What's New! - A Healthy Living Newsletter
My patients frequently ask my opinion
about new health books on the market. And there's certainly no shortage
of experts peddling their advice! While many of these books are excellent,
others are written by people who don't have a clinical background in the
subject. Simply put - they're inaccurate.
The people writing the books either don't regularly use the medicines
they write about or they're presenting theories as if they are facts.
Others can be valuable tools for improving the quality of your life.
If you find this newsletter useful, please forward it to a friend!
Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy
The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy
By Walter C. Willett, M.D.
"A healthy diet teamed up with regular exercise and no smoking
can eliminate 80% of heart disease and 70% of some cancers."
Do we have your attention yet?
That means that even if you have heart disease or colon
cancer or breast cancer in your family, you can avoid it. Or if you currently
have arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries due to buildup of plague
from cholesterol, etc.) or have already had a bout with cancer, you can
avoid a heart attack or a reoccurrence of the cancer. How does this book
differ from all the others that make such similar lofty claims that came
and went over the years? It's better researched, came out of Harvard,
and has a lot of common sense. Oh yes, it also agrees, for the most part,
with what naturopathic physicians and conventional doctors like Andrew
Weil have been saying for decades.
Eat, Drink and Be Healthy challenges many nutritional standards starting
with 1992 revised USDA (US Department of Agriculture) Food Pyramid. In
case you don't remember it, it's the triangle with fats, oils and sweets
at the top and the 6-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta at the
bottom. Willett's major complaints with this revised pyramid is not all
fats are bad and there are significant differences between whole grains
and refined grains. For example, a slice of white bread has a different
effect on both blood sugar and nutritional content compared with a slice
of whole grain seeded bread. One depletes your body, the other provides
nutrition to strengthen your body. He also pulls potatoes out of the vegetable
category and into the carbohydrate category along with pastas and bread
- where they belong. In fact, Willett made so many changes, he decided
to make a whole new food pyramid. He put red meat, butter, white rice,
white bread, potatoes, pasta and sweets in the eat-sparingly top section,
and whole grain foods and plant oils (olive, canola, soy, corn, sunflower,
peanut and other vegetable oils) in the eat-plenty-of-section at the bottom.
After taking on the USDA, Willett goes after the ADA (American Dairy Association).
I was impressed. He all but states the "calcium crisis" in the
US is contrived by the ADA. We don't need all the dairy and calcium-fortified
foods and supports this claim with research. In addition he reports that
too much dairy may increase the risks of ovarian and prostate cancer as
well as contribute to obesity. This is in addition to the sinus headaches,
childhood ear infections, and lactose intolerance I commonly see as a
result of excess dairy in the diet. What's excessive? Three glasses of
milk a day. Instead, Willett urges us to eat other sources of calcium
like vegetables, beans and nuts and to decrease excessive protein (more
than 8 grams of protein for every 20 lbs of weight in a non-obese person)
which depletes calcium.
A quick summary of other important points in the book include: beans and
nuts have advantages over meat as a protein source; trans fatty acids
(vegetable shortenings, stick margarines, commercial baked goods, crackers,
etc) increase triglyceride levels and the formation of blood clots; alcohol
in moderation is fine for some people, and Olestra, the fat-blocking substance
flooding the chip market is a "disaster waiting to happen".
Eat, Drink and Be Healthy is a great book - but not a perfect book. For
starters, based on their location on his food pyramid, Willett suggests
that we eat abundant amounts of plant oils. There is a significant quality
difference among the various oils and their manufacturers. Canola may
be a healthier choice than lard, but it's not a healthier choice than
the natural oil in an avocado or a small handful of almonds, for example.
Also, most oils heated to high temperatures will contain free radicals
- a detrimental condition for your body
My second complaint is that Willett recommends a daily multi-vitamin and
mineral - for about $.10 a day. The book was written in 2001. Based on
this dollar amount, a year's supply would equal $36.50. Granted he's a
researcher, but he should realize that in a fairly unregulated industry,
$36.50 a year isn't going to get you much. As I written many times in
this newsletter, the cheaper vitamins very frequently don't contain what
they claim on the label. Also, the cheaper vitamins use more binders and
fillers and are often poorly absorbed. A decent multi-vitamin and mineral
should cost between $20.00 and $40.00 a month. If you eat the way this
book recommends, you can cut that figure in half or thirds as you won't
need the full recommended amount.
Other minor complaints are his neutral stance on aspartame (artificial
sweetener) and that any form of calcium in supplements is fine. Once again,
he may know food, but he doesn't know the supplement industry. The least
expensive and most commonly recommended calcium form, calcium carbonate,
not only can lead to kidney stones, but is much less easily absorbed than
calcium citrate or calcium hydroxyapetite.
Eat, Drink and Be Healthy may not be "the latest thinking about diet
and health", but it is an intelligent presentation of good sound
eating habits - and well worth the time to read.
and Our Bones
The Natural Way to Prevent Osteoporosis
By Annemarie Colbin
It's simple. If you're a female and want to avoid osteoporosis, take
1000-1500 mg of calcium, exercise regularly and when you are nearing
menopause, take some form of HRT (hormonal replacement therapy).
If it's so simple, author Annemarie Colbin asks - then
why isn't it working? In the past 40-50 years, hip fractures, a common
indicator and consequence of osteoporosis, are on the rise - especially
in the United States and Northern Europe. Among the populations researched,
it's lower in the Mediterranean and Asian countries and lowest in the
least developed areas of South Africa. What do the people in least developed
areas of South Africa know about protecting their bones that we, in the
US and Northern Europe, don't? Answering that question is what this book
is all about.
Osteoporosis, a degenerative and physically limiting condition consisting
of easily fractured bones and painful collapsed vertebrae in the spine,
has many causes: 1) decreased estrogen in postmenopausal women, 2) advanced
age, 3) sedentary lifestyle, 4) endocrine glands dysfunction, 5) malnutrition,
6) disease, and 7) pharmaceutical drugs. The first is well-known and needs
no additional explanation. The second usually comes as a surprise to men.
Yes, men can expect to develop osteoporosis about 10 years later than
women. The third is fairly obvious - if you don't exercise and strengthen
your bones, they will weaken faster. Endocrine gland dysfunction refers
to diseases of the thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal glands (Addison's disease)
as well as the pancreas (diabetes). Other non-endocrine related illnesses
that may contribute to osteoporosis are diseases of the liver, gastrointestinal
tract, kidneys and various cancers. The final category of known causes
contributing to osteoporosis include pharmaceutical drugs such as corticosteroids,
anticoagulants (blood thinners), anti-epileptic drugs, certain diuretics
(for high blood pressure and weight loss), lithium, antitumor agents (cancer
therapy) and thyroid hormones. Now that you've heard the bad news, what
can you do? Colbin suggests looking to your diet and lifestyle.
Osteoporosis only appears in countries where diet includes the habitual
use of refined foods (e.g. white bread, jam, white sugar, sweetened condensed
milk, and canned vegetables). Summarizing about five chapters of text
and 70 pages of recipes - fresh vegetables, whole grains, and beans feed
the bones, refined carbohydrates, high amounts of animal protein, alcohol
and caffeine weaken the bones.
Two of my favorite parts of the book are when Colbin targets the misuse
of antacids and dairy in the prevention of osteoporosis. "Calcium-based
antacids have become extremely popular as a calcium supplement to ward
off osteoporosis. There are a number of scientific papers describing the
unexpected problems that a large unbalanced influx of calcium has on the
human body. One of the bigger problems is severe kidney failure
condition caused by excess calcium carbonate is called hypercalcemia,
which can be life-threatening if not caught in time. The symptoms include
reduction in physical fitness, fatigue, headache, nausea without vomiting,
abnormal bone scan
" "A 1997 study published in the American
Journal of Epidemiology found that the use
of a popular brand of
calcium antacids brought a 70% increased risk of forearm fractures."
Makes you think twice before downing another antacid.
Similarly, Colbin cites an article in the 1997 issue of the American Journal
of Public Health based on a study of seventy-eight thousand nurses over
12 years. Women who drank 2 or more glasses of milk a day were more likely
to fracture a hip or forearm than those who drank milk only once a week
Osteoporosis will eventually happen to us all. However, Food and Our
Bones gives the reader another perspective to the disease and some
ways to delay its onset. Though the average reader may find the initial
explanation of osteoporosis tedious, the book is well-written enough to
keep your attention. Equally as important, there is enough research to
support her contentions about a refined foods diet and poor lifestyle
choices contributing to osteoporosis. The pain of osteoporosis is significant.
A patient of mine who experienced both osteoporosis and cancer, summed
it up this way. "Cancer pain was bad, but I'd take it any day over
the pain of osteoporosis." Any help avoiding the pain and physical
limitation of osteoporosis is a step in the right direction.
If you are supplementing your diet with calcium to reduce
your risk of bone loss, falling and fracture, remember to make sure that
there is Vitamin D in the calcium supplement. One recent study of 122
elderly women showed that after 3 months of treatment, there were 55 falls
among the women who only took calcium and 25 falls in the group who took
Vitamin D along with the calcium.
If you suffer from heartburn, are out dining and don't have your heartburn
medicine handy, get a cup of licorice tea or any tea with licorice in
it. Licorice is very soothing and while it won't stop heartburn the way
changes in your diet or other more specific treatments will, it will help
decrease the immediate discomfort. A small caution - don't do this on
a regular basis if you have high blood pressure as excessive licorice
can contribute to high blood pressure.
To all the local readers, our office is now located
at 11825 SW Greenburg Rd., Ste A2, Tigard, Or. 97223. Our phone number will
remain the same.
Copyright 2009 NaturopathyOnline.com