Another Opinion on Mastectomy

Mastectomy

Angelina Jolie’s decision to undergo a double mastectomy is based on a genetic predisposition that put her at a very high risk of breast cancer later in her life. This has caused quite a stir in the news lately.

It’s not the first time that Angelina Jolie is in the news about her health, as she claimed that “a vegan diet nearly killed her” back in 2010, as she was not getting enough nutrients.

However, in a recent post on that subject, Dr. McDougall claims the following:

  • “Breast, prostate, and colon cancer are due to an unhealthy diet—and so are type-2 diabetes, obesity, and coronary heart disease. Unfortunately, few people are given the information needed to take advantage of a simple, cost-free, dietary solution.”
  • Profits come before healthy diet: “no doctors are prescribing it, no hospitals are serving it, and no Fortune 500 companies are selling it”
  • Sexism is rampant. “Mutilation, has been, and still is, universally recommended for women… when a simple (in most cases non-deforming) lumpectomy alone would suffice”.

He concludes by saying that “doctors rarely mention the importance of food, as they send their patients off to therapies that they (in fact) know will have disastrous consequences.”

Find more at http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2013other/news/jolie.htm

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Plant-Based Diets Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer

A whole food, plant-based diet is known to keep the body healthy, repair itself and grow, all major benefits for people with diabetes. A recent article in the Huffington Post also explain how such a diet is essential for young girls to avoid the risk of breast cancer later in life. Among the important points:

  • Adult breast health is largely determined much earlier in life
  • Whole food reduce potential development sites for cancer
  • Nutrients help prevent cancer from spreading to other cells
  • Sugar and some fats may actually cause cell damage
  • Recommendations are to exclude meat and dairy, and increase vegetables, soy and fibers.

Source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/breast-cancer-prevention_b_3236234.html

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Type 1 Diabetes and Heart Disease Linked by Inflammatory Protein

Following the previous post that showed that in addition to follow a whole food, plant-based diet, keeping blood glucose in check could minimize the effect of type 1 diabetes on heart disease (atherosclerosis). In this article from diabetescare.net, researchers have found that elevated blood glucose leads to inflammation of the blood vessels (leading to atherosclerosis), which opens the way for future medical treatment to reduce that condition.

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Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease

There’s a large consensus that people with diabetes are at a higher risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease. According to the American Heart Association, people with diabetes are at increased risk of heart disease for the following reasons:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Unhealthy cholesterol level
  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Elevated blood sugar

But realistically, other than the last reason (elevated blood sugar), all the other risks equally affect the general population as well. In the US, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, according to the Center for Disease Control, whose causes are directly related to those conditions.

Many prominent doctors have highly criticized (with supporting data) the current dietary recommendations e.g. limiting fat consumption to 30% of calories intake and maintaining a total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL, as millions of people are following those guidelines, yet it hasn’t stopped cardiovascular disease from being the number 1 killer. Research has shown that those recommendations e.g, U.S. Dept of Agriculture (USDA), American Diabetes Association, help slowing down the progression of heart disease, but do not stop it. Cutting fat intake to less than 10% and reducing total cholesterol to less than 150 mg/dL have shown to stop and reverse heart disease.

Many doctors, among them Dr. Esselstyn, have conducted long-term studies confirming that a diet based on grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits, without any meat, dairy nor extra oils stops and in many cases, reverses heart disease, with some cases being nothing short of spectacular. In particular, those doctors make a strong case against the addition of any oils and clearly demonstrate that consuming oils, even those so-called healthy oils, will invariably damage blood vessels and lead to heart disease.

There’s no question that anyone, including people with diabetes, must adopt a much more aggressive stance against fat consumption, or otherwise expose themselves to heart disease, years of reduced quality of life and premature death.

What people with diabetes must do, in addition to follow those dietary guidelines, is to keep their blood glucose in check through rigorous insulin management, as elevated blood glucose further increases blood pressure, damages blood vessels and leads to heart disease.

By adopting a healthy diet that eliminates fats and sweets, and closely monitoring their blood glucose, peoples with diabetes can live an otherwise very healthy life.

Source:

Center for Disease Control: Leading Causes of Death
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

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Vitamin D: Avoid Supplements

In 2010, the Institute of Medicine established that a blood level of 20 ng/ml of vitamin D was enough for 97% of the population. A recent study from Johns Hopkins University adds that taking vitamin D supplements for most does not provide any benefit. It can actually be harmful (cardiovascular and kidney diseases) and is nothing more than a waste of money. However, they suggest that people with kidney diseases and other medical conditions could benefit from vitamin D supplements, a recommendation also supported by the Mayo Clinic.

There are however conflicting opinions on the subject on vitamin D requirements. Many doctors believe that a value below 30 is unhealthy. The 30 ng/ml value is the previous standard set by the IMO (adjusted to 20 ng/ml in 2010). That value made most American children and adults deficient in vitamin D, whereas the current standard (20) makes most in the acceptable range. An organization called the Vitamin D Council even suggests that levels below 40 are deficient (making almost everybody deficient), despite the fact that the Institute of Medicine warns that levels above 50 are dangerous. Another study showed that levels below 20 ng/ml had adverse effect on people with kidney diseases.

What’s more, a research conducted by Kaiser Permanent recently showed that vitamin D supplements actually contain between 9% and 146% of the vitamin D they claim to provide. So no one knows how much vitamin D they actually consume by taking supplements.

According to many physicians, the best source of vitamin is from the sun. Exposing arms and legs, without sunblock but before 10:00 am and after 4:00 pm, a few hours a week provide enough vitamin D. They also suggest to get tested by your doctor and increase sun exposure if you are belong 20 ng/ml, as sun exposure has the greatest impact on vitamin D levels (far more that food for instance)

Also, avoid meat and dairy as studies have shown that consuming animal protein reduces the amount of vitamin D in the body.

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Why Most Weight Loss Diets Fail

People with type 2 diabetes can fight back the disease by improving their eating and exercising habits. But it means to go an a diet, and that’s a difficult challenge for most.

First, there are plenty of contradicting information that we read on the Internet or magazines, or that we hear from friends or TV. After Atkins a few years ago, and the Paleo diet more recently, it’s the Mediterranean diet that is all over the news. Yet, there are long-term, fact-based studies that contradict the supposedly health benefits of those diets.

Secondly, there are strong beliefs when it comes to food. For instance, meat and dairy consumption are considered by most as essential to good health and nutrition. Indeed, the $170B US dairy industry is very powerful and efficient at convincing people (starting with children in elementary schools) that dairy promote bones health and growth despite irrefutable studies showing that people who consume the most dairy are those who suffer the most from bone diseases later in life. Nonetheless, the myth that meat and dairy are healthy perseveres.

Thirdly, most people associate dieting with deprivation and a chronic state of hunger and fatigue. And they are right! A recent study has shown, by analyzing chemical brain reactions (nothing less!), that “self-imposed caloric deprivation increases responsivity of attention, reward, and motivation to food”. In other words, restricting diets make us crave food to a point where we give up and overeat, gaining back the weight. So restriction is not a successful approach to losing weight for the long term. It just does not work for most because parts of our brain fight back and win (it’s the body that loses).

The best thing to do is to visit a registered dietitian who can share with you the latest studies in nutrition, dispel myths and beliefs, and help you set a realistic weight goal and an approach to reach it. Lifestyle changes, such at this 4-month program, are far more successful than diet restrictions.

By understanding what the food does to your body, you can adjust your perception to what you should eat and what should leave aside. Sure it means less fats, less sweets, less salt, more veggies, more fruits, more grains, but it turns out that our taste buds adjust within days (healthy food start to be tastier), the health gains (weight loss, increased energy, improved overall mood) quickly become apparent and less medicine is required over time. And all that without counting calories.

Source:

US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health

dairyfarmingtoday.org

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No Food Supplement Needed When Exercising

People with diabetes are encouraged to exercise more than the average person. This promotes the absorption of glucose and lessens the needs for insulin. One thing to watch for though is that people who exercise are the directly targeted by the sports food industry, among them producers of sports drinks such as Gatorage, and many others. Those companies sell products that will supposedly prepare you before a workout, fuel you during the workout, and replenish you after your workout. Simply put, they’d like us to consume their products all the time for their supposedly multiple benefits.

However, one glaring omission is that those products always contain some very unhealthy food, such as brominated vegetable oil (a flame-retardant product made of genetically-modified soybeans), various forms of sugars made of genetically modified food, artificial colors (linked to various brain diseases), preservatives, etc. Those are clearly products damageable to your health and must be avoided.

What the body needs is energy to fuel muscles, in the form of long-lasting carbohydrates. Ideal pre- and post-workout meals include beans, legumes, grains, vegetables and fruits. While exercising, water with organic fruit juice and light snacks made of organic grains and dry fruits will go a long way in providing sustained energy. Nuts and seeds can be a good addition, but in very limited amount (1 oz daily) as their fat content is very high and can potentially damage arteries. All those products will provide high-quality carbs and proteins in sufficient amounts to keep your body going, grow and repair itself.

Look for the links below for more ideas, and also google organic sports nutrition for truly healthy recipe ideas, no food supplement needed.

Source:

A Natural Alternative To Toxic Sports Drinks

Ditch the commercial sports drinks and artificial protein bars

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Genetically Food Cropping Everywhere

Genetically-modified (GM) food are food exposed to radiation and/or chemicals to alter their genes and confer them some specific properties (such as disease resistance). There is no unbiased long-term studies on the health effect of consuming those food. There are however studies on animals that have shown severe (fatal) organs damage. GM food are banned in most countries in Europe but are very present in America, where there’s not even legislation to properly label GM food as such.

And unfortunately, GM food are cropping everywhere. In recent years canola, papayas, zucchinis, sugar, salmon, tomatoes and many other food have been added to the list of GM food, right along corn and soybeans. Even dairy is a GM food as cows are fed with GM grains and hay, and injected with GM growth hormones.

And the list of GM food gets longer (much longer) every day. For example, the product number of the honey melon below (recently purchased at Costco in Texas) starts with an 8, an indication that the food genes have been altered. Unfortunately, this was an easy pick. There are many other GM food that are invisible, such as the high fructose corn syrup that is found in most food today. There are now hundreds of GM food throughout the food chain (see links below).

Genetically Modified Food

Here are a few easy tricks to help:

  • Watch for the Non-GMO Verified logo, as shown on a Silk almond milk carton, which indicates a natural, non-GM food.
  • Do not purchase products with a 5-digit product number that starts with an ‘8’, which indicates a GM food. A 5-digit number that starts with a ‘9’ indicates an organic food, which is safe to consume.
  • Prefer organic food. It costs a little more, but they were not grown with pesticides and are not GM food.
  • When the cashier asks if “you found everything ok” when checking out, don’t hesitate to let them know that you would pay more to buy non-GM food. Grocery stores and other store chains selling food (Walmart, Costco, etc.) can help influence food producers to grow safe food.

Non GMO Food

Visit the following sites for more information:

Genetically Modified Food (Wikipedia)
Top 10 Genetically Modified Food Products (Discovery.com)
Product Verification (Non-GMO Project)

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Myths of the High-Protein Diets

A recent study reported that consuming a high-protein diet reduces the weight of the participants over a 2-year period. Other studies have promoted similar results in the past years. People with diabetes are often targeted by those who sell those diets (Atkins, etc.) because of their supposedly low-carbs benefits.

The rise of those high protein diets is in direct response to the low fat diets promoted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture decades ago, as it was already known back then that fat consumption directly contributed to heart diseases and other medical conditions such as cancer, the leading causes of death then (and still today). The food industry responded to that by cashing in on the fact that sweetness is highly addictive: they gradually removed fats from the food it manufactures and replaced it with a product that was (and still is) even cheaper: added sugar, in particular high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Added sugar is now found in a myriad of unsuspecting products, such as ketchup, sausages, canned fruits and vegetables, etc. Sweets, along fats, are known to cause severe damage to the body, including heart and brain diseases. They are also very rich in calories and significantly contribute to weight gain.

The diet industry then decided to cash in on the health problems associated with the consumption of low quality carbs by negating all carbs as a whole, claiming that ditching them would make you lose weight and supposedly healthier. Sure enough, reducing the consumption of high-caloric sugars will make anyone lose weight. It’s not the consumption of proteins that helps losing weight, it’s reducing the over-consumption of calories from low-quality carbs.

In itself, consuming more proteins from meat makes the matter worse. Increasing meat consumption also increases fat consumption which, as mentioned above, has been known for decades to be deadly for most, so that’s clearly not a solution to the problem. Meat consumption is associated to kidney diseases, something people with diabetes certainly want to avoid as their condition can put a burden on their kidneys.

To negate those issues, the meat industry claims that consuming meat is vital due to the essential proteins they provide. The truth is otherwise. When it comes to proteins, the human body only needs about 0.8g of proteins per kg of body weight, or roughly 1g of protein per lb of body weight (so more or less 50g of proteins for a 150-lb person). Overweight people do not need more proteins than lean people, so your protein consumption must be based on your ideal weight. As a reference, a 3-oz steak contains anywhere between 25g and 50g of proteins (depending on the cut). People following healthy vegan/vegetarian diets have no problem meeting their protein needs, without any meat product at all. Plus they get much more nutrients and natural vitamins, and no sickening / deadly amount of fats. Athletic people on healthy vegan/vegetarian diets also easily meet their protein needs by consuming more food (as they need more energy) and hence, more proteins. Proteins from diverse vegetable sources easily provide all amino acids, resulting in a “complete protein” diet. Overall, reaching your protein requirements is not a matter for concerns given the abundance and variety of food available to us.

The solution is not to cut back on carbs, but instead replacing low quality carbs by high quality carbs, such as whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, etc.), beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. They fill you up to satiety and provide plenty of nutrients, vitamins, minerals (including calcium) and proteins.

Tips for a healthy diet:

  • Familiarize yourself with the ingredients. When purchasing a product, look for and avoid products containing enriched flour, high fructose corn syrup, sugars, dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose, etc.
  • Reduce or better eliminate sodas from your diet. Regular sodas contain no less than 10 sugar cubes, whereas diet sodas make you crave sweets. None provides nutrients.
  • Aim for whole food, such as grains, beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Not only can you eat plenty of them, they also provide the nutrients and vitamins your body needs to stay healthy, repair itself and grow, while keeping calories to a reasonable level.
  • Eliminate low quality carbs, such as soda, candies, cookies, cereals (especially those targeted to children), white bread, white pasta, white rice, white tortillas, chips, muffins, pastries, etc. They all contain high amounts of simple sugars and fats, but few nutrients, the opposite of what the body needs.
  • Avoid dairy. Fat-free and low-fat milk usually contains more lactose, milk sugar, which many people can’t properly digest. Calcium is not a concern, as it is abundant from vegetable sources and better digested than the one in milk. Since calcium from dairy milk comes from the plants the cow ate, better skip the cow and eat the plants. Dairy also contain casein, a protein that leads to plenty of diseases to humans, notably cancer.
  • Spend a little time to find healthy products (without added sugars and very low in fat) and you’ll earn a lifetime of health benefits, including reaching your ideal weight without starving yourself.

Source:

Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Volume 45, Issue 3 , Pages 213-221, May 2013
Mayo Clinic
SugarStacks.com
American Heart Association

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Gluten-Free, Genetically-Modified Food and Other Delicacies

Gluten-free is undeniably gaining in popularity as people who are gluten-intolerant depend on those foods to manage their condition. Gluten-free doesn’t equal healthy though. A lot of the gluten-free products contain large amounts of low quality ingredients (such as white flour), and plenty of fats and sugars, all very unhealthy and the source of countless diseases. Grocery stores now have gluten-free sections, but just a quick look at the (long) ingredients list of those food will discourage you to consume them and encourage you to stick to whole, unprocessed food.

Even if you find gluten-free food that doesn’t appear to be made of chemicals that only a scientist can read, it gets worse: unless the food is organic, gluten-free food are likely to contain genetically modified (GMO) corn and other grains. And that’s bad news.

Monsanto, a US biotechnology company, genetically modifies corn to make it resistant to its pesticide. The result is abundantly-pesticided corn whose structure is not as nature prepared it for us. Or put it in another way: toxic, less-comestible food. A recent study on genetically-modified corn resulted in bans against the product in some countries. That study, performed on rats, left them with enormous tumors and organs damage (1). The industry disputes the study by arguing against its authors, their methods, their writings, etc.

Monsanto is under attack, even banned, in many countries, but not in the US where it controls most of the corn sold. Far from being quiet, it has contributed over $8M fighting California Prop 37 (2), which would oblige companies to disclose on the products they sell if they are modified genetically (other companies fighting Prop 37 include Kraft, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Kellogg, Del Monte, Heinz, and many others food and pharmaceutical companies). Most Americans want their food to be labeled (3).

Monsanto is in fact a very aggressive company that has relentlessly sued and ruined farmers through the use of draconian patents to control the exclusive use of its grains. Farmers are so fed up that 300,000 of them are suing Monsanto (4). Another lawsuit against Monsanto is heading to the Supreme Court (5). Farmers, not consumers, are suing a producer. Scary. It turns out that in the US, almost all the corn crops have some genetic modifications (and so do soy crops). Very scary indeed.

And that brings us back to the beginning on this story: despite consuming gluten-free food, you might be consuming (read “you are almost certainly consuming”) food that contain corn or some other grains that are not comestible to some extent because their chemical composition has been altered in a way that you body cannot properly digest them. Genetically-modified foods are far more common today than they were 30 years ago when they entered the market; so are the cases of wheat (gluten) and other grains intolerance (a fact that low-carbs diet promoters happily take advantage of).

The solution is consuming organic corn (and soy). Those product are unlikely genetically-modified. “Unlikely” because some may sneak their way despite testing. If it’s not organic, you can be assured you’re consuming genetically-modified food that can wreak havoc with your body.

Tip

A quick way to spot genetically-modified food: its PLU (the number printed on the little stickers on all veggies and fruits) is a 5-digit number that starts with an 8 (e.g. 81234). If it starts with a 9 (e.g. 91234), it’s organic and non-GMO, so that’s what to look for. Find more tips to avoid genetically modified food at WikiHow. You can express your discontentment with GMO food on Facebook

Source

(1) Genetically-modified corn study (CBSNews.com)

(2) Prop 37 details (ballotpedia.org)

(3) Poll (huffingtonpost.com)

(4) Lawsuit against Monsanto (nationofchange.org)

(5) Another lawsuit against Monsanto (yahoo.com)

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