The greatest disease burden today may be attributed to high blood pressure, a disease of overnutrition. The pandemic of chronic disease has been ascribed in part to the near-universal shift toward a diet dominated by animal-sourced and processed foods—more soda, meat, sugar, dairy, oils, eggs, and refined grains. China is perhaps the best-studied example. There, a transition away from the country’s traditional, plant-based diet was reportedly accompanied by a sharp rise in diet-related chronic diseases, including obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.
Obesity rates have been escalating to dangerously unhealthy levels. In the United States, for example, the childhood obesity epidemic has gotten so bad that some doctors have advocated for stomach-stapling gastric bypass surgery for kids.
Is all fat equal when it comes to being overweight? It’s generally accepted that health risks may be determined as much by the relative distribution of body fat as by its total amount. What seems to be the worst kind? Abdominal fat—the kind that builds up around your internal organs. Having a potbelly, with body fat concentrated in the abdominal region, may be a strong predictor of premature death.
Abdominal girth appears directly related to meat consumption: one-third of a centimeter increase in waist circumference for every ten grams of meat consumed. That means for every daily burger, we may be adding an inch onto our waist and loosening our belt one notch. It’s not just about cutting back on meat, dairy, and eggs, though. The diets of hundreds of identical twins were analyzed in a study. The subjects had the same exact genes, but those eating more plant-based diets appeared to have more favorable levels of a hormone secreted by human fat cells that helps control weight.
Does vinegar play a role in obesity? In a research study, obese subjects consumed drinks daily with either one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, or a placebo drink that tasted like vinegar but contained no acetic acid. Both vinegar groups lost significantly more weight than the control group. Though the effect was modest—about four pounds over a three-month period—the vinegar groups’ subjects lost about 5 percent of their “visceral” fat, the abdominal fat that is particularly associated with chronic disease risk.
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Maternal Diet May Affect Stress Responses in Children
Single meals can affect testosterone and cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Some foods eaten regularly during pregnancy may even reprogram children’s responses to stress later in life.
Can Vinegar Help with Blood Sugar Control?
Before drugs came along, the consumption of vinegar with meals was used as a folk remedy for diabetes, but it wasn’t put to the test until recently.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help with Weight Loss?
CT scans confirm that daily vinegar consumption can lead to a significant loss of abdominal fat.
Preventing Prediabetes by Eating More
A head-to-head test of adding beans vs. portion control for metabolic syndrome.
Low-Carb Diets & Coronary Blood Flow
Blood flow within the hearts of those eating low-carb diets was compared to those eating plant-based diets.
Nuts May Help Prevent Death
Just a few small servings of nuts a week may increase our lifespan and lower cancer risk.
How Long to Detox from Fish before Pregnancy?
How many months does it take to clear 99% of the mercury and other industrial toxins from one’s body, and what role might our fat stores play in holding on to fat-soluble pollutants?
Are Sugary Foods Addictive?
Evidence from PET scans suggests brain activity changes from the overconsumption of sugar may parallel that of drug addiction. Diminished “pleasure center” dopamine pathway sensitivity in obese individuals may be analogous to that found in cocaine addicts and alcoholics.
BRCA Breast Cancer Genes & Soy
One reason why soy consumption is associated with improved survival and lower recurrence rates in breast cancer patients may be because soy phytonutrients appear to improve the expression of tumor-suppressing BRCA genes.
Tell Your Doctor if You Eat Grapefruit
The role white and pink (red) grapefruit may play in weight loss and cholesterol control, as well as the suppression of drug-clearance enzymes within the body.
Heart Disease Starts in Childhood
By age 10, nearly all kids have fatty streaks in their arteries. This is the first sign of atherosclerosis, the leading cause of death in the United States. So the question for most of us is not whether we should eat healthy to prevent heart disease, but whether we want to reverse the heart disease we may already have.
Tricks to Get Kids to Eat Healthier at School
Interventions to improve child nutrition at school have included everything from reducing cookie size, adding fruit to classroom cupcake celebrations, and giving vegetables attractive names, to more comprehensive strategies such as “veggiecation” curricula, and transforming school cafeterias.