FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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MyPlate: A Makeover?

A few years ago the USDA brought out MyPlate that supposedly helped consumers use the Dietary Guidelines; however, critics felt it was influenced by politics and the food industry. Harvard has improved on this concept with The Healthy Eating Plate.

This makeover gives us so much better evidence-based diet advice at a glance. Give it a try.

 

 


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Canada’s New Food Guide: Amazing!

The new proposed Canadian food guidelines are amazing. Could they possibly happen here in the U.S without influence from the food industry –  Highly unlikely. Hope at least some of the Canadian guidelines can survive the food industry meddling and help to change the food culture into a healthier approach.

Read about them HERE.


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The Paleo Diet: Fad or Trend?

To define the Paleolithic diet is impossible. Our early ancestors lived in different environments and their diets had to be food that was available in those varied environments.  However, it is considered by Paleo enthusiasts to be protein-rich, with emphasis on grass-fed beef and fish rich in omega-3 fats. Carbohydrates should come from nonstarchy fresh fruits and vegetables. Since it is assumed  that our predecessors did not have access to cereal grains, legumes, dairy,  potatoes, or processed foods – they are not considered to be Paleo. The avoidance of processed food does contribute to this diet’s good points; however, however, it may be a bit restrictive (not so good).

The Paleo Diet is either a fad or a trend.  Here is a very comprehensive article on all the aspects of the diet – its pros and its cons.  No one diet is appropriate for all – the best diet is one  that you feel comfortable with and can make it a part of your lifestyle.

CLICK HERE.


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Fighting Prostate Cancer with Food?

Plants contain phytochemicals

Nutrition and cancer associations have  been studied for years and unfortunately never have produced any practical, reasonable or consistent results as far as dietary therapeutic or preventive effects. Here are two interesting studies that at least suggest that maybe, just maybe, some cancer cells could be controlled by dietary phytochemicals from plant foods. The question remains as to just what combinations of these plant chemicals do the best job or are most efficacious and safe.

So what to do in the meantime? In my opinion, the take home message is to eat a variety of vegetables and fruits containing phytochemicals that work in a synergistic manner rather than individually. It appears that eating one type of food the media often labels “superfood”  for example, would probably have little effect on cancer cell destruction. That does help to explain why cancer research has not so far produced any promising dietary interventions. But stay tuned as we learn more. Be aware that dietary treatments for cancer have  dominated the area of nutrition quackery for decades.  There are few clinical trials available that test the diet-cancer hypothesis. For sure, cancer patients should not be reliant on untested cancer treatments from any source.

CLICK HERE.

An interesting video about this topic has been published from  Michael Greger, MD, FACLM on his website, NutritionFacts.org. To view this website and video:

CLICK HERE.


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The Lessons from Okinawa

Okinawan Market

Some of my favorite ways to study the effects of diets and lifestyles on health  is to take an objective look at the healthiest cultures on the planet. Although these studies are observational, they study real people living in a real environment. They provide us with invaluable information about how health and longevity are affected by the culture in which we live.  Granted, your diet is only part of the total equation.  And it must be emphasized that these healthy patterns are based on traditional habits of these cultures. When Western-type diets invade these populations, time and time again, their positive health statistics change generally for the worst. Please watch the video and then go out and buy some sweet potatoes.

CLICK HERE.


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Can a Supplement Extend Life?

One of the current theories of aging or longevity is the Telomere Theory. This theory claims that shorter or longer telomeres can predict how long we live. See a previous post HERE. Research tells us that the evidence of lifestyle interventions (diets, supplements, etc) to support these claims is weak. Bottom line: Be skeptical of companies that promote  diets or supplements that promise to affect your telomeres leading to increased health or longevity.

CLICK HERE.