their yolks—about 211 mg per large egg. And yes, cholesterol is the fatty stuff in our blood that contributes to clogged arteries and heart attacks. But labeling eggs as “bad for your heart” is connecting the wrong dots, experts say. “Epidemiologic studies show that most healthy people can eat an egg a day without problems,” says Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State University. For most of us the cholesterol we eat doesn’t have a huge impact on raising our blood cholesterol; the body simply compensates by manufacturing less cholesterol itself. Saturated and trans fats have much greater impact on raising blood cholesterol. And a large egg contains only 2 grams of saturated fat and no trans fats. The American Heart Association recommends limiting cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg daily—less than 200 mg if you have a history of heart problems or diabetes or are over 55 (women) or 45 (men). “That works out to less than an egg a day for this population—more like two eggs over the course of the week,” notes Kris-Etherton.

Carbs will make you fat

Contrary to the theories of the low-carb/no carb manifesto, Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution, first published in 1972 (and the similar books that followed), there’s nothing inherently fattening about carbohydrates, says Jean Harvey-Berino, Ph.D., R.D., chair of the department of nutrition and food sciences at the University of Vermont and co-author of The EatingWell Diet (Countryman, 2007). “It’s eating too many calories, period, that makes you fat.”
There’s no question that loading up on sugary and refined-carbohydrate-rich foods, such as white bread, pasta and doughnuts, can raise your risk of developing health problems like heart disease and diabetes. But if you cut out so-called “good-carb” foods, such as whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables, you’re missing out on your body’s main source of fuel as well as vital nutrients and fiber. What’s more, for many people, a low-carb diet may be harder to stick with in the long run.
When a handful of major studies recently compared low-carb diets with low-fat diets and other approaches to losing weight, notes Harvey-Berino, they found that in the first few months, those following the low-carb diets tended to lose slightly more weight. “That’s because low-carb diets are more restrictive,” she explains. “Anything that limits your choices will help you lose weight initially.” But after a year or as much as three years, weight-loss differences between the diets tend to even out. One recent report noted that although there was a greater weight loss initially, low-carb dieters tended to regain more weight by the end of three years when compared with low-fat dieters.
But Harvey-Berino acknowledges that low-carb eating can help many people manage their weight—especially if you’re “one of those people who has a hard time staying in control when you eat carbohydrate-rich foods.” No matter how you slice it, the best diet is one you can stick to, she adds. “If you can stick with an Atkins-like regimen, then go for it.”

You must fast or detox periodically to cleanse the body

The truth: Your body has its own elegantly designed system for removing toxins—namely, the liver, kidneys and spleen. There isn’t any evidence that not eating—or consuming only juice—for any period of time makes them do this job any better. Source: Keith-Thomas Ayoob, Ed.D., R.D., of Albert Einstein College of Medicine 

This info was taken from the Huffington Post article that was culled from Eating right magazine's article by By Joyce Hendley
I don't agree with everything in the full article, but I do agree with the info I posted here. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Atkins increases mortality from all causes

I find it so amusing when people tell me that white rice is bad for us.  They learned that from Dr. Atkins and, although most people know that his diet plan is a failure, many still hold on to this misconception.  Today, an article from Dr. Dean Ornish, published at reports a study that showed the Atkins diet increases mortality (death rates) from all causes.  Yet another resason to stop following all the latest fads and stick to what has worked for millenia.  It's all in my book, "The Asian Diet: Simple secrets for eating  right, and being well.  The text of the article from Dr. Ornish follows.  I agree with just about all of what he says, but he too lumps white rice in with white flour and white sugar; where it does not belong.  If white rice makes people fat, or if it leads to nutritional deficiciencies, then why don't we see those things in the billion plus people in Asia who have white rice every day?

A major study was just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine from Harvard. In approximately 85,000 women who were followed for 26 years and 45,000 men who were followed for 20 years, researchers found that all-cause mortality rates were increased in both men and women who were eating a low-carbohydrate Atkins diet based on animal protein.

However, all-cause mortality rates as well as cardiovascular mortality rates were decreased in those eating a plant-based diet low in animal protein and low in refined carbohydrates. Although this plant-based diet was called an "Eco-Atkins" diet, it's essentially the same diet that I have been recommending and studying for more than 30 years.

In many debates with Dr. Atkins before he died, I always made the point that it's important to look at actual measures of disease, including mortality, not just risk factors such as HDL cholesterol. This is the first study that examined mortality rates in those consuming an Atkins diet, and it confirms what I've been saying all along: an Atkins diet is not healthful and may shorten your lifespan.

Dr. Atkins and I agreed that the American diet is too high in refined carbohydrates such as sugar, white flour and concentrated sweeteners) which promote a variety of chronic diseases. That's why people often lose weight on an Atkins diet when they restrict their intake of refined carbohydrates.

However, the answer is not to replace refined carbohydrates with animal protein such as beef, pork rinds, bacon and sausage, which Dr. Atkins claimed were good for your heart. I'd like to be able to say that they're good for your heart, but they are not. It's much more healthful to replace refined carbohydrates ("bad carbs") with healthy carbs instead.

It's not low-fat vs. low-carb. An optimal diet is high in healthy carbs such as fruits and vegetables and whole grains (including whole wheat, brown rice), legumes, soy products, nonfat dairy and egg whites in their natural forms and some good fats such as the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil and salmon. It's low in unhealthy carbs such as sugar, white flour, white rice, white flour pasta and low in saturated fats and animal protein.

The message that many studies -- including one in the Annals last month -- have been giving the public and health professionals is that the Atkins diet is no worse for your heart than a plant-based diet, but all these studies examined only risk factors such as HDL, not measures of disease or mortality. That's why this new study is so important. (The Annals recently published my letter to the editor that expressed these concerns, which I appreciate.)

A recent study reviewed in The New England Journal of Medicine found that an Atkins-type diet "promotes atherosclerosis (heart disease) through mechanisms that do not modify the classic cardiovascular risk factors" such as HDL. Other studies also showed this.

Your body makes HDL to remove excessive cholesterol from your body. Eating a stick of butter will raise HDL, but butter is not good for your heart. Pfizer discontinued a study of its drug, torcetrapib, which raised HDL but actually increased risk of heart attacks.

Conversely, a whole foods plant-based diet that's also low in refined carbohydrates may reverse coronary heart disease and beneficially affect the progression of prostate cancer and even improve gene expression despite reductions in HDL.

Finally, what's good for you is also good for our planet. Livestock consumption causes more global warming than all forms of transportation combined. It takes 10 times more energy to produce animal-based protein than plant-based protein.

It's not all or nothing. You have a spectrum of choices. What matters most is your overall way of eating and living. If you indulge yourself one day, eat healthier the next. To the degree that you move in a whole foods, plant-based direction, the better you're likely to feel and the healthier you're likely to become.

Dean Ornish, M.D.

Medical Editor, The Huffington Post

Founder and President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute

Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Sunday, September 5, 2010

*A Clarification On The Evidence For Acupuncture’s Efficacy*


*A Clarification On The Evidence For Acupuncture’s Efficacy*

On August 25th, Steven Salzberg posted a blog, published by,
titled "Acupuncture inflitrates the University of Maryland and NEJM." *This
posting is full of highly transparent techniques to misinform the public
about a proven form of medicine that, along with other forms of oriental
medicine, serves over a billion people worldwide.* Acupuncture and Oriental
Medicine (AOM) is a low-cost, safe, and effective form of holistic medicine
that has evolved over millennia into its current form today. In the U.S.
alone, thousands of highly trained, licensed practitioners treat millions of
patients each year with AOM.

In his blog, Mr. Salzberg states that most scientists believe that
acupuncture does not work. It is quite interesting that Mr. Salzberg is
focusing on *scientists* and not on *doctors* when it comes to healthcare. *
Fact*: According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative
Medicine (NCCAM), numerous surveys show that of all the complementary and
holistic medical practices, of which there are many, *acupuncture enjoys the
most credibility in the medical community*. There is a growing field of
medical doctors practicing acupuncture or referring patients to AOM

Next, Mr. Salzberg goes on to say that most studies are done poorly and that
real needles are just as (in)effective as "sham" needles. *Fact*: Over 500
clinical trials measuring the efficacy of acupuncture have been conducted in
the past three decades. At least fifty systematic reviews of these trials
(as profiled in the Cochrane Library) have been completed by researchers
from credible institutions, such as the Mayo Clinic, resulting in
substantial evidence that acupuncture is more effective than sham
acupuncture and that *acupuncture is very effective in treating chronic
pain, fatigue, anxiety, arthritis, headaches, chemotherapy sickness, and
infertility*, among other ailments.

At the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM), we
believe that articles like Mr. Salzberg's perform a damaging disservice to
the American public. As a society, we need new and creative solutions to
confront our healthcare crisis and improve the overall health and wellness
of our citizens. This requires integrating the best from both eastern (AOM)
and western (allopathic) approaches to improve how we *prevent* and
*treat* pain
and illness, and realize optimal health and healing. *We applaud the
University of Maryland and its Center for Integrative Medicine for their
leadership and outstanding work.**
Christian M. Ellis
Executive Director
American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine