Friday, May 30, 2008

Mediterranean Diet for Diabetes Prevention

Are you surprized by this? The Mediterranean diet is protective for heart disease, obesity, and now Type 2 diabetes. In our own work, we have shown that our Mediterranean diet can also be effective in treating and reversing the glucose instabilities of uncontrolled diabetes.

These are our data, from an uncontrolled Type 1 diabetic who went through the Mediterranean diet. Now her glucose is completely controlled, her A1c has gone from 10 to 8 to 7 to 5.8.

It is so exciting to see that this understanding is getting popularized in new studies. The great thing about this approach is that it does not require some new magic formula to address our health issues.

The study was published in the British Medical Journal, and showed that people who stuck closely to the diet were 83 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who did not.

"The new thing is that we have been able to assess adherence to a Med diet and the incidence of diabetes in people who were initially healthy," said Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, an epidemiologist at the University of Navarra in Spain, who led the study. "We didn't expect such a high reduction."

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

If you Just Say NO to HRT ... then what?

I just wanted to add in this link to a site that goes over the foods that can help with the symptoms of menopause without increasing your risk of cancer and stroke.

I like this resource because it relies on foods, rather than drugs that can increase your risk of cancer and stroke, to solve the problem.

Eating real foods is not nearly as sexy as a research project, but it is also not something that will ever make you plaintiff 679 of a class action law suit because you took a pill that increased your chances of getting cancer and stroke.

Here's the point. Do what you know is right, not what you HOPE won't turn out do you harm.

Supplements Do Harm For Cancer Treatment

We've been coached to substitute pills for food, to take one-a-day to boost, and enhance, and improve, and [insert miracle here].

But where does the coaching come from? Research science, carried out by independent research labs, does not support the incredible premise that we can improve on the miracle of our body mechanism with concentrated chemicals abstracted from their normal source (a.k.a., food).
Supplements, given to individuals who are receiving cancer treatment, are either irrelevant or harmful, according to a new study.

The supplements to avoid are those with high levels of antioxidants, but "even green tea and vitamin A or E supplements can spell trouble," said review author Dr. Brian Lawenda, clinical director of radiation oncology at Naval Medical Center in San Diego.

The supplements "may decrease the effectiveness of radiation or chemotherapy or even make the toxicities of these treatments worse," Lawenda said. "I would recommend that you do not take these agents during chemo or radiation."

In the new review, reported in the May 27 online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Lawenda and colleagues examined studies into antioxidants and cancer therapy.

The researchers found that only three studies on radiation and antioxidants relied on randomized controlled trials, which are considered the best way to compare medical treatments.

One of the studies found that antioxidant treatment appeared to raise the likelihood of death.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Childhood Obesity Takes a Breather

The Journal of the American Medical Association just reported that Childhood Obesity has not increased over this past year. The yearly up-sizing of our nation's youth -- and the down-sizing of our nation's health -- has paused to catch its breath.
Think about the long long steady run -- over two decades -- in which obesity rates in our children have increased yearly to the level they are now ... 32% of the kid population are overweight or obese.
They will have a harder time losing the weight that those who become overwide as adults, and so, the health consequences will be long lasting.
But what does this pause mean? One thing it does not mean is that we've solved the problem or even that we have slowed the pathetic progression of this health problem. The sessation of growth could have arisen on its own as a result of our reaching the national maximum of kids who will end up overweight or obese.
A drastic mistake would be to use this blip to pat ourselves on the back and "call it a day". This would lead us to pull funding from worthy projects that encourage kids to walk, that build in time in schools for them to be active, and pay for healthy cafeteria foods.
We are a country of fire fighters. No one wants to pour money into a problem that may happen -- because everything qualifies for that. But once a problem arcs into a good solid blaze, well then it's something we'll have a look at.
As any fire fighter knows, however, a momentary lull does not mean you put down your hose. We have to keep at this our national tradgedy until it is completely quelled and we have the structures in place to make sure such a shame does not happen again.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

FDA Cuts the GRAS on Salt

Here’s what we know.
1) Excess salt consumption is linked to heart disease and stroke.
2) The Food and Drug Administration wants Americans to have fewer heart attacks and strokes.

But their proposed solution to the problem is to consider changing the status of salt in the diet. The way they would do this is by revoking its classification -- "generally recognized as safe", or GRAS. This particular strategy was prompted by repeated petitions from groups who highlight the dangers of salt.

Michael Jacobson, for example, is the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), and considers salt no less than complete dietary disaster. Salt, he warns, "is the single most harmful element in the food supply, even worse than saturated fat and trans fat, or food additives and pesticides." Most consider this quite an overstatement, but he continues that this "forgotten killer" can cause 150,000 deaths each year. It was the CSPI that petitioned the FDA to remove salt from the GRAS list.

Of course, excess water consumption can kill you just as well, so should the FDA also cut the GRAS on water, and wine, and sugar, and everything you could possibly eat? In fact, there is no food on the planet that we cannot overconsume and make it bad for us in time. Thus, calling salt unsafe is overstated because salt is neither bad for us nor good for us until the moment when we either overconsume it, or eat it in control.

But this entire issue is a bit of a misdirection. The average person gets only about 8% of their sodium from the shaker – at the table or the stove. Another 10% exists naturally in your foods, but a whopping 75% comes from the sodium packed into processed food and “fast” food products.

This move by the FDA seems much less about the “recognized safety” of salt than as an indirect attempt to confront the food product industry without having to confront the food product industry. Such an approach is hoped to force food makers to replace the salt grenades (think Ramen Noodles) with some substitute not already linked to hypertension and stroke.

But would a straightforward strategy be out of the question? What if we – and I’m just throwing this out there – called salt safe and even healthy for us, until we eat it in massive quantities (think fast food). That way, food does not have to be labeled as the bad guy, no one need be confused about the source of hypertension, and the food industry can respond by putting less salt in their Noodles in the process.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hormone Replacement Therapy Redux

It's back. Even though articles like this one remind us that women who take HRT are at an increased risk of stroke, and your risk of this life-threatening event is not decreased if you are young or old, more articles are appearing that attempt to re-introduce this pharmaceutical.

One company that markets the drugs to women, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, sells the hormone therapy called Premarin, and said in a statement that

"Hormone therapy continues to be an effective option for many women when used at the lowest dose for the appropriate duration consistent with treatment goals and risk for the individual woman," according to Danielle Halstrom, senior director of global public relations at Wyeth Women's Health Care. "Hormone therapy is the most effective FDA-approved treatment for menopausal symptoms, and the benefits of hormone therapy may outweigh the risks for many symptomatic menopausal women."

Search This Blog