Meat and milk from cloning are safe, 2 FDA scientists say
This article is about a week old...sorry, I've been busy with alot of stuff. So the FDA has determined that consuming meat and milk from cloned animals is safe. For some reason, that doesn't give me the warm and fuzzies. The FDA is well known for having huge industry ties when it comes to pharmaceuticals and there would be little surprise among most consumers to find out about ties to the food industry. The real shaft of the deal is that food from cloned animals won't be labeled. I think those of us that would rather not consume cloned animals should be able to look at a package and determine that it is from a regular ol', standard bred animal, whether those reasons be for health or morals.
This is further justification for eating grassfed meats or hunting your own game. Grassfed meat producers are a) typically smaller and are not going to drop $60,000 on cloning one animal and b) actually care about the animals and the meat that they turn out. There are quite a few good places to purchase grassfed meat online: Slanker's Grassfed Meats, Tallgrass Beef Company, Northstar Bison, and lots of local places .
This Site Has Moved
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Meat and milk from cloning are safe, 2 FDA scientists say
Vitamins and Workout Performance
This article from Science Daily articulates why a proper diet is essential for athletes to perform at their best.
Active individuals lacking in B-vitamins -- including college athletes and other elite competitors -- may perform worse during high-intensity exercise and have a decreased ability to repair and build muscle than counterparts with nutrient-rich diets, according to recent Oregon State University research published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
The B-vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, B-12 and folate. These micronutrients are necessary during the body's process for converting proteins and sugars into energy, and are used during the production and repair of cells, including red blood cells.
Here's the kicker...fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of the B-vitamins, while grains deplete B-vitamins. Considering the high carb, high grain diet of most Americans, B-vitamin deficiencies are a very real deal. This evidence (which thinking nutritional folks already knew) reinforces the need for a nutrient-dense diet consisting of meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit and starch, and no sugar. Sugar is another "food" that depletes b-vitamins. A Paleo-style diet is the way to go.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Fish Oil Improves Baby's Hand-Eye Coordination
I came across this study today which further validates the use of supplemental omega-3 fatty acids, especially the EPA and DHA found in fish and cod liver oils.
High-dose fish oil supplements given during pregnancy appear to be safe for the baby and even improve later hand-eye coordination.
The main point of the article is that Omega-3's improve hand-eye coordination in the unborn baby when given to pregnant women.
However, the children of women in the fish oil group had significantly higher hand-eye coordination scores on the Griffiths Mental Development Scale than those of the control group (114.0 versus 108.0, P=0.021). Despite adjustment for maternal age, maternal education and duration of breast feeding, supplementation remained a significant independent factor (P=0.008).
Fish oil is good not only for the baby, but also for the mother and all of us that are not and/or will never become pregnant. Omega-3's serve to reduce inflammation, which is a culprit in most any illness. Go to Pubmed and search for "fish oil" and any illness you can think of. Fish oil and Cod Liver oil are both excellent sources of DHA and EPA, the long-chain fatty acids that comprise some 60% of the brain.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Recent studies from Cornell University show that the calories consumed in "low-fat" foods lead many people to eat 28 to 45 percent more calories than they would if they were eating the full-fat version.
There's a very simple mechanism at work here. The human tongue predominantly tastes only fat and sugar. Protein is rather bland without seasonings and the most delicious cuts of steak are also the fattiest. The more sugar in a fruit or vegetable, the less bland it is. When you make something "low fat", the fat has to be replaced with sugar or no one will eat it. So "low fat" is often higher sugar than the original product, but that's okay with some people because "it's the fat that makes you fat." Of course that's a myth, but nevertheless. The reason people eat more is because sugar stimulates the appetite. Once you stimulate those taste buds, it is very hard to turn down eating more. I have the same problem; I can willpower my way past the cookies and fudge and candy for days. But if I have "just a bite," one bite becomes ten.
It's an evolutionary mechanism. We evolved in an environment full of protein (animals), but relatively sparse in terms of fat and sugar. Wild animals are only fat at certain times of year and plants only flower and fruit during certain seasons. Those that could find the high-energy fat and sugar were most likely to pass on their genes and survive.
Naturally, the healthiest thing to do is to avoid snack foods. Special occasions, sure. But don't make Wednesday night a special occasion just cause it's a Wednesday. And when you do eat snacks, eat the original version, which is the one you really want anyway. Eat a bit less of it and call it a day. The fat will help to satisfy you anyway.
Two soft drinks a day ups pancreatic cancer risk by 90%
I came across this article on Medpage last week.
The crux of the article:
Consuming two cans of fizzy drinks a day can double your risk of developing one of the most fatal types of cancer, say researchers.
People who add sugar to cups of tea or coffee are also at higher risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a new study.
Looks like it's the sugar causing the problems again. The soft drinks may introduce an even greater threat due to their carbonation and acidity, but the article doesn't really lay out the difference in the increased risk. And pancreatic cancer is a BIG deal:
Almost all the 7,000 people who get pancreatic cancer annually in the UK die shortly after diagnosis, partly because the symptoms are spotted too late.
Only two per cent of patients are alive five years after first being treated, although surgery followed by chemotherapy can increase survival rates.
Of course, there's always the chance that the soft drinks only point to a general lifestyle more at risk of cancer and since the study was a retrospective diet survey (notoriously inaccurate), it could be a case of correlation not equaling causation. Perhaps people that drink 2 or more soft drinks per day are also more likely to smoke and less likely to exercise. Smoking, along with the high sugar content of the diet, is a known risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Regardless, why test it? You really won't miss the soft drinks from your diet, your skin will be healthier and you will just generally feel better. They didn't really classify what is a "soft drink" in terms of size, but I'm willing to bet that 12oz or less counts as one. Think about that the next time you pick up a 44oz or 64oz Coke from BP. And a large at McDonald's, et al is like 32oz. Those are all more than one soft drink.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I read an article some time ago about "Double Diabetes" (aka Type 3 Diabetes aka Type 1.5 Diabetes). Then a couple days ago I came across this one. Basically a person with Double Diabetes has both Type 1 (insulin deficient) Diabetes and Type 2 (insulin resistant) Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes, a category which 5-10% of diabetics fall into, is typically an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks the pancreas' insulin producing cells such that they don't function anymore, hence insulin deficiency. Type 2 Diabetes is a disease of lifestyle. It is characterized by obesity and high blood sugar. It is termed "insulin resistance" because the muscles have closed down their insulin receptors due to overstimulation (i.e., too many carbs creating too much insulin). Once the muscles shut down, the body shuttles everything into fat to protect itself against high blood sugar.
What happens in Double Diabetes is that a person with Type 1 may overuse their insulin to cover a poor diet, such as that pushed by the ADA, resulting in obesity and resistance to the action of their injections. Or a Type 2 diabetic may continue to eat a poor diet (the same diet that caused their diabetes in the first place) and cause their body to secrete ever-increasing amounts of insulin in an effort to force nutrients into the muscles, eventually resulting in pancreatic burnout.
The scary part:
For instance, recent studies suggest that as many as 30 percent of newly diagnosed diabetes cases among children involve youngsters with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
30%!!! Three of every ten kids diagnosed as diabetic are being diagnosed with both diseases. Unless steps are taken to change the direction of obesity in this country, today's kids are going to live shorter lives with a lower quality of life than their parents. The fix is simple: eat a diet based on whole, natural foods that can be killed with a stick or picked from the ground, namely meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar.
Higher Childhood IQ = Higher Likelihood of Being Vegetarian
This study came out that shows that smarter children tend to end up being vegetarian later in life. Of course, that doesn't mean they're healthier. Many smart people tend to overanalyze things and like to hold the "moral high ground." There is likely some carryover of that into vegetarianism as the smart folks strive to be above us heathens that would dare eat animal flesh. However, those that listen to their bodies know that animal products are necessary for optimal healthy.
One interesting finding:
The study found that vegans had an average childhood IQ score that was nearly 10 points lower than other vegetarians (95.1 for vegans versus 104.8 for other vegetarians; P=0.04). However, this result could be unreliable because of the small sample size: only nine study participants were vegan, the authors noted.
So called ovo-lacto vegetarianism can be done in a healthy way if one pays attention to ensure enough protein and fat are taken in. On the other hand, veganism is a wholly unhealthy endeavor, only being categorized as healthy because it is healthier than the SAD (Standard American Diet). Humans evolved to eat animals and our genetics simply will not allow us to thrive without the high-density energy sources that are animal flesh, along with the vitamins that are only available in animal products.
Consumers Support Farmer's Market Instead of McDonald's; McDonald's Closes
In the town of Tavistock in the UK, consumers have changed their buying patterns to purchasing locally grown produce from the Tavistock farmer's market. Because they are choosing unprocessed foods over unhealthy, highly processed McDonald's, business was no longer viable for McDonald's. The local Mickie D's has decided to close it's doors. That's what happens when consumers make choices based on their health. It's really not that hard to eat right: build your diet around meat, vegetables, nuts, and seeds; add in some fruit and starchy tubers (sweet potatoes, squashes, pumpkins); and avoid sugar. None of those things will ever lead you near a fast food joint.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Dr. Cordain's Paleo Newsletter
Dr. Loren Cordain, author of the excellent book The Paleo Diet has put out another of his monthly newsletters. This one deals with all of the detrimental effects of milk. Cow's milk is for cows.
Coke will try anything
Here's a laugher. Coke is putting out a Diet Coke drink fortified with vitamins and minerals. Rest assured that this is a marketing ploy; no soft drink, diet or otherwise, is ever going to be healthy. Water, tea, or black coffee are the only good choices of beverages for health.
And here's your bonus link of the day: The Biochemical Effects of a Coke
Enjoy reading about what's happening in your body after you ingest this crap.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Consumer Pressures Push Starbucks Towards rBGH (rBST)-free Dairy
This article ties into my earlier posts on trans fats, both the successful ban in New York City and the potential ban in Louisville, KY. Consumers have pressured Starbucks into moving towards dairy that isn't produced with Bovine Growth Hormone. See, we don't need government regulation of what we can and can't eat. That's what a free-market economy is for; companies won't do that which isn't profitable. What we need regulation on is that companies must provide the information that x, y, and z are in their products and then let the consumer decide if they want to consume those items. If KFC is forced to say they each piece of chicken has 50g of trans fat and consumers continue to eat it, why should the government step in? On the other hand, if a restaurant discloses it's nutrition information and consumers stop eating it, the restaurant will quit serving that item or change the ingredients such that it is profitable again. Consumer uproar pushed McDonald's away from styrofoam many moons ago. And now consumers have asked Starbucks to serve them milk without the growth hormones, which are in the milk and are probably not too healthy for humans either. We don't need more regulation. If the government would just require that the information get into consumer hands, consumers will decide what is best for them.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
...Doctors Loren Cordain and Colin Campbell, each top-notch in their respective fields. Dr. Cordain has made his mark in the realm of Paleolithic nutrition and runs The Paleo Diet website and Dr. Campbell is a worthy adversary with is research into low-protein vegetarian diets and avoidance of all animal products. Robb and Greg over at The Performance Menu put this debate together and it's awesome. It's 33 pages long, but is well worth the read. In typical medical fashion, each doctor writes his essay and the opponent offers a rebuttal; there are no follow-up rebuttals. Take your time and digest it, then consider the arguments made and any questions that the two doctors may leave you with.
And if you care about nutrition, health, and exercise, along with some great recipes, subscribe to The Performance Menu. It's only $30/year for 12 issues. You won't find a better source for top-notch nutrition information (and unfortunately I get no money for saying that).
Monday, December 11, 2006
E.Coli at Taco Bell; Green Onions Blamed
There was another E.Coli outbreak last week, this time at Taco Bell, that bastion of healthy eating. Officials have traced the outbreak to green onions. Given that I've written about E.Coli once before during the spinach outbreak, I won't go into all the details again. But the salient point is that E.Coli 0157:H7 (the offending strain that causes humans so much trouble) is not of vegetable kingdom origin. It comes from the manure of our improperly raised cows, those fed corn and other grains instead of grass. This manure may then be used directly as fertilizer or "just" taint the groundwater. Officials talk of regulating the produce industry; what they really need to be doing is taking a look at the feedlot meat industry and ways to reduce the growth of E.Coli, not just ways to control it after the fact. Obviously not having E.Coli 0157:H7 around is a better option than trying to destroy it afterwards.
Another point I'd like to throw out there is that E.Coli 0157:H7 is a direct example of natural selection in progress. The grain fed to the cows causes a much more highly acidic environment in the stomach than normal. This acidic environment kills off all but the acid-resistant bacteria. These acid-resistant bacteria then multiply, as all creatures do. Over time, those that are the most acid-resistant are given a better chance to pass on their DNA and behold, 0157:H7 becomes a new strain of E.Coli. It is a glaring example of survival of the fittest; 0157:H7 is most fit for a highly acidic environment and therefore, it thrives. If you change the environment by feeding the cows grass such that their stomach is not an acidic environment, 0157:H7 proliferation dies off quickly.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Long-Term Low-Protein Diet Reduces Markers of Cancer Risk
Does Too Much Protein In The Diet Increase Cancer Risk?
Ahh yes, back to damning the gluttony of us barbarian meat-eaters while extolling the virtues of a vegetarian lifestyle living in peace and harmony with plants and animals alike. These two articles discuss a recent study that comes to the conclusion that eating less protein lowers the risk of cancer. Let's look at some of the details:
The study involved three groups of people. The first ate a low-protein, low-calorie, raw food vegetarian diet and was made up of 21 lean men and women. Another group consisted of 21 lean subjects who did regular endurance running, averaging about 48 miles per week. The runners ate a standard Western diet, consuming more calories and protein than group one. The third group included 21 sedentary people who also consumed a standard Western diet, higher in sugars, processed refined grains and animal products. The subjects were matched for age, sex and other demographic factors, and no one smoked or had diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, lung disease or other chronic illness.
Fontana and colleagues found significantly lower blood levels of plasma insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in the low-protein diet group than in either the equally lean runners or the sedentary people eating a standard Western diet.
The average body mass index (BMI) in the low-protein, low-calorie group was 21.3. BMI averaged 21.1 among the runners and 26.5 among those who were sedentary. BMI is a measurement of weight divided by height squared. People with a BMI greater than 25 are considered overweight.
Is it just me or does it sound like they are comparing a great number of variables and coming to a conclusion about only one of them? So let's first look at the obvious variables:
- Fruit and vegetable intake: The vegetarians would obviously consume more.
- Animal product intake: The vegetarians would obviously consume less.
- Protein intake: Details above.
- Raw food: The vegetarian group was made up of raw-foodists.
- Different body-mass index: The vegetarians and runners were underweight while the control group was overweight.
So which variable caused the decrease in cancer risk? Could it be the extra vitamins and minerals the vegetarians took in from their higher fruit and vegetable intake? Could it be that the "Western style diet" (i.e., standard American crap) was higher in sugar from junk food? What types of animal products did they eat? Was the meat grain-fed and pumped full of antibiotics and hormones or natural, grass-fed meat? Do they count foods like salami, cured bacon, and other meats loaded with nitrates and nitrites, both known cancer-causers, as "animal products"? Was the "Western diet" higher in refined carbohydrates? What about fat? What was the comparison of the level of trans fat intake between the two groups? What about vegetable oil intake? Did the Westerners use vegetable oils in all of their polyunsaturated goodness with their known immunosuppressive properties instead of those "dangerous" saturated fats?
See, if you want to do a study, you need to set it up to look at ONLY THE VARIABLE YOU WANT TO EVALUATE! It is irresponsible science to have a study with 10+ variables and come to a conclusion for only one. It reeks of "this is what we wanted to find and lo, we found it." How come we never see a comparison of vegetarian diets to truly healthy carnivorous diets? When will we see a study comparing a group of vegetarians to a group of people eating a Hunter-Gatherer style diet with lots of fresh unprocessed meats, vegetables, fruits, fats from nuts and oils (olive, coconut, palm), and little in the way of grains or dairy? We probably won't; those pushing the vegetarian agenda don't want to compare their diet to a truly healthy way to live, only to the lowest common denominator. Yes, a vegetarian diet is likely healthier than a standard American diet. But the standard American diet is so woefully inadequate as to make this comparison laughable. Anyone still want to presume that it was really the protein intake?
Visual of the Size of the Earth in Comparison to Other Celestial Bodies
This is a cool set of pictures showing the size of the Earth in relation to that of our neighboring planets. It really makes it obvious just how small and inconsequential we are.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Top 10 Broken Arms/Legs in Sports
The videos on this page may be a bit graphic. But they do illustrate both the fragility and the resilience of the human body. I say resilience because of the number of incredible hits that there are in sports that don't result in injury. Fragility is self-explanatory.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
New York City Bans Trans Fats
Here's a follow-up to my last entry. New York City has banned trans fats in restaurants. There are some limitations to the law, such as food served directly from a manufacturer's package, but all in all, this will cause some sweeping changes in the restaurant industry. Will it improve health? That's debatable. Eating food fried in polyunsaturated soy or corn oil is only marginally healthier than eating food fried in trans fatty oils. Eating sugar is as bad or worse than eating trans fats. Both sugar and trans fats do serious damage to the arteries causing cholesterol to come to the rescue to try to repair the damage (for which cholesterol gets blamed no less). Both of these items should be minimized in, or better yet eliminated from, a healthy diet.
I'm still not sure that I'm for this given that once the government decides to regulate, they rarely decide to unregulate. What will they decide is bad for us next? Steak? Eggs? Beer?
Here's another link I stole from Dr. Michael Eades' blog: 10 Worst Trans Fat Offending Foods. The first picture is poutine, a Canadian specialty of french fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. It's hard to imagine that the "average" person only eats 5.8g of trans per day given the amount in those items. Now you know what to avoid. If you need something to replace margarine, try butter (yes, the real stuff isn't bad for you), coconut oil, palm oil, or olive oil.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I'm a few days late on this one: Louisville Discusses Trans Fat Ban. And Restaurants Oppose Trans Fat Ban.
My home city of Louisville, KY has proposed a trans fat ban in restaurants in the interest of public safety. I'm a bit torn on this one. I hate government regulation. Little good comes when the government regulates. And I am all for personal responsibility. There is already too little of it in our litigious world. On the other hand, trans fats are the absolute worst thing you can eat short of arsenic. They are a man-made fat which serves only to clog your arteries, damage your fatty acid profile, and destroy the fluidity of your cell walls.
Of course with government regulation, people may actually begin thinking that fast food isn't so bad for them. One guy in the second article said 'he'd favor a ban. "If they can put out a product that's healthier for me, then why shouldn't they?"' It will only be healthier in the same sense that smoking 1 pack of cigarettes a day is healthier than smoking 2 packs. Not eating fast food on a regular basis is the only healthy option. And keep in mind that there is no way that the restaurants will return to frying in healthy saturated fats like coconut and palm oils; they're saturated and we all "know" that saturated fat is bad for us. There's an area that the government has already screwed up - should we let them continue regulating what we eat?
Monday, December 04, 2006
It's been awhile since I posted...I've been getting things taken care of to start my new job (started today). Here's a gem that my wife forwarded to me today: McDonald's adds gyms to restaurants
Well, McDonald's is at it again, trying to spit-shine that public image. Now they've opened seven test locations with "high-tech mini-gyms" for kids. Basically kids can play video games or watch TV so long as they are exercising at the same time. For instance a bike lets them play a game as long as they are pedaling. McDonald's claims it to be an effort to fight obesity or something. In reality, it is an attempt to bring in more business and increase profits. Fast food companies are not in the charity business; that is, they exist to make money. Any action they take is an attempt to make more money. If it is not, they are doing their shareholders a disservice. And considering that health (and body composition) is 75% diet and 25% exercise, it's not difficult to see that a steady diet of McDonald's is going to win out over any level of exercise anyway.