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AJCN March, 2008

SUMMARY - NEW: MUSCLES -If you want to prevent losing your muscles, eat more fruit and veggies, and avoid meat and grains (12). FOLATE - Although folate is essential during pregnancy when 800 mcg is necessary, most people should get just 400 mcg. Cancer cells go through three stages of development before becoming malignant, and folate encourages cancer cells to progress through stages 2 and 3 leading to aggressive tumors (2). Another article indicates that too much folate may increase breast cancer risk by about 40% (14). But cruciferous vegetable intake lowers that risk by about 60% (15). YOGURT-Thanks to DNA technology, much research is progressing about the bacteria that inhabit our bodies. The species of bacteria inhabiting our colons vary tremendously between people, and this study (3) shows that children at age 7 with the lowest levels of bifidobacteria (found in yogurt) were much more likely to be overweight. It appears that kids who eat yogurt when younger are more able to process food to digest it and regulate weight more effectively. SO BABIES MAY BENEFIT WITH PROPER WEIGHT CONTROL SIMPLY BY EATING YOGURT REGULARLY . FISH OIL-And if pregnant women do not consume enough fish oil, the eyesight of their babies may not develop properly(4), SO FISH OIL DURING PREGNANCY MAY BE ESSENTIAL! OLIVE OIL-Olive oil, as previously shown in my weight loss study, helps with weight loss (8).

MORE INSIGHT: GREEN TEA-Taking green tea extract capsules may help burn fat while you exercise (16). TRANSFATS - Transfats are hazardous. They are found naturally in milk fat, and even there may be hazardous (1). DIETS - Low-carb and low-fat diets had the same effects that reduce the risk for heart disease (5). HOW MUCH EXERCISE-An average amount of moderate physical activity is 2 to 3 hours per day, and less is likely to result in obesity (6). VITAMIN D-Nearly 75% of white people in Arizona do not have enough vitamin D for optimal health, and people of color have even less (7). SWEET DEATH-The findings about eating too much sugary and starchy foods "support the hypothesis that higher postprandial glycemia is a universal mechanism for disease progression."(9) If you are going to eat carbs, lunch is the least harmful time to do it (10). FIBER-And a high fiber breakfast will help even more (11). EYESIGHT- A large study in Ireland showed dietary needs related to aging (zeaxanthin), smoking (vitamin C), drinking (omega-6 fats), and being female (zinc) (13). PORTION SIZE-Last but not least, if you take a smaller initial serving, you are likely to eat less food (17)

DETAILS - 1. Transfats - "the diets with 3.7% of energy from trans-fats [TFA], whether from ruminant or industrial sources, each had similar adverse effects on blood lipids and lipoproteins, including increases in LDL cholesterol, decreases in HDL cholesterol, and increases in the ratio of total to HDL cholesterol... the evidence to date, including that from the present studies, does not strongly support an overall beneficial effect of ruminant TFA or CLA. " But the levels of dairy transfats consumed in this study were far beyond what people eat (ref).

2. Hazards of too much folate - "High blood concentrations of folic acid may be related to decreased natural killer cell cytotoxicity, and high folate status may reduce the response to antifolate drugs used against malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and cancer...Folate has a dual effect on cancer, protecting against cancer initiation but facilitating progression and growth of preneoplastic cells and subclinical cancers, which are common in the population. "

3. Yogurt may reduce childhood obesity - "Results:The bifidobacterial numbers in fecal samples during infancy, ...were higher in children remaining normal weight, ... than in children becoming overweight ...Conclusion:Aberrant compositional development of the gut microbiota precedes overweight, offering new possibilities for preventive and therapeutic applications in weight management. "

4. Fish oil during pregnancy necessary for baby's vision for life - " Objective: We sought to determine whether DHA [active ingredient in fish oil] deficiency occurs in pregnant women and contributes to poor infant development...More infant girls in the placebo than in the DHA intervention group had a visual acuity below average...]

5. Low calorie diets are good for health whether low fat or low carb - "Objective: The effect of an LC [low carb diet] on markers of endothelial function and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk was compared with that of an isocaloric high-carbohydrate, low-saturated-fat diet (HC)...Conclusion: An LC does not impair FMD. We observed beneficial effects of both diets on most of the CVD risk factors measured. This trial was registered with the Australian Clinical Trials Registry"

6. Kids need exercise - Conclusion: In view of an increase in obesity in young people, the results accentuate the role of PA in sustaining metabolic balance in adolescence and the potential benefit of an increase of time spent at higher PA levels for youth with relatively elevated amounts of body fat." Average physical activity was 2 to 3 hours of moderate activity per day.

7. Even sunshine doesn't provide enough vitamin D - "Conclusion: Despite residing in a region with high chronic sun exposure, adults in southern Arizona are commonly deficient in vitamin D deficiency, particularly blacks and Hispanics." Up to 30% of caucasian adults had serious deficiencies of vitamin D, and only 25% had enough to maintain all requirements.

8. Olive oil helps with weight loss - "Conclusions:Consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oils as part of a weight-loss plan improves weight loss compared with olive oil and can thus be successfully included in a weight-loss diet. Small changes in the quality of fat intake can therefore be useful to enhance weight loss." Participants took 4 to 5 teaspoons per day.

9. Eating too much sugary and starchy foods at one sitting contributes to chronic disease - It is worthwhile to understand both glycemic load and glycemic index of foods. " Conclusions:Low-GI and/or low-GL diets are independently associated with a reduced risk of certain chronic diseases. In diabetes and heart disease, the protection is comparable with that seen for whole grain and high fiber intakes. The findings support the hypothesis that higher postprandial glycemia is a universal mechanism for disease progression."

10. It's safest to eat your carbs at lunch - "Conclusion: [ even distribution betweem meals] did not optimize blood glucose control as assessed by postprandial peaks, whereas [eating carbs just at lunch] provided the most favorable postprandial profile." Simply put, lunch ought to be the main meal of the day.

11. High fiber breakfast really helps - "Conclusions:Glucose tolerance at subsequent meals can be notably improved during the course of a whole day or overnight by choosing specific low-GI, whole-grain cereal products. A low GI may be sufficient to achieve a second-meal effect from breakfast to lunch. A specific indigestible carbohydrate mixture appears to be required to show benefits on glucose tolerance in a longer time frame (9.5 h), most likely mediated through colonic fermentation."

12. Why fruit and vegetables maintain muscles better than meat and grains - Fruit and vegetables digest to produce basic molecules, meat and cereals make acidic molecules. "Background: Maintaining muscle mass while aging is important to prevent falls and fractures. Metabolic acidosis promotes muscle wasting, and the net acid load from diets that are rich in net acid–producing protein and cereal grains relative to their content of net alkali–producing fruit and vegetables may therefore contribute to a reduction in lean tissue mass in older adults...Conclusion: Higher intake of foods rich in potassium, such as fruit and vegetables, may favor the preservation of muscle mass in older men and women."

13. Macular degeneration results from a deficiency of zeaxanthin. Older people often do not get enough zeaxanthin - "Results: Of the established risk factors for ARM, increasing age was associated with a relative lack of dietary zeaxanthin (P < 0.05) and tobacco use with a relative lack of dietary vitamin C (P < 0.05). Of the putative risk factors for ARM, alcohol consumption was associated with a relative lack of dietary -linoleic acid (P < 0.05), and female sex was associated with a relative lack of dietary zinc (P < 0.05)."

14. Too much folate when not pregnant or nursing may contribute to breast cancer - "The observed positive associations of folate status with risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer and ER-positive or PR-positive tumors are unexpected. Additional research is needed to elucidate the role of folate in breast cancer development." [Article 2 above may explain the reason.]

15. But eating cruciferous vegetables reduces breast cancer risk by about 69%! - "Conclusions: Cruciferous vegetable intake consistent with high isothiocyanate exposure may reduce breast cancer risk. Cruciferous vegetable intake also may ameliorate the effects of the GSTP1 genotype."

16. Green tea extract helps burn fat. "Conclusions: Acute green tea extract ingestion [(total: 890 ± 13 mg polyphenols and 366 ± 5 mg EGCG) over 24 hours] can increase fat oxidation during moderate-intensity exercise and can improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in healthy young men."

17. And finally, a book review notes studies showing A) people eat more when given larger portions, B) people eat less when they have chicken bones left on their plates, and people are likely to think they are getting more in a tall thin glass than in a short wide one with the same volume.

It's spring, and we're having a blizzard today! Nourishment can come by noticing that life is astounding. Have a great month!

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