Deep Breathing Exercise for Nausea

Deep Breathing Exercise for Nausea.jpeg

One of the most common fears patients express when facing surgery is postoperative nausea, which can range from minor queasiness to protracted periods of vomiting. Feeling sick to one's stomach and throwing up after surgery is a common problem, affecting between a quarter and a half of those placed under general anesthesia, and more than half of those at high risk (women who don't smoke and have a history of motion sickness).

I've explored the science behind treating nausea with ginger (see Natural Nausea Remedy Recipe), but if you're too nauseous to eat, what do you do? Well, people are often sent home with anti-nausea rectal suppositories. Surveys, however, show that cultural and sexual attitudes may make a number of people sensitive to anything involving the rectum. Though the wording of the question researchers asked was, "are you happy to have a drug put in your back passage?" I can imagine many of the respondents thinking "well, maybe I wouldn't so much mind, but wouldn't exactly be happy about it," especially when you're feeling sick and throwing up.

For women who've had a C-section, they might not want to take drugs at all if they're breastfeeding, so researchers decided to put aromatherapy to the test. Research has shown that essential oils of both spearmint and peppermint are effective in reducing nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy, but this was after swallowing them.

Would just the smell of peppermint help with nausea? I explore this in my video Peppermint Aromatherapy for Nausea. Researchers had women take deep whiffs of peppermint extract (like you'd buy at a store) and it seemed to work. Eighty percent of the mint-sniffers felt better within just a few minutes, compared to no improvement in the placebo group who sniffed water with green food coloring, or the control group who didn't sniff anything.

The study was criticized for being small and for not using pure peppermint oil. Peppermint extract is peppermint oil plus alcohol. Maybe it was the smell of alcohol that made people better? And that's actually not too much of a stretch. In 1997, researchers reported a simple, innocuous, and inexpensive treatment for postoperative nausea and vomiting--the smell of isopropyl alcohol, which is what is found in those alcohol wipes, the little prep pads that nurses swab you with before shots. They found that they could just effectively tear one open and wave it under someone's nose and relieve nausea and vomiting in more than 80% of folks after surgery. It has been since shown to work as well as a leading anti-nausea drug, and may even work faster, cutting nausea in half within 10 to 15 minutes, rather than 20 or 25.

So was it the alcohol, the peppermint, or both? Researchers decided to put it to the test. They instructed patients to take three slow, deep breaths, smelling alcohol, peppermint, or nothing. The smell of peppermint cut nausea in half within five minutes, and so did the alcohol. But so did smelling nothing! So maybe it had nothing to do with the scent; maybe it was just the instruction to take slow, deep breaths. That would make it a really cost-effective intervention. Maybe it shouldn't be so surprising, given the proximity of the vomiting and breathing centers within the brain.

And indeed, controlled breathing was found effective with or without any scent. So next time you feel nauseous, inhale deeply through your nose to the count of three, hold your breath to the count of three, and exhale out the mouth to the count of three. Do that three times.

Ironically, the researchers continued to advocate using those nasty smelling alcohol pads even though they themselves showed they weren't any more effective than breathing alone. Why? Since isopropyl alcohol has a readily detectable odor, patients are more likely to think that their post-operation nausea and vomiting is being actively treated when they inhale alcohol vapors rather than just engaging in breathing exercises.


What do you think of still using the alcohol pads even though they were shown to offer no additional benefit? I have a whole video on such questions: The Lie That Heals: Should Doctors Give Placebos?

For those who can swallow, I offer more about powdered ginger in my video Dangerous Advice From Health Food Store Employees.

There's more on aromatherapy here:

What about actually eating the peppermint?

Of course, the best way to avoid postsurgical nausea is to try to avoid surgery in the first place. Those that eat healthy may be less likely to go under the knife. See Say No to Drugs by Saying Yes to More Plants.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Image Credit: Sally Plank / Flickr. This image has been modified.

Original Link

New DVD, "Platinum," and Research Training

admin-ajax.jpeg

My new DVD came out last week and is available as streaming video so you can start watching it immediately. In this new volume, I have videos on practical tips to improve brain function, cramps, and asthma; not to mention a video entitled Best Foods to Improve Sexual Function. I cover avocados, red wine, flax versus chia, and the breast cancer risk associated with applying aluminum-containing antiperspirants to shaved underarms.

The current batch of videos from the previous volume is about to run out on NutritionFacts.org. So, starting next week and running through May, I'll roll out this new set. They will all eventually be available for free online, but if you don't want to wait you can watch them all streaming right now. You can also order it as a physical DVD.

Here's the full list of chapters from the new volume--a preview of what's to come over the next few months on NutritionFacts.org:

  1. Don't Wait Until Your Doctor Kicks the Habit
  2. Benefits of Ginger for Menstrual Cramps
  3. Which Intestines for Food and Cosmetics?
  4. Should Vitamin D Supplements Be Taken to Prevent Falls in the Elderly?
  5. Benefits of Green Tea for Boosting Antiviral Immune Function
  6. Dangers of Dietary Supplement Deregulation
  7. How to Become a Fecal Transplant Super Donor
  8. Benefits of Rosemary for Brain Function
  9. How to Treat Asthma with a Low Salt Diet
  10. Sodium and Autoimmune Disease: Rubbing Salt in the Wound?
  11. Do Men Who Have More Sex Live Longer?
  12. Best Foods to Improve Sexual Function
  13. Which Are Better: Chia Seeds or Flax Seeds?
  14. How to Boost Your Immune System with Wakame Seaweed
  15. Are the BPA-Free Alternatives Safe?
  16. Higher Blood Pressure May Lead to Brain Shrinkage
  17. How to Block Breast Cancer's Estrogen-Producing Enzymes
  18. How to Prevent Blood Sugar and Triglyceride Spikes after Meals
  19. The Effects of Avocados and Red Wine on Postprandial Inflammation
  20. How to Counter the Effects of Air Pollution
  21. Is It Better to Advise More Plants or Less Junk?
  22. How Much Should You Exercise?
  23. Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer
  24. Treating Bacterial Vaginosis with Vaginal Vitamin C
  25. Lowering Our Sodium to Potassium Ratio to Reduce Stroke Risk
  26. How Our Gut Bacteria Can Use Eggs to Accelerate Cancer

Order my new DVD at DrGreger.org/collections/dvds, as a video download/streaming at DrGreger.org/collections/downloads, or through Amazon. All proceeds go to keeping the site going and growing.

DVD Subscription

If you were a regular supporter, you'd already know all this, having already received a link to the new DVD. New DVDs are released every nine weeks. If you'd like to automatically receive them before they're even available to the public, please consider becoming a monthly donor.

Anyone signing up on the donation page to become a $25 monthly contributor will receive the next three downloads for free, and anyone signing up as a $50 monthly contributor will get a whole year's worth of new DVDs (as physical DVDs, downloads, streaming, or all three--your choice). If you signed up for physical copies, you should have already received this volume, but if not please email DVDhelp@NutritionFacts.org and we'll make everything all better.

We are a GuideStar Platinum Charity

NutritionFacts.org has been granted GuideStar's highest tier for nonprofit charities, honoring our deep commitment to transparency and accountability. However, they don't measure efficacy--how much good each group is actually doing in the world. For NutritionFacts.org you never have to wonder, because you can see what we do every day, bringing you and your loved ones (and hundreds of thousands of others!) actionable, evidence-based information.

Online Research Training?

As part of good governance, every organization should have a set of contingency plans. What would happen, for example, if I died in a fiery plane crash? (Or even a non-fiery one! :) NutritionFacts.org is saving too many lives to simply close up shop. In my Behind the Scenes video, I explain with a broad brush how I do my research, but what about the nitty gritty? I figure if I'm going to lay it all out, step-by-step, soup to nuts, I might as well do it live as part of a webinar. So, if you want to start your own NutritionFacts.org-type site, acquire or improve online medical research skills, or are just curious how I do what I do, please fill out this form so I can gauge interest. If enough folks are interested I'll make it happen!

NutritionFacts.org en Español Coming Soon!

But we need your help. We are seeking groups of volunteers fluent in Spanish to help in two different areas. Tech support volunteers would help respond to e-mails and fix errors on the Spanish site. This can be a great learning experience for those interested in gaining experience with IT support in the non-profit sector. Email our Volunteer Director at steven@nutritionfacts.org to apply.

Separately, we are also hoping to find Spanish-speaking doctors, dietitians, or other health or nutrition professionals to help answer questions for users on Nutritionfacts.org en Español and on our Spanish social media sites during a two-hour weekly shift. Please email steven@nutritionfacts.org if you're interested. Gracias!

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM

PS: remember I have a new audio podcast to keep you company at http://nutritionfacts.org/audio.

Original Link

New DVD, "Platinum," and Research Training

admin-ajax.jpeg

My new DVD came out last week and is available as streaming video so you can start watching it immediately. In this new volume, I have videos on practical tips to improve brain function, cramps, and asthma; not to mention a video entitled Best Foods to Improve Sexual Function. I cover avocados, red wine, flax versus chia, and the breast cancer risk associated with applying aluminum-containing antiperspirants to shaved underarms.

The current batch of videos from the previous volume is about to run out on NutritionFacts.org. So, starting next week and running through May, I'll roll out this new set. They will all eventually be available for free online, but if you don't want to wait you can watch them all streaming right now. You can also order it as a physical DVD.

Here's the full list of chapters from the new volume--a preview of what's to come over the next few months on NutritionFacts.org:

  1. Don't Wait Until Your Doctor Kicks the Habit
  2. Benefits of Ginger for Menstrual Cramps
  3. Which Intestines for Food and Cosmetics?
  4. Should Vitamin D Supplements Be Taken to Prevent Falls in the Elderly?
  5. Benefits of Green Tea for Boosting Antiviral Immune Function
  6. Dangers of Dietary Supplement Deregulation
  7. How to Become a Fecal Transplant Super Donor
  8. Benefits of Rosemary for Brain Function
  9. How to Treat Asthma with a Low Salt Diet
  10. Sodium and Autoimmune Disease: Rubbing Salt in the Wound?
  11. Do Men Who Have More Sex Live Longer?
  12. Best Foods to Improve Sexual Function
  13. Which Are Better: Chia Seeds or Flax Seeds?
  14. How to Boost Your Immune System with Wakame Seaweed
  15. Are the BPA-Free Alternatives Safe?
  16. Higher Blood Pressure May Lead to Brain Shrinkage
  17. How to Block Breast Cancer's Estrogen-Producing Enzymes
  18. How to Prevent Blood Sugar and Triglyceride Spikes after Meals
  19. The Effects of Avocados and Red Wine on Postprandial Inflammation
  20. How to Counter the Effects of Air Pollution
  21. Is It Better to Advise More Plants or Less Junk?
  22. How Much Should You Exercise?
  23. Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer
  24. Treating Bacterial Vaginosis with Vaginal Vitamin C
  25. Lowering Our Sodium to Potassium Ratio to Reduce Stroke Risk
  26. How Our Gut Bacteria Can Use Eggs to Accelerate Cancer

Order my new DVD at DrGreger.org/collections/dvds, as a video download/streaming at DrGreger.org/collections/downloads, or through Amazon. All proceeds go to keeping the site going and growing.

DVD Subscription

If you were a regular supporter, you'd already know all this, having already received a link to the new DVD. New DVDs are released every nine weeks. If you'd like to automatically receive them before they're even available to the public, please consider becoming a monthly donor.

Anyone signing up on the donation page to become a $25 monthly contributor will receive the next three downloads for free, and anyone signing up as a $50 monthly contributor will get a whole year's worth of new DVDs (as physical DVDs, downloads, streaming, or all three--your choice). If you signed up for physical copies, you should have already received this volume, but if not please email DVDhelp@NutritionFacts.org and we'll make everything all better.

We are a GuideStar Platinum Charity

NutritionFacts.org has been granted GuideStar's highest tier for nonprofit charities, honoring our deep commitment to transparency and accountability. However, they don't measure efficacy--how much good each group is actually doing in the world. For NutritionFacts.org you never have to wonder, because you can see what we do every day, bringing you and your loved ones (and hundreds of thousands of others!) actionable, evidence-based information.

Online Research Training?

As part of good governance, every organization should have a set of contingency plans. What would happen, for example, if I died in a fiery plane crash? (Or even a non-fiery one! :) NutritionFacts.org is saving too many lives to simply close up shop. In my Behind the Scenes video, I explain with a broad brush how I do my research, but what about the nitty gritty? I figure if I'm going to lay it all out, step-by-step, soup to nuts, I might as well do it live as part of a webinar. So, if you want to start your own NutritionFacts.org-type site, acquire or improve online medical research skills, or are just curious how I do what I do, please fill out this form so I can gauge interest. If enough folks are interested I'll make it happen!

NutritionFacts.org en Español Coming Soon!

But we need your help. We are seeking groups of volunteers fluent in Spanish to help in two different areas. Tech support volunteers would help respond to e-mails and fix errors on the Spanish site. This can be a great learning experience for those interested in gaining experience with IT support in the non-profit sector. Email our Volunteer Director at steven@nutritionfacts.org to apply.

Separately, we are also hoping to find Spanish-speaking doctors, dietitians, or other health or nutrition professionals to help answer questions for users on Nutritionfacts.org en Español and on our Spanish social media sites during a two-hour weekly shift. Please email steven@nutritionfacts.org if you're interested. Gracias!

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM

PS: remember I have a new audio podcast to keep you company at http://nutritionfacts.org/audio.

Original Link

White Meat May Be as Cholesterol-Raising as Red

White Meat May Be as Cholesterol-Raising as Red.jpeg

In light of recommendations for heart healthy eating from national professional organizations encouraging Americans to limit their intake of meat, the beef industry commissioned and co-wrote a review of randomized controlled trials comparing the effects of beef versus chicken and fish on cholesterol levels published over the last 60 years. They found that the impact of beef consumption on the cholesterol profile of humans is similar to that of fish and/or poultry--meaning that switching from red meat to white meat likely wouldn't make any difference. And that's really no surprise, given how fat we've genetically manipulated chickens to be these days, up to ten times more fat than they had a century ago (see Does Eating Obesity Cause Obesity?).

There are a number of cuts of beef that have less cholesterol-raising saturated fat than chicken (see BOLD Indeed: Beef Lowers Cholesterol?), so it's not so surprising that white meat was found to be no better than red, but the beef industry researchers conclusion was that "therefore you can eat beef as part of a balanced diet to manage your cholesterol."

Think of the Coke versus Pepsi analogy. Coke has less sugar than Pepsi: 15 spoonfuls of sugar per bottle instead of 16. If studies on blood sugar found no difference between drinking Coke versus Pepsi, you wouldn't conclude that "Pepsi may be considered when recommending diets for the management of blood sugars," you'd say they're both equally as bad so we should ideally consume neither.

That's a standard drug industry trick. You don't compare your fancy new drug to the best out there, but to some miserable drug to make yours look better. Note they didn't compare beef to plant proteins, like in this study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. As I started reading it, though, I was surprised that they found no benefit of switching to a plant protein diet either. What were they eating? You can see the comparison in Switching from Beef to Chicken & Fish May Not Lower Cholesterol.

For breakfast, the plant group got a kidney bean and tomato casserole and a salad, instead of a burger. And for dinner, instead of another burger, the plant protein group just got some boring vegetables. So why was the cholesterol of the plant group as bad as the animal group? They had the plant protein group eating three tablespoons of beef tallow every day--three tablespoons of straight beef fat!

This was part of a series of studies that tried to figure out what was so cholesterol-raising about meat--was it the animal protein or was it the animal fat? So, researchers created fake meat products made to have the same amount of saturated fat and cholesterol by adding extracted animal fats and cholesterol. Who could they get to make such strange concoctions? The Ralston Purina dog food company.

But what's crazy is that even when keeping the saturated animal fat and cholesterol the same (by adding meat fats to the veggie burgers and making the plant group swallow cholesterol pills to equal it out), sometimes they still saw a cholesterol lowering advantage in the plant protein group.

If you switch people from meat to tofu, their cholesterol goes down, but what if you switch them from meat to tofu plus lard? Then their cholesterol may stay the same, though tofu and lard may indeed actually be better than meat, since it may result in less oxidized cholesterol. More on the role of oxidized cholesterol can be found in my videos Does Cholesterol Size Matter? and Arterial Acne.

Just swapping plant protein for animal protein may have advantages, but if you really want to maximize the power of diet to lower cholesterol, you may have to move entirely toward plants. The standard dietary advice to cut down on fatty meat, dairy, and eggs may lower cholesterol 5-10%, but flexitarian or vegetarian diets may drop our levels 10 to 15%, vegan diets 15 to 25%, and healthier vegan diets can cut up to 35%, as seen in this study out of Canada showing a whopping 61 point drop in LDL cholesterol within a matter of weeks.


You thought chicken was a low-fat food? It used to be a century ago, but not anymore. It may even be one of the reasons we're getting fatter as well: Chicken Big: Poultry and Obesity and Infectobesity: Adenovirus 36 and Childhood Obesity.

Isn't protein just protein? How does our body know if it's coming from a plant or an animal? How could it have different effects on cardiovascular risk? See Protein and Heart Disease, another reason why Plant Protein [is] Preferable.

Lowering cholesterol in your blood is as simple as reducing one's intake of three things: Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero.

What about those news stories on the "vindication" of saturated fat? See the sneaky science in The Saturated Fat Studies: Buttering Up the Public and The Saturated Fat Studies: Set Up to Fail.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Image Credit: CDC/Debora Cartagena via Freestockphotos.biz. This image has been modified.

Original Link

White Meat May Be as Cholesterol-Raising as Red

White Meat May Be as Cholesterol-Raising as Red.jpeg

In light of recommendations for heart healthy eating from national professional organizations encouraging Americans to limit their intake of meat, the beef industry commissioned and co-wrote a review of randomized controlled trials comparing the effects of beef versus chicken and fish on cholesterol levels published over the last 60 years. They found that the impact of beef consumption on the cholesterol profile of humans is similar to that of fish and/or poultry--meaning that switching from red meat to white meat likely wouldn't make any difference. And that's really no surprise, given how fat we've genetically manipulated chickens to be these days, up to ten times more fat than they had a century ago (see Does Eating Obesity Cause Obesity?).

There are a number of cuts of beef that have less cholesterol-raising saturated fat than chicken (see BOLD Indeed: Beef Lowers Cholesterol?), so it's not so surprising that white meat was found to be no better than red, but the beef industry researchers conclusion was that "therefore you can eat beef as part of a balanced diet to manage your cholesterol."

Think of the Coke versus Pepsi analogy. Coke has less sugar than Pepsi: 15 spoonfuls of sugar per bottle instead of 16. If studies on blood sugar found no difference between drinking Coke versus Pepsi, you wouldn't conclude that "Pepsi may be considered when recommending diets for the management of blood sugars," you'd say they're both equally as bad so we should ideally consume neither.

That's a standard drug industry trick. You don't compare your fancy new drug to the best out there, but to some miserable drug to make yours look better. Note they didn't compare beef to plant proteins, like in this study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. As I started reading it, though, I was surprised that they found no benefit of switching to a plant protein diet either. What were they eating? You can see the comparison in Switching from Beef to Chicken & Fish May Not Lower Cholesterol.

For breakfast, the plant group got a kidney bean and tomato casserole and a salad, instead of a burger. And for dinner, instead of another burger, the plant protein group just got some boring vegetables. So why was the cholesterol of the plant group as bad as the animal group? They had the plant protein group eating three tablespoons of beef tallow every day--three tablespoons of straight beef fat!

This was part of a series of studies that tried to figure out what was so cholesterol-raising about meat--was it the animal protein or was it the animal fat? So, researchers created fake meat products made to have the same amount of saturated fat and cholesterol by adding extracted animal fats and cholesterol. Who could they get to make such strange concoctions? The Ralston Purina dog food company.

But what's crazy is that even when keeping the saturated animal fat and cholesterol the same (by adding meat fats to the veggie burgers and making the plant group swallow cholesterol pills to equal it out), sometimes they still saw a cholesterol lowering advantage in the plant protein group.

If you switch people from meat to tofu, their cholesterol goes down, but what if you switch them from meat to tofu plus lard? Then their cholesterol may stay the same, though tofu and lard may indeed actually be better than meat, since it may result in less oxidized cholesterol. More on the role of oxidized cholesterol can be found in my videos Does Cholesterol Size Matter? and Arterial Acne.

Just swapping plant protein for animal protein may have advantages, but if you really want to maximize the power of diet to lower cholesterol, you may have to move entirely toward plants. The standard dietary advice to cut down on fatty meat, dairy, and eggs may lower cholesterol 5-10%, but flexitarian or vegetarian diets may drop our levels 10 to 15%, vegan diets 15 to 25%, and healthier vegan diets can cut up to 35%, as seen in this study out of Canada showing a whopping 61 point drop in LDL cholesterol within a matter of weeks.


You thought chicken was a low-fat food? It used to be a century ago, but not anymore. It may even be one of the reasons we're getting fatter as well: Chicken Big: Poultry and Obesity and Infectobesity: Adenovirus 36 and Childhood Obesity.

Isn't protein just protein? How does our body know if it's coming from a plant or an animal? How could it have different effects on cardiovascular risk? See Protein and Heart Disease, another reason why Plant Protein [is] Preferable.

Lowering cholesterol in your blood is as simple as reducing one's intake of three things: Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero.

What about those news stories on the "vindication" of saturated fat? See the sneaky science in The Saturated Fat Studies: Buttering Up the Public and The Saturated Fat Studies: Set Up to Fail.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Image Credit: CDC/Debora Cartagena via Freestockphotos.biz. This image has been modified.

Original Link

Can You Eat Too Much Fruit?

Can You Eat Too Much Fruit?.jpeg

In my video If Fructose is Bad, What About Fruit?, I explored how adding berries to our meals can actually blunt the detrimental effects of high glycemic foods, but how many berries? The purpose of one study out of Finland was to determine the minimum level of blueberry consumption at which a consumer may realistically expect to receive antioxidant benefits after eating blueberries with a sugary breakfast cereal. If we eat a bowl of corn flakes with no berries, within two hours, so many free radicals are created that it puts us into oxidative debt. The antioxidant power of our bloodstream drops below where we started from before breakfast, as the antioxidants in our bodies get used up dealing with such a crappy breakfast. As you can see in How Much Fruit is Too Much? video, a quarter cup of blueberries didn't seem to help much, but a half cup of blueberries did.

What about fruit for diabetics? Most guidelines recommend eating a diet with a high intake of fiber-rich food, including fruit, because they're so healthy--antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, improving artery function, and reducing cancer risk. However, some health professionals have concerns about the sugar content of fruit and therefore recommend restricting the fruit intake. So let's put it to the test! In a study from Denmark, diabetics were randomized into two groups: one told to eat at least two pieces of fruit a day, and the other told at most, two fruits a day. The reduce fruit group indeed reduce their fruit consumption, but it had no effect on the control of their diabetes or weight, and so, the researchers concluded, the intake of fruit should not be restricted in patients with type 2 diabetes. An emerging literature has shown that low-dose fructose may actually benefit blood sugar control. Having a piece of fruit with each meal would be expected to lower, not raise the blood sugar response.

The threshold for toxicity of fructose may be around 50 grams. The problem is that's the current average adult fructose consumption. So, the levels of half of all adults are likely above the threshold for fructose toxicity, and adolescents currently average 75. Is that limit for added sugars or for all fructose? If we don't want more than 50 and there's about ten in a piece of fruit, should we not eat more than five fruit a day? Quoting from the Harvard Health Letter, "the nutritional problems of fructose and sugar come when they are added to foods. Fruit, on the other hand, is beneficial in almost any amount." What do they mean almost? Can we eat ten fruit a day? How about twenty fruit a day?

It's actually been put to the test.

Seventeen people were made to eat 20 servings a day of fruit. Despite the extraordinarily high fructose content of this diet, presumably about 200 g/d--eight cans of soda worth, the investigators reported no adverse effects (and possible benefit actually) for body weight, blood pressure, and insulin and lipid levels after three to six months. More recently, Jenkins and colleagues put people on about a 20 servings of fruit a day diet for a few weeks and found no adverse effects on weight or blood pressure or triglycerides, and an astounding 38 point drop in LDL cholesterol.

There was one side effect, though. Given the 44 servings of vegetables they had on top of all that fruit, they recorded the largest bowl movements apparently ever documented in a dietary intervention.


Cutting down on sugary foods may be easier said than done (see Are Sugary Foods Addictive?) but it's worth it. For more on the dangers of high levels of fructose in added sugars, see How Much Added Sugar Is Too Much?.

What's that about being in oxidative debt? See my three part series on how to pull yourself out of the red:

Ironically, fat may be more of a problem when it comes to diabetes than sugar, see:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Image Credit: Sally Plank / Flickr. This image has been modified.

Original Link

Can You Eat Too Much Fruit?

Can You Eat Too Much Fruit?.jpeg

In my video If Fructose is Bad, What About Fruit?, I explored how adding berries to our meals can actually blunt the detrimental effects of high glycemic foods, but how many berries? The purpose of one study out of Finland was to determine the minimum level of blueberry consumption at which a consumer may realistically expect to receive antioxidant benefits after eating blueberries with a sugary breakfast cereal. If we eat a bowl of corn flakes with no berries, within two hours, so many free radicals are created that it puts us into oxidative debt. The antioxidant power of our bloodstream drops below where we started from before breakfast, as the antioxidants in our bodies get used up dealing with such a crappy breakfast. As you can see in How Much Fruit is Too Much? video, a quarter cup of blueberries didn't seem to help much, but a half cup of blueberries did.

What about fruit for diabetics? Most guidelines recommend eating a diet with a high intake of fiber-rich food, including fruit, because they're so healthy--antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, improving artery function, and reducing cancer risk. However, some health professionals have concerns about the sugar content of fruit and therefore recommend restricting the fruit intake. So let's put it to the test! In a study from Denmark, diabetics were randomized into two groups: one told to eat at least two pieces of fruit a day, and the other told at most, two fruits a day. The reduce fruit group indeed reduce their fruit consumption, but it had no effect on the control of their diabetes or weight, and so, the researchers concluded, the intake of fruit should not be restricted in patients with type 2 diabetes. An emerging literature has shown that low-dose fructose may actually benefit blood sugar control. Having a piece of fruit with each meal would be expected to lower, not raise the blood sugar response.

The threshold for toxicity of fructose may be around 50 grams. The problem is that's the current average adult fructose consumption. So, the levels of half of all adults are likely above the threshold for fructose toxicity, and adolescents currently average 75. Is that limit for added sugars or for all fructose? If we don't want more than 50 and there's about ten in a piece of fruit, should we not eat more than five fruit a day? Quoting from the Harvard Health Letter, "the nutritional problems of fructose and sugar come when they are added to foods. Fruit, on the other hand, is beneficial in almost any amount." What do they mean almost? Can we eat ten fruit a day? How about twenty fruit a day?

It's actually been put to the test.

Seventeen people were made to eat 20 servings a day of fruit. Despite the extraordinarily high fructose content of this diet, presumably about 200 g/d--eight cans of soda worth, the investigators reported no adverse effects (and possible benefit actually) for body weight, blood pressure, and insulin and lipid levels after three to six months. More recently, Jenkins and colleagues put people on about a 20 servings of fruit a day diet for a few weeks and found no adverse effects on weight or blood pressure or triglycerides, and an astounding 38 point drop in LDL cholesterol.

There was one side effect, though. Given the 44 servings of vegetables they had on top of all that fruit, they recorded the largest bowl movements apparently ever documented in a dietary intervention.


Cutting down on sugary foods may be easier said than done (see Are Sugary Foods Addictive?) but it's worth it. For more on the dangers of high levels of fructose in added sugars, see How Much Added Sugar Is Too Much?.

What's that about being in oxidative debt? See my three part series on how to pull yourself out of the red:

Ironically, fat may be more of a problem when it comes to diabetes than sugar, see:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Image Credit: Sally Plank / Flickr. This image has been modified.

Original Link

Vegiterranean Feast

Vegiterranean Feast

Making all things Vegiterranean on #LunchbreakLive with Jane Velez-Mitchell and Lisa Karlan…hummus, baba ganoush, easy caprese, and falafels. Bring your appetite and your questions!

Posted by Plant-Based Dietitian on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

 

Here are two of the recipes:

Easy Caprese

A simple, traditional dish, this combination satisfies as a perfect appetizer. Hearty in texture, but zesty and light in flavor, you can throw this together in minutes and enjoy as a light snack in the afternoon or before dinner.

Makes 2 to 4 servings

2 large heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
4 ounces organic soft tofu, thinly sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons reduced balsamic vinegar

1. Layer the tomato slices on a large plate. Evenly place the basil leaves over the tomatoes, followed by the tofu slices. Drizzle the vinegar over all.
2. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Note: You can use your favorite regular balsamic vinegar as is, or try reducing it. Using at least triple the amount of vinegar called for in the recipe in a saucepan (you can store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week), bring the vinegar to a boil over medium heat, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer until at desired thickness, at least 20 to 30 minutes.

Hummus of the Earth

Hummus should be a food group with its infinite combinations of ways to enjoy. With the addition of cannellini beans and spices, this essential version is earthy, warm, and classic. Use it in sandwiches, as a dip, or in salad.

Makes 1 3⁄4 cups

2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if using canned
1 cup cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed if using canned
1⁄4 cup nutritional yeast
11⁄2 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice with zest
11⁄2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon tamari
3⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
3⁄4 teaspoon smoked paprika
3⁄4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
1⁄8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, cannellini beans, nutritional yeast, 1⁄4 cup water, lemon juice and zest, tahini, tamari, cumin, paprika, chipotle powder, and red pepper flakes, and puree until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
2. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

The rest of the recipes can be found in The Vegiterranean Diet.

The post Vegiterranean Feast appeared first on Plant Based Dietitian.

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Foods Linked to ALS

Foods Linked to ALS.jpeg

As explored in my video ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease): Fishing for Answers, there may be a link in the consumption of the neurotoxin BMAA, produced by algae blooms, and increased risk of ALS. It now appears that BMAA could be found in high concentrations in aquatic animals in many areas of the world.

This could explain ALS clustering around lakes in New Hampshire--up to 25 times the expected rate of ALS with some families eating fish several times a week. Or in Wisconsin, where the most significant ALS risk factor was the past consumption of fish out of Lake Michigan. Or clustering in Finland's Lakeland district, or seafood eaters in France, or around the Baltic sea, building up particularly in fish, mussels and oysters.

When I think of algae blooms I think of the Chesapeake bay near where I live, that gets choked off thanks in part to the poultry industry pollution. And indeed there was a recent report linking BMAA exposure to ALS in Maryland. The ALS victims, all of whom ate Chesapeake Bay blue crabs every week, lived within a half mile of each other, which raised some eyebrows at the Hopkins ALS center. And so researchers tested a few crabs, and two out of three tested positive for BMAA, indicating that the neurotoxin is present in the aquatic food chain of the Chesapeake Bay and is a potential route for human exposure.

To bring the story full circle, things in Guam, where the link between BMAA consumption and ALS was first discovered, are looking up. The ALS epidemic there may have been triggered by their acquisition of guns. Now though, the epidemic appears to be over thanks to near-extinction of the fruit bats they were eating due to over-hunting. But while the rates decline in Guam, neurodegenerative diseases like ALS around the rest of the world are on the rise.

It's plausible that humans have been exposed to some level of BMAA throughout their evolutionary history, but the increase in algae blooms as a result of human activities is probably increasing this exposure. There is a general consensus that harmful algal blooms are increasing worldwide thanks in part to industrialized agriculture (as shown in my video Diet & Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis-ALS). More people means more sewage, fertilizer, and manure, which can mean more algae, which may mean more exposure to this neurotoxin, leading to a possible increased incidence of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and ALS.

BMAA is considered a strong contender as the cause of, or at least a major contributor to the cause of both endemic and sporadic ALS and Alzheimer's disease, and possibly conferring risk for Parkinson's diseases as well. The ramifications of this discovery are enormous.

As researchers from Australia stated, "With substantial and ever growing evidence that BMAA does play a role in the onset and progression of neurodegenerative diseases, the most important question is, what mode of activity does BMAA exert?" Huh? That's not the most important question we should be asking. The most important question is "How can we reduce our risk?"

We know that the presence of BMAA in aquatic food chains could be a significant human health hazard. There may even be a synergistic toxicity between mercury and BMAA, making certain fish even riskier. Until more is known about the possible link of BMAA to Alzheimer's and ALS, it may be prudent to limit exposure of BMAA in the human diet.

For other neurotoxins found in the food supply, see Amnesic Seafood Poisoning, Essential Tremor and Diet, Ciguatera Poisoning & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Other toxic substances can also build up in the aquatic food chain, for example:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Image Credit: Peter Miller / Flickr. This image has been modified.

Original Link

Foods Linked to ALS

Foods Linked to ALS.jpeg

As explored in my video ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease): Fishing for Answers, there may be a link in the consumption of the neurotoxin BMAA, produced by algae blooms, and increased risk of ALS. It now appears that BMAA could be found in high concentrations in aquatic animals in many areas of the world.

This could explain ALS clustering around lakes in New Hampshire--up to 25 times the expected rate of ALS with some families eating fish several times a week. Or in Wisconsin, where the most significant ALS risk factor was the past consumption of fish out of Lake Michigan. Or clustering in Finland's Lakeland district, or seafood eaters in France, or around the Baltic sea, building up particularly in fish, mussels and oysters.

When I think of algae blooms I think of the Chesapeake bay near where I live, that gets choked off thanks in part to the poultry industry pollution. And indeed there was a recent report linking BMAA exposure to ALS in Maryland. The ALS victims, all of whom ate Chesapeake Bay blue crabs every week, lived within a half mile of each other, which raised some eyebrows at the Hopkins ALS center. And so researchers tested a few crabs, and two out of three tested positive for BMAA, indicating that the neurotoxin is present in the aquatic food chain of the Chesapeake Bay and is a potential route for human exposure.

To bring the story full circle, things in Guam, where the link between BMAA consumption and ALS was first discovered, are looking up. The ALS epidemic there may have been triggered by their acquisition of guns. Now though, the epidemic appears to be over thanks to near-extinction of the fruit bats they were eating due to over-hunting. But while the rates decline in Guam, neurodegenerative diseases like ALS around the rest of the world are on the rise.

It's plausible that humans have been exposed to some level of BMAA throughout their evolutionary history, but the increase in algae blooms as a result of human activities is probably increasing this exposure. There is a general consensus that harmful algal blooms are increasing worldwide thanks in part to industrialized agriculture (as shown in my video Diet & Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis-ALS). More people means more sewage, fertilizer, and manure, which can mean more algae, which may mean more exposure to this neurotoxin, leading to a possible increased incidence of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and ALS.

BMAA is considered a strong contender as the cause of, or at least a major contributor to the cause of both endemic and sporadic ALS and Alzheimer's disease, and possibly conferring risk for Parkinson's diseases as well. The ramifications of this discovery are enormous.

As researchers from Australia stated, "With substantial and ever growing evidence that BMAA does play a role in the onset and progression of neurodegenerative diseases, the most important question is, what mode of activity does BMAA exert?" Huh? That's not the most important question we should be asking. The most important question is "How can we reduce our risk?"

We know that the presence of BMAA in aquatic food chains could be a significant human health hazard. There may even be a synergistic toxicity between mercury and BMAA, making certain fish even riskier. Until more is known about the possible link of BMAA to Alzheimer's and ALS, it may be prudent to limit exposure of BMAA in the human diet.

For other neurotoxins found in the food supply, see Amnesic Seafood Poisoning, Essential Tremor and Diet, Ciguatera Poisoning & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Other toxic substances can also build up in the aquatic food chain, for example:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Image Credit: Peter Miller / Flickr. This image has been modified.

Original Link