Papers

What’s For Lunch?

The latest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans was recently published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and, except for some minor adjustments in format and design, and the addition of two new guidelines to show that the panel was doing some work, little if anything was accomplished. The guidelines are supposed to bring us up to date on what we ought to be eating. The new guidelines encourage regular physical activity and practicing food safety.

Revised every five years to reflect the latest in scientific evidence, the report sounds reasonable enough. Mainly, it infers better health if we eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grain foods, achieve and maintain a healthy weight, do regular physical activity, avoid consuming excesses of sugar, sodium and alcohol while reducing our average fat intake from its present 35% of energy consumption to 30% or less.

Although this report may be increasing public awareness of the diet and health connection, these guidelines also have another very significant, but troubling, purpose. In effect, the report establishes a reference standard of implied good health for widely used government subsidized food assistance programs. One such program is the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), now providing meals for about 26 million American elementary school children. That’s about one in five families who have one or more children participating in the program, in the hope in many cases that their children are getting a dose of good health not otherwise available to them.

In my view, this government food subsidy program, also run by the USDA, is a disaster and has been so for many years. An extensive evaluation of the program published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1995 [...]

True Health Care is A Proper Education

One out of two Americans gets heart disease and half of those die instantly from their first heart attack.

One out of three dies of cancer. One out of eight women gets breast cancer and one out of six men gets prostate cancer. Roughly one out of ten middle-aged Americans has diabetes, and among those over 60, this rate becomes one out of five people. In addition, another one in five Americans has so-called prediabetes.

Unfortunately, many people suffering from these diseases do not realize that their wrong dietary choices since childhood have caused these serious problems. Numerous scientific studies, including “The China Study,” show that there is a strong correlation between an animal-based diet and these ailments. They are very rare in countries where populations live on a plant-based diet. The majority of people in Western countries assume that these diseases are inevitable as they get older, but this is not true!

People need to learn that their health is in their own hands. The fact is, they can be free of illness and brilliantly healthy if they choose a wholesome diet and lifestyle. On the other hand, an incorrect diet and poor lifestyle choices make people sick.

You can choose superior health, once you know how. The solution is very simple. All you have to do is focus on a whole-food, plant-based diet. If you aren’t convinced, you should see how the “SAD” (Standard American Diet) choice consisting of a high-fat, high-protein, high-cholesterol animal-based diet has caused levels of diseases that are common in America to rise drastically among the Japanese people ever since they adopted this diet after World War II. Diseases reaching epidemic proportions in the United States (such as breast cancer, prostate [...]

Breaking Free Of The Dietary Pleasure Trap

If you are holding a copy of Health Science magazine, and know what it is all about, then you are one of the lucky ones.

Of the 300 million people who live in our country, most will spend their whole lives confused about what is good for them, and what isn’t. If you are one of the fortunate few who has a good feel for the truth about health, then you are more than halfway there. The problem is, knowing is only about half of the battle. The other half of the journey is pretty tough. Just knowing doesn’t quite get it done all by itself.For some reason, even after we know just what to do, there is a tendency to go ahead and do self-destructive things anyway. If we listen to a pop-psychology show,we might hear all sorts of dark and complex speculation about why people are often self-destructive. But doubt any of it is right. We think there are reasons for “self-destructive” behavior that make perfect sense.

The Strange Behavior of Moths in the Night

Have you ever taken a few moments to stare at moths banging into your porch light? Why do they keep circling and flying into a dangerous light? And more chilling still, why do they sometimes fly right into a candle or hot light that zaps them dead? It seems incredibly stupid, so why do they do it? Maybe moths are mysteriously self-destructive for some deep, dark, and complex reasons. But we doubt it. We think there must be another reason, and one that makes perfect sense. There is.

Why They Do What They Do

Moths, it turns out, are designed to fly towards light. They have built within them a natural [...]

Dietary Addictions

Why eating healthfully is so difficult

Today, most people acknowledge that drugs, including nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and cocaine, are addictive. It is common knowledge that repeated exposure to these substances can result in physical addiction and that the consequences of addiction can be devastating. Escaping the pleasure trap of addiction can be extremely difficult. Even the most effective treatment programs fail miserably for the vast majority of addicts. For example, the most effective treatment programs for alcoholism involve a period of intensive in-patient care for 30 days, followed by outpatient support often involving 90 visits in 90 days to a 12-step program. Of the highly motivated addicts who complete the program, over 70 percent fail.

Unlike drugs, whose use is voluntary, food is essential for life. Some foods, particularly highly processed, stimulating foods, elicit responses similar to addiction. Not all individuals respond to the addictive nature of highly processed foods, and those who do may not respond in exactly the same way.

In the case of flour

The dietary pleasure trap is often hidden and extremely difficult to escape. The most common result is obesity. The medical management of obesity has a lower cure rate than the treatment of most cancers and recidivism exceeds 90percent in most studies. The key to understanding food addiction is to understand the nature of highly processed foods. Natural foods contain carbohydrates, protein and fat, but they also contain fiber and water. When foods are highly processed, the fiber and water is often removed or modified, a where the grain is ground into a very fine powder. This process makes the carbohydrate in the grain infinitely more available to the body. Another technique in processing food is to isolate and concentrate one [...]

Research Methodology in Cancer Research

Question: What is your response to: “A role for milk proteins and their peptides in cancer prevention”, by PW Parodi (Current Pharmaceutical Design 13: 813-828, 2007).

Answer: This paper is a classic illustration of scientific reductionism that creates more confusion than clarification. It starts by stating that the “most reliable approach to establish a causal relationship [between diet and disease] …is…a randomized control trial.” My view is exactly the opposite. A randomized control study design focuses on one factor, one outcome and generally one mechanism at a time. This is not nutrition; it is pharmacology (is this why it was published in a pharmaceutical journal?)

In the introduction to the paper, the author also trashes the correlations-based ecological study design, stating that “correlations tell nothing about [diet and cancer associations]“. It is true that nothing conclusive about causation can be established because of the way that these studies are done but this criticism depends on the assumption that investigators are trying to identify single factor causation, again defying what nutrition is. The fault line in these studies is the formulation of hypotheses. If these hypotheses are formulated to truly reflect the wholistic characteristic of nutrition where multiple nutrients, biomarkers, and outcomes are simultaneously measured, then assessing causation is much more reasonable.

After reading these first few basic assumptions in this paper, the rest of the paper amassed a huge list of observations drawn from narrowly focused, reductionist studies that are trivial, oftentimes contrasting and very confusing. Among the many observations cited in this paper, it is possible to select some to make almost any hypothesis. On this same point, it is also possible to create studies that will show whatever results are desired, especially when these studies [...]

Vitamins and Supplements

Most importantly, it is often stated, perhaps almost as a main theme, that the use of vitamin and mineral supplements is an important strategy for promoting and re-gaining health.