2013 was a banner year for NutritionFacts.org. Thanks to the collective enthusiasm for sharing this work from our subscribers, twitter followers, and 100,000 Facebook fans, we averaged more than a million views per month. But it’s not about the numbers; it’s about the people whose lives we’ve touched, changed, or even saved. That is why I volunteer my time to get new videos and articles up every day. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has made this public service possible. If you’d like to join others who have supported this free, nonprofit, noncommercial effort please consider making a tax-deductible donation here.
NutritionFacts.org arises from my annual review of the scientific literature. With the help of a team of fellow volunteers, in 2013 we downloaded and categorized 9,528 papers on human nutrition. Now I just have to read them all! Right now I’m in the process of recording the first batch of new 2014 videos. How do I choose which studies to highlight? In general I strive to focus on the most groundbreaking, interesting, and practical findings, but which topics resonate the most? I went back to see which videos were most popular last year to guide my selection and thought others might be interested in what I found:
#10 Canned Beans or Cooked Beans?
A bunch of the most popular in 2013 were practical videos like this one that focuses on day-to-day grocery store decisions. Why should we go out of our way to include beans in our daily diet? Check out the other three most popular 2013 bean videos Increased Lifespan From Beans, BRCA Breast Cancer Genes and Soy, and Beans and the Second Meal Effect. Concerns about gas? See my blog Beans and Gas: Clearing the air.
#9 Fukushima and Radioactivity in Seafood
A new study was just published suggesting Fukushima fallout damaged the thyroid glands of California newborns. The majority of radioactive compounds from the Fukushima nuclear power plant tragedy were absorbed by the Pacific Ocean, though, which is what I cover in this video. Three other popular seafood safety videos last year were How Long to Detox From Fish Before Pregnancy?, Fish Intake Associated With Brain Shrinkage, and Mercury vs. Omega-3s for Brain Development.
#8 Carnitine, Choline, Cancer and Cholesterol: The TMAO Connection
This is what I talked about on my brief stint on the Dr. Oz Show last year, a landmark article in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that choline in eggs, poultry, dairy and fish produces the same toxic TMAO as carnitine in red meat, which may help explain plant-based protection from heart disease and prostate cancer. More and more is being published on the important role our gut flora plays in health and disease. Other popular recent videos from this genre include Gut Feelings: Probiotics and Mental Health and Preventing the Common Cold with Probiotics?
#7 The McGovern Report
One of the things i struggle with is whether to include political topics. Should I just stick with the science? The fact that this video made the top ten list suggests there is indeed interest in the barriers that exist for translating the science into public policy, so maybe I’ll keep it up. The Tomato Effect was one that I did last year in the same vein.
#6 Starving Cancer with Methionine Restriction
I often learn just as much making these videos as people do watching them. Methionine restriction is definitely something I didn’t learn in medical school, but how exciting! This video can be considered a companion to Anti-Angiogenesis: Cutting Off Tumor Supply Lines.
#5 Strawberries versus Esophageal Cancer
Why isn’t this headline news? If there was instead some new drug that reversed cancer progression, you can bet it would be all over the place. But who’s going to profit from revelations about strawberries? Other than, of course, the millions of people at risk for this devastating cancer. Also check out Black Raspberries versus Oral Cancer.
#4 Treating Multiple Sclerosis With the Swank Diet
A plant-based diet may not only be the safest treatment for multiple sclerosis, it may also be the most effective. We’re still waiting on Dr. McDougall’s follow-up–stay tuned! I also had videos this year about preventing and treating Parkinson’s.
#3 Survival of the Firmest: Erectile Dysfunction & Death
Because erectile dysfunction can be a predictor of fatal heart disease, impotence can be a life-saver if it spurs lifestyle changes to return adequate blood flow to all of one’s organs. 50 Shades of Greens was another this year along these same lines.
#2 Which Fruit Fights Cancer Better?
The ability of eleven common fruits to suppress cancer cell growth in vitro was compared. This can be thought of as a follow-up to one of my most popular early videos #1 Anticancer Vegetable. This same group of researchers also compared about a dozen different types of nuts–keep an eye out for that one in 2014!
#1 More Than an Apple a Day: Combating Common Diseases
Hands down the most popular video was my 2013 year-in-review. In my review last year, Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, I went through the list of the 15 leading causes of death, exploring the role diet may play in preventing, arresting, and even reversing our top 15 killers. This year I ran through the top dozen reasons people visit doctors to highlight some of the latest research on how a healthy diet can affect some of the most common medical conditions. The breadth of NutritionFacts.org is one of its strengths, covering more than 1,700 topics, but I realize it can be a bit overwhelming. My annual review talks are my attempt to bring it all together. Stay tuned for the 2014 review in July!
I’m really excited about all the new material I’m poring through. Make sure you don’t miss a day by subscribing to my daily, weekly, or monthly email newsletter.
Happy New Year!
-Michael Greger, M.D.