Apr
13
2024

Eating the right Food Determines your Health

CNN had an interview with Dr. Leana Wen about the fact that eating the right food determines your health. Dr. Wen is a wellness expert, an emergency physician and adjunct associate professor at George Washington University.

How much does the quality of food we eat influence our health?

There are detailed studies that showed the following effects of healthy food on our lives.

  • If you eat a diet consisting of more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts, the following will happen. You could exceed the age of controls eating unhealthy food by 10 to 13 years.

Specifically, a woman starting such a diet at age 20 would add 10 years to her life, when starting at age 60 she could add 8 years to her life. For men starting this diet at age 20 would allow him to gain 13 years, when starting at age 60 he would add 9 years to his life.

Additional healthy food studies

  • A 2023 Nature study found that men can add 10.8 years, women 10.4 years by switching their diets. This switch was from unhealthy diets to a longevity diet with more whole grains. In addition, the healthy diet contained more nuts and fruits and less sugar-sweetened beverages and processed meats.
  • Another 2023 study from the Jama network followed over 100,000 people for more than 30 years. There was an association between adopting healthy eating patterns and a reduction in early mortality. People on a healthy diet reduced their risk of early death by 20%! The study also noticed that people who ate more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes had fewer other diseases. They were less likely to die from cancer, cardiovascular illness and respiratory and neurodegenerative disease. These were important findings. 

What kinds of food make you live longer?

Dr. Wen stated clearly that it is only minimally processed, whole food that allows a person to live longer. The highly processed foods like processed meats, sausages, cakes and cookies are a “no go”. They are the ones that cost lives from heart attacks, strokes and cancer. On the other hand, leafy green vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grains associate with significantly reduced mortality. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce heart disease and dementia. It is also a good source of protein. So, stay away from hot dogs and chicken nuggets, instead enjoy salmon fillet or roasted chicken.

Foods that you need less of

Avoid sugar sweetened sodas and energy drinks, as they elevate cholesterol levels and cause heart attacks. Next, stay away from ultra-processed foods like chips and candies. In one study with more than 11,000 participants people who ate a lot of ultra-processed foods had a 31% higher risk of mortality.

With what do you replace junk food?

Here are a couple of examples. Somebody who used to drink a lot of sodas can replace them with water, sparkling water, flavored water or lemon juice, sweetened with stevia. Instead of snacking on ultraprocessed foods like chips, candies or pretzels eat nuts instead. Look at the list of ingredients before you buy anything in the grocery store. If there is a long list of ingredients including chemicals, this is ultraprocessed food. Replace it with minimally processed foods with only a few items on the ingredient list.

Other advice for health and longevity

  1. If possible, eat three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Stop eating 2 hours before bedtime to allow your guts to digest the food you previously ate. This avoids heart burn and interference with your sleep.
  2. Exercise regularly. Studies showed that 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week reduced mortality by 23%.
  3. Take care of stress in your life. Cherish your social life and socialize; it is important for longevity. See your doctor regularly to take care of any medical problems you may have.
  4. Watch your sleep habits. Many studies have shown that adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Sleep restores your hormone glands, gets them ready for the next day, but it is also important for longevity.
  5. Keep your body mass index (BMI) between 21.0 and 24.0. Personally, I keep my BMI between 21.0 and 22.0. Any extra pounds of fat merely lead to elevated cholesterol and triglycerides. Eventually this leads to heart attacks and strokes, but also to diabetes.
Eating the right Food Determines your Health

Eating the right Food Determines your Health

Conclusion

A recent article in CNN described that eating the right food determines your health. One study said that you should eat a diet consisting of more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts. Doing this increases your life expectation by 10 to 13 years compared to controls who ate unhealthy food. It is only minimally processed, whole food that allows a person to live longer. You must eliminate ultraprocessed food. This means you should not consume sausages, fries, chips, pretzels and other overprocessed foods. Instead, eat leafy green vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grains that associate with significantly reduced mortality. Yes, eating the right food determines your health.

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Jan
20
2024

Fasting-Mimicking Diet Is Benefitting Cardiovascular Health

A crossover study showed that a fasting-mimicking diet is benefitting cardiovascular health. This new study was done by Dr. Valter Longo et al. from the University of Southern California. It compared the effect of two diets. They were the fasting-mimicking diet versus an unrestricted diet. In other studies Dr. Longo compared the fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) with a Mediterranean diet. He said: “The significance is that fasting-mimicking diet cycles were able to decrease fat mass without reducing muscle mass and without requiring changes in the subjects’ preferred diet for 25 days a month. In contrast, the everyday Mediterranean diet required a change in everyday dietary habits and was associated with a 5 pounds loss of muscle.”

Findings of the effects of 5 days of the fasting mimicking diet per month

3 cycles of 5-day FMD per month showed the following effect. Fasting-mimicking diet patients experienced a remarkable decrease in trunk fat mass. Dr. Longo also showed in a previous study that the FMD reduces the circulating insulin-like growth factor 1. In addition, blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL and total cholesterol were reduced. In short, cardiovascular markers showed a protective effect in the FMD group.

Comments of a cardiologist to fasting mimicking diet

Dr. Rigved Tadwalkar is a cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. He was not involved in the study by Dr. Valter Longo. He said: “When we look at different sorts of diets, we really want to get down to what sort of health benefit they actually provide. It was nice to see that both the fasting-mimicking diet and Mediterranean diet – which is almost like the mainstay of recommended diets right now – both led to weight loss and improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. These are all very important cardiometabolic parameters that lead to cardiovascular disease, so it’s nice to see that both are able to do so.”

Fasting-mimicking diet reduces abdominal fat

He went on to say: “What was interesting about the fasting-mimicking diet is that it had the added benefit of reducing abdominal fat, which was really important because that is a big reason why a lot of people diet. Not to mention it’s still important even from a medical standpoint because abdominal fat is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.” He continued to point out that it will be important to show the long-term effect of the FMD. He suggested to have observations over several month and years. Also, he stressed the importance of showing the direct effect of the FMD on the reduction of cardiovascular disease. This would be in comparison to controls. All this requires much larger clinical trials with longer follow-ups.

Advantage of fasting-mimicking diet

The FMD is easy to follow. You only have to reduce your daily calorie intake for 5 days out of a month. The remaining 25 days they eat their normal diet. People are often unwilling to change their diet. With the FMD they only have to reduce their calorie intake to 500 to 600 calories per day. And this is only for 5 days in a row once per month. They will lose 0.5 to 0.7 units of body mass index (BMI) once a month. Compare the first day of your 5 day FMD with the day after your last FMD.

My experience with the fasting mimicking diet

I have done this for 6 years. In  December of 2017 I listened to a lecture by Dr. Valter Longo at a conference in Las Vegas. Immediately after I started dong monthly FMD for 5 days. This kept my BMI within 21.0 to 22.0, because I use the FMD to correct any weight gains. Whether you want to adopt a DASH diet or a Mediterranean diet is another issue. This is eventually desirable to solve. But in the meantime stay in a healthy range with your BMI with the help of the FMD.

Fasting-Mimicking Diet Is Benefitting Cardiovascular Health

Fasting-Mimicking Diet Is Benefitting Cardiovascular Health

Conclusion

The fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) is a tool to reduce your abdominal fat.  At the same time you improve your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. You can achieve that by reducing your daily calorie intake. With the FMD you aim for between 500 and 600 calories for 5 consecutive days every month. With body composition scales you can see how your weight, fat percentage and body mass index reduce from before. These are all very important cardiometabolic parameters. If you allow them to get out of control they lead to cardiovascular disease.  Start adopting the FMD to keep your weight the same or reduce it slightly. Worry about a possible diet change to a Mediterranean diet at a later point and introduce the beneficial changes. This makes dieting easier.

Dec
09
2023

Too much Ultraprocessed Food Makes you sick

A Lancet study published on Nov. 13, 2023 found that too much ultraprocessed food makes you sick. Researchers noted that ultraprocessed animal products and sweetened beverages were linked to an increased cancer risk as well as other diseases such as strokes or diabetes.

In Europe more than half of the food intake consists of ultraprocessed food. In the US a 2019 study found that 71% of the food supply is ultraprocessed.

Details of the study

The details of the study were summarized in a CNN report. Researchers of the study collected nutritional data from 266,666 men and women (60% were women) from 7 European countries between 1992 and 2000. The researchers followed the participants for 11 years. During that time they observed the participants for the development of chronic diseases and cancer. During the observation time 21,917 primary cancers, 10,939 cardiovascular events, and 11,322 type 2 diabetes cases developed. On entry into the study participants were questioned about their food intake in the past 12 months. This was matched with the NOVA classification system. It became clear that not all ultraprocessed foods were detrimental to the health of the participants. Animal products and sugar-sweetened drinks and foods caused chronic diseases in the participants of the study. However, ultra-processed breads, cereals or alternative plant-based products were neutral in terms of health risks.

Main findings of the study: too much ultraprocessed food makes you sick

The main findings of the study were that ingesting mostly ultraprocessed food leads to a 9% increase of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancer. This is in comparison to controls who ate very little ultraprocessed food. However, when you reduce your intake of ultraprocessed food your risk of developing these diseases reduces. The key is to eat more fruit and vegetables and concentrate on eating minimally processed food.

Other studies with similar findings

In 2022 the British Medical Journal published two studies that documented a higher colorectal cancer rate and cardiovascular disease rate when subjects were eating larger amounts of ultraprocessed foods (UPF). Specifically, when men had exposure to a high percentage of UPF in their diet they developed 29% more colorectal cancer after 28 years of observation in comparison to men who ate a low percentage of UPF. A related study that went on for 14 years showed a 32% higher risk for death from cardiovascular disease for men who ate a high UPF diet in comparison to men on a low UPF diet.

French study 2019

A French study in 2019 followed 44, 551 French adults 45 years or older for 7.1 years. A 10% increase of consumption of ultraprocessed food caused a 14% higher risk of all-cause mortality. The authors stated that 80% of all premature deaths from noncommunicable disease are due to cardiovascular disease (CVD), respiratory disease, cancer, and diabetes. The authors discussed in detail the problems with overconsumption of ultraprocessed food.

Some of the contents of ultraprocessed food

Ultraprocessed food contains:

  • High salt content, and high sodium intake has been associated with cardiovascular deaths and increased stomach cancer risk.
  • Excessive amounts of added sugar. There is an association between added sugar consumption and an increased risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.
  • Ultraprocessed foods contain very little fiber. More dietary fiber in one’s diet has an association with lower death rates.
  • Studies have estimated that reducing saturated and trans fats, salt, and added sugar in the diet prevent cardiovascular deaths.
  • High temperature food processing produces acrylamide. Acrylamide is a known carcinogen.
  • Consumption of processed meat products causes a higher risk of colorectal cancer and stomach cancer.
More ingredients of ultraprocessed food
  • Artificial sweeteners can alter microbiota and can cause the onset of type 2 diabetes and metabolic diseases.
  • With bisphenol A coating in food packaging endocrine disruptors enter the food. Bisphenol A causes endocrine cancers and metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity.
  • The food industry uses additives frequently in their formulations. Some studies raised concerns about the health consequences of food additives. For instance, the food industry uses titanium dioxide widely. There is an association of titanium dioxide and increased risk of chronic intestinal inflammation and carcinogenesis.

It is easy to see that when we expose our bodies to a mix of these ingredients this can cause cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes. The final outcome is that this leads to premature deaths.

Too much Ultraprocessed Food Makes you sick

Too much Ultraprocessed Food Makes you sick

Conclusion

Too much ultraprocessed food (UPF) makes you sick. This is the conclusion of a large study, which the Lancet published on Nov. 13, 2023. Researchers followed 266,666 men and women (60% women) for 11 years. The main findings of the study were that ingesting mostly ultraprocessed food leads to a 9% increase of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancer. This is in comparison to controls who ate very little ultraprocessed food. Other studies going back to 2019 and 2022 showed very similar findings.

Other studies

A French study from 2019 noted that a 10% increase of consumption of ultraprocessed food caused a 14% higher risk of all-cause mortality. Several studies in 2022 showed that men who had an exposure to a high percentage of UPF in their diet developed 29% more colorectal cancer after 28 years of observation in comparison to men who ate a low percentage of UPF. A related study that went on for 14 years showed a 32% higher risk for death from cardiovascular disease for men who ate a high UPF diet in comparison to men on a low UPF diet. It follows from this data that a simple diet consisting of vegetables, fruit, nuts and lean meat (chicken turkey, fish) with minimal amounts of UPF protects you from premature death.

Jul
30
2023

Learn about Longevity from the Blue Zones

People who live in blue zones often turn 100 or older, so we can learn about longevity from the blue zones. The 5 most often cited blue zones are in Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Icaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California, United States. But there are many more blue zones throughout the world. These zones contain the most centenarians, people who have reached the age of 100. It is thought that it is the people’s lifestyle that makes them live much longer than the rest of the world.

Lifestyle of centenarians

People are active, are bicycling, walking, swimming, constantly on the go and they are careful about what they eat. They stay slim, but are muscular. Their diet consists mostly of vegetables and salads, with very little meat. They may consume a small piece of beef on Sundays, but not during the rest of the week. Fish may be a part of their diet two or three times per week.

Diet characteristic of blue zones

Sandee LaMotte  published an article on March 4, 2023 at CNN, which describes the diet consumed in blue zones. People in blue zones are active, handle stress well, are close to friends, have a purpose in life and are often members of a social or religious group. They eat mostly a plant-based diet and they stop eating before they are full.

The food consists of complex carbohydrates. No processed foods are eaten. The American Heart Association says: “Complex carbohydrates, such as beans, peas, vegetables and whole grains provide vitamins, minerals and fiber that can go missing in processed and refined foods. In addition, they are digested more slowly, and the fiber helps you feel full longer.”

Origin of blue zone foods

The blue zone food has its roots in the African, Asian, Latino and Native American diets. Dan Buettner originally published an article about the blue zones in the National Geographic Magazine. Recently he published a collection of 100 blue zone recipes in book form.

The Mediterranean diet is very close to blue zone eating.

What blue zone meals contain

Buettner said: “The five pillars of every longevity diet, including the blue zone, are whole grains, vegetables in season, tubers, nuts and beans. In fact, I argue the cornerstone of a longevity diet is beans.” People in blue zones eat similar foods as those who eat a Mediterranean diet, but they do not eat as much fish as people on a Mediterranean diet. People on a blue zone diet don’t eat any milk products. On the other hand, goat and sheep’s milk cheeses such as feta and pecorino are part of the blue zone diet. In the blue zones the consumption of purple sweet potatoes, sesame seeds, fresh vegetables and fruit are the major staples.

More info about Blue Zone diet

All of the meals contain complex carbohydrates, micronutrients and a whole variety of fiber.

Perhaps the important difference to the Standard American diet is that in the blue zone there is a lack of beef, hamburgers, processed foods and highly processed carbohydrates like bread, pasta, sugar-sweetened beverages, salty snacks like potato chips, candies, cookies and processed meats (bacon, sausages or cold-cuts). People in blue zones eat very little bread and if they do, they eat sourdough bread, which does not raise the blood sugar level as the highly refined white bread.

Recapturing healthy foods

So, what foods are blue zone people really eating? Tofu, quinoa, mushrooms, lentils, beans, turnip greens, artichokes, asparagus, chickpeas and spinach are the main staples of their nutrition. They stay away from sugar, rarely eat meat (once or twice per week) and otherwise have a healthy lifestyle. Scientists think that longevity comes from the healthy lifestyle and diet, which centenarians practice. Several longevity genes get activated as explained in this publication. This translates into living long lives with very few illnesses and experiencing energy until the end of their lives.

Learn about Longevity from the Blue Zones

Learn about Longevity from the Blue Zones

Conclusion

We can learn a lot from observing what centenarians eat and do. Scientist have investigated the lifestyle of people living in blue zones in various parts of the world. These zones contain the most centenarians, people who have reached the age of 100. People in blue zones eat mostly vegetables and very little red meat. They avoid sugar and processed foods. But they are also very active, have a rich social life and allow themselves enough sleep. Scientists accumulated evidence that genetic longevity switches are activated by the life style of people living in blue zones.  It is the activation of these epigenetic switches that are responsible for the longevity of people in blue zones.

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Apr
23
2023

Help with Menopausal Symptoms

At the 30th A4M Conference mid-December Dr. Anna Cabeca lectured about “Help with menopausal symptoms”. A4M stands for “Conference of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine”. It is a yearly event at the Sand Conference Center of the Venetian Palace in Las Vegas. The following is a summary of the very detailed lecture by Dr. Anna Cabeca.

Definition of postmenopausal symptoms

Dr. Cabeca’s detailed title for her lecture was: “Menopause: Hot flashes, brain fog and vaginal dryness; 3 symptoms women don’t have to experience.”  The first thing to remember is this detailed list of symptoms of menopause:

  • Hormones are disbalanced
  • Unusual behaviors and moodiness
  • Gaining weight (accumulating fat)
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of willpower
  • Sleep disturbance: can’t sleep or sleeps all the time
  • Brain fog and memory problems
  • Lost your “edge”
  • No sex drive
  • Aging rapidly
  • Hair loss
  • Thyroid problems
  • Hysterectomy (to remedy excessive periods)

Hormone changes with menopause

To clarify, there are major hormone changes with menopause as follows. To explain, at the age of 35 progesterone suddenly experiences a major reduction, which completes by the age of 45. In contrast, estrogen levels remain high until the age of 40 when it, too is reduced to background activity by the age of 50. In fact, at this point estrogen production is still more than progesterone synthesis. This is the basis of what is called estrogen dominance.

In general, symptoms of estrogen dominance are: PMS, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, weight gain, vaginal dryness, brain fog, irregular periods, less libido, missing or increased periods, bone loss and sleep disturbance.

To emphasize, the production of male hormones, DHEA and testosterone, slows down around the age of 30 and reaches a low plateau around the age of 45. This explains, for example, the lack of sex drive mentioned above. In addition, it is also partially responsible for brain fog, tiredness, hair loss and unusual behaviors and moodiness.

Perimenopause and menopause increase risk for diabetes

By all means, there is a clear relationship between age and the risk of developing diabetes in both males and females. But it must be remembered that the hormone weaknesses in combination with weight increases can also trigger diabetes.

Head-to-toe patient work-up

There are two parts to a patient’s work-up, a thorough assessment and a patient’s education.

The patient’s assessment includes:

  • Energy, mind, spirit
  • Hormone balance
  • Inflammation
  • Assessment of diet and nutritional intervention
  • Gastrointestinal health and digestion
  • Detoxification
  • Structural investigation

Surely, another key point is that patient education is important to be successful in the multiple step intervention to normalize the metabolism, shed excessive weight and help the patient to refocus.

Comments to the patient’s assessment

Indeed, the display of energy in a patient is closely related to hormone balance. Notably, when hormones are measured and they are out of balance, this usually explains the multiple symptoms. It is important to realize that inflammation is measured with the high-sensitivity CRP blood test. This test measures the level of inflammation. Initially, the level may be 30, but with weight loss it often normalizes with values of 2 or 3. At the same time weight loss stabilizes blood sugar (indicated by an initially high, but later normalizing hemoglobin A1C) and diabetes can completely disappear. Frequently, an analysis of the diet often shows that the patient is eating too much sugar and starchy foods.

Faulty nutrition, heavy metals and osteoporosis

In addition, many patients also eat too much meat and processed meat products, which leads to elevated cholesterol and triglycerides. Also, introducing more vegetables and fruit reduces lipids in the blood. Certainly, patients’ blood tests often show high levels of heavy metals like mercury, lead and cadmium. This can be chelated out with intravenous EDTA. Often 6 treatments at weekly intervals will rid the body of these toxins from pollution and the consumption of fish that has high mercury content.

Structural investigation of the bone with bone density measurements can diagnose osteoporosis. An initial remedy for this is supplementation with 5000 IU of vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 200 micrograms daily.

Low carb diet can help rebalance body metabolism

People who are overweight or obese get metabolic changes in their blood that physicians call metabolic syndrome. It raises blood pressure, often leads to elevation of cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugars and also causes inflammation. A diet like the Mediterranean diet can help stabilize the metabolism. Dr. Anna Cabeca recommended a ketogenic diet, but from my reading a Mediterranean diet will achieve the same. In addition, a ketogenic diet carries a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. For this reason I cannot recommend a ketogenic diet. The end result is an improvement of organ function, improvement of blood tests and less reliance on medications. Our body simply performs and functions better.

Fasting improves mitochondrial health

Mitochondria are small particles inside the plasma of all the body cells. Their functioning is essential for our energy and for cell metabolism in all of our organs. The energy, which is produced by the mitochondria is stored in a small molecule, called adenosine triphosphate or ATP.  I discussed earlier that heavy metals must be removed from the body by chelation therapy. One known effect of heavy metals is the poisoning of mitochondria. A person who has high blood levels of heavy metals in the body complaints of low energy and brain fog. After several intravenous chelation treatments, the energy returns and the brain fog disappears.

The fasting mimicking diet of Dr. Valter Longo is another tool to reactivate mitochondria.

Bioidentical hormone replacement

Many postmenopausal women require some help with regard to their hormonal balance. There are doctors who specialize in this area. They order a baseline panel of hormones. If there is a lack of progesterone, they order bioidentical hormone replacement, a hormone cream that the patient applies herself to the forearm or abdomen. Hormone saliva tests must show a ratio between progesterone and estrogen of 200 to 1 or higher. Many women have too much estrogen in their system relative to progesterone. By balancing this hormone ratio, the risk of getting cancer from estrogen that is not in balance experiences a significant reduction. The patient will also feel more energy and sleep better.

Help with Menopausal Symptoms

Help with Menopausal Symptoms

Conclusion

Menopause does not have to be the dreaded time in a woman’s life, when her periods stop. With a bit of attention to her nutrition, her hormone balance and other symptoms the physician can help her experience none of the symptoms. It will require some hormone and other blood tests. It may also require some detoxification with intravenous EDTA infusions. At the end that postmenopausal patient will feel energy again, clear up her foggy brain and sleep better. In addition, the woman will regain her sex drive and feel more energy. The physician treats estrogen dominance by adding progesterone cream supplementation. This also assist with regard to sleeping better.

It does take the effort to have all the necessary blood tests and saliva tests to establish deficiencies. A physician who has experience in anti-aging medicine will be of important help to bring a menopausal patient back on the road to wellness.

Dec
31
2022

Certain Probiotics Are not as Harmless as Thought

Recently a medical publication stated that certain probiotics are not as harmless as thought. Researchers presented their findings at the American College of Chest Physicians 2022 Annual Meeting. 23,533 ICU admissions to a number of hospitals in Colorado over a 5-year period were the data base for this study. There was a clear relationship between taking probiotic powder and the fact that some of these gut bacteria make their way into the blood stream. This condition has the name of bacteremia. Although bacteremia is uncommon (only 0.37%), the mortality rate for those who developed probiotic-related bacteremia was 25.6%. This is about twofold greater than the 13.5% mortality rate of controls who did not take probiotics. The risk ratio was 2.23-fold higher for ICU patients who ingested probiotics versus those who did not. What killed the patients who took probiotics were the gut bacteria that entered into their blood stream.

Discussion of “certain probiotics are not as harmless as thought”

Physicians often recommend probiotics as tools to improve the gut bacterial flora. Unfortunately, there is a lack of research in this area. There is no hard evidence that probiotics are beneficial for irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis. There is also no hard evidence that a previously deranged bowel flora would transition into a healthy bowel flora. On the other hand, we also know that fermented vegetable products like kimchi or sauerkraut also have beneficial bacteria in them that can support your bowel flora. One of the problems is the concentration of probiotic supplements. They come in 80 billion, 100 billion and higher bacteria counts per capsule. It is possible that some of these bacteria find their way through cracks in the lining of the bowel into the blood stream.

Patients outside the ICU setting

ICU patients are vulnerable and often have immune deficiencies. It may be that in regular patients outside the ICU probiotics may not be that problematical. But nobody knows for sure as there are no studies available that support this. The practice of recommending probiotics over sauerkraut and kimchi is simply based on hearsay.

Risk assessment necessary

Once probiotic bacteria are in the blood, they can freely travel through the circulatory system into the rest of the body. This is how septicemia develops. This is a dangerous condition, which does not always respond to antibiotics. It is because of this why there is such a high mortality rate as I mentioned above.

As mentioned, there is a lack of good evidence for the beneficial effects of probiotics. However, there is a risk of bacteremia in ICU patients. This warrants a risk assessment whether or not we should supplement our food intake with probiotic supplements or not. Fermented vegetable products like kimchi or sauerkraut are not as highly concentrated as probiotic capsules. Nevertheless, they are useful supplements that you can mix into salads or use as a side dish to your main meal. Until the time that more evidence is available about probiotics it is best to not take probiotics. Replace it with kimchi and sauerkraut.

Fermented foods versus probiotics

Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi can help the gut balance its bacteria. But there are other fermented foods that can help your gut: yoghurt and kefir, which is a fermented probiotic milk drink. Other fermented foods are tempeh, miso, kombucha and pickles. The good bacteria outnumber the bad bacteria when you consume fermented foods regularly. Kimchi does not only provide healthy gut digestion, but it also prevents the formation of toxins from unhealthy gut bacteria. These toxins can damage the kidneys. So, kimchi prevents kidney damage.

Sauerkraut and kimchi are fermented foods that have been consumed for hundreds of years. They provide nutrients, vitamins and minerals along with plenty of fiber and probiotic bacteria to support the gut. I consider kimchi and sauerkraut the better probiotic than probiotic pills, which likely are too concentrated.

Certain Probiotics Are not as Harmless as Thought

Certain Probiotics Are not as Harmless as Thought

Conclusion

Recently a publication reported about 23,533 ICU admissions to various hospitals in Colorado over a 5-year period. These patients took daily probiotics. There was a clear relationship between taking probiotic powder and the fact that some of these gut bacteria made their way into the blood stream. Unfortunately, there was a mortality risk of 25.6% for probiotic-related bacteremia. Controls not taking probiotics had a much lower mortality rate of 13.5%. The investigators concluded that a literature search failed to support beneficial effects of the probiotic powder. The evidence was rather weak and did not justify the risk of probiotic-bacteremia. In contrast, natural probiotics in the form of fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut have been around for centuries and are known to be safe. I see no reason why we should take a risk with probiotic pills when there are many alternative fermented foods.

Oct
08
2022

Plant-Based Meat Alternatives are Healthier

A recent study showed that plant-based meat alternatives are healthier than the original meat dishes. This spread into various health websites on the Internet. One example is this one.

Some statistics about plant-based meat alternatives

Plant-based meat alternatives came to the market in the 1960’s. At that time, they consisted mainly of soy. Later textured vegetable protein joined soy products. Today they consist of pea protein, soy, potato, oils, various binders and flavorings to mimic the texture and flavor of meat.

The global plant-based meat market was about 5 billion USD last year. It is projected to increase by 19% from 2022 to 2030. The plant-based dairy alternatives market totaled 11 billion in 2020. The estimate is that this will grow to 32 billion in 2031.

How healthy are plant-based substitutes?

In the center of this discussion is the publication of Christopher J. Bryant from the Bath University in England. This publication reviewed 43 studies regarding plant-based substitutes regarding healthiness and environmental sustainability. In the following I am discussing the findings, particularly about health benefit of plant-based foods versus meat-based foods.

Problems with our current food consumption

There are several problems with human diseases that are transmitted from wildlife. HIV arouse from hunting of non-human primates. Rabies was transmitted in South America by vampire bats from cattle to humans. Early cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) came from contact with wild life. Finally, bats transmitted the SARS coronavirus-like virus from wild animals and live animal markets to humans. Subsequently human to human transmission caused the spread of Covid all around the world as a pandemic.

Use of antibiotics in feedlots

In order to control diseases in closely kept animal feedlots farmers feed the livestock antibiotics. This helps to contain infections, but it also poses a grave problem to humans as antibiotics become more and more resistant. Superbugs developed this way. 18% of meat imported from China was contaminated with Salmonella. 88% of those exposed to contaminated meat were resistant to at least one antibiotic. But 58% were resistant to multiple antibiotics.

A Harvard study from Boston showed in 2020 that red meat and processed red meat consumption caused 15% more heart attacks compared to those who substituted the protein source with plant-based foods. The same study also noted that the heart attack rates were about 15% less for subjects who substituted meat with plant products in comparison to meat eaters. 

Other results of the study

Several of the reviewed studies compared the nutritional profile of plant-based meat with the animal-based counterparts. Plant-based meat was significantly lower in saturated fat, and protein. However, they were significantly higher in fibre and salt. 40% of meat products were classified as ‘less healthy’. In comparison to that investigators assessed that only 14% of plant-based meat was ‘less healthy’. When saturated fat, sodium, sugar, and overall calorie content were tabulated, plant-based meat products compared favorably to meat. But salt content was often too high in plant-derived foods.

Plant-based burgers were much healthier than conventional beef-burgers, as they contained no cholesterol, less trans-fatty acids and less saturated fat. Vegetable-based food that contains pea protein is particularly valuable with regard to a high protein content.

Criticism of plant-based meat alternatives

At the present time many plant-based meat products have too much sugar and salt in it, but lack iron and vitamin B12. Various authors suggested that the food industry should add iron and vitamin B12 to their products and reduce the sugar and salt content.

Muscle synthesis

Mycoprotein is the active biochemical that builds up the protein of the muscle mass in man. Non-animal-derived dietary protein contains ample amounts of mycoprotein according to this publication. These authors investigated the ingestion of mycoprotein in a dose-response manner. They also measured insulin levels for 4 hours after ingestion of plant-derived mycoprotein. Insulin levels remain higher than normal for a sustained period.

Weight loss

A 2017 study showed that 40 grams of mycoprotein, which is the equivalent of 18 grams of protein was sufficient to lead to a robust muscle synthetic response. 60 g of mycoprotein (27 g protein) provided an optimal response regarding muscle synthesis. Gram for gram milk protein and mycoprotein were equivalent in amino acid bioavailability. Several studies examined weight loss following mycoprotein meals. One study found in overweight patients that chicken protein consumption was  higher in comparison to consumption of plant mycoprotein. The mycoprotein consuming group chose to eat 10% less calories than the chicken control group.

Greenhouse gas emissions and other factors

The publication cited above also included a lot of findings regarding how plant-derived food saves greenhouse gas emissions and other facts. For instance, the pork supply chain requires 3.3-times more fertilizer and 1.6-times more pesticides than the production of plant-derived food. What this means is that plant-derived foods are more environmentally sustainable than animal products.

Plant-Based Meat Alternatives are Healthier

Plant-Based Meat Alternatives are Healthier

Conclusion

Plant-derived foods have improved in the past few decades. Pea-derived plant products are now equivalent in terms of protein content to milk and meat. By eating more plant-derived food people consume less meat, which helps the environment, but also benefits the person who eats it. We know that with the consumption of a certain amount of plant-derived food less people develop cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. 40 grams of mycoprotein, which is the equivalent of 18 grams of protein was sufficient to lead to a robust muscle synthetic response.

Consumer beware

It is important to realize that not all is well with the list of “fake meat” and other highly processed plant-based products. Consumers must read the list of ingredients. If a product contains a laundry list of ingredients that not even an adult can pronounce and understand, it is very likely a highly processed food product that only pretends to be good for you. Should the sodium content be too high, steer away from it. High sugar content means that you put it back in the shelf. All in all, eating more plant-derived foods makes you healthier and improves the environment at the same time. But it is up to us to be discriminating colourful advertising from a nutritionally sound product.

Aug
27
2022

Ultra-Processed Food and Dementia

Researchers are more and more concerned about an association between ultra-processed food and dementia. A new study found that when you consume more than 20% of you daily food intake as processed food, you can start developing cognitive decline. Eating just 2 cookies per day, which have about 100 calories, will lead to cognitive decline.

What is processed food?

Foods such as instant noodles, hot dogs and ice cream are not healthy. There is too much salt, sugar and unhealthy fat in them that undermine your health. If you consider breakfast granola as “healthy”, you’d better take a look at the ingredients: sugar is one of them! Frozen meals, sugary drinks, take-out pizzas, deep-fried chicken and French fries also belong to unhealthy foods. Unless you buy fresh ingredients and make your own Mediterranean-style meals, you will struggle staying healthy. Processed foods lead to weight gain, which is difficult to shed unless you give up processed food.

Processed food often contains flavorings, colorings or other additives. White bread and bakery products, fried snacks, crackers, cookies, ice cream, candy, cream cheese and processed cheese, soda and frozen meals fall into this category.

Conference in San Diego

At the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego researchers revealed the results of a Brazilian study. 10,000 Brazilians were followed with dietary habits and intermittent cognitive tests for up to 10 years. In the beginning none of the participants had a cognitive deficit. The average age at the time of the beginning of the study was 51 years. When you eat more than 20 % ultra-processed food of your total calorie intake every day, cognitive decline is showing up on the cognitive tests. Specifically, patients who consumed more than 20% calories from ultra-processed food developed 28% faster decline in cognitive tests. They also developed 25% faster decline in executive functioning.

Comment from a co author

Co Author Dr. Claudia Suemoto, an assistant professor in the division of geriatrics at the University of São Paulo Medical School stated: “In Brazil, ultra-processed foods make up 25% to 30% of total calorie intake. We have McDonald’s, Burger King and we eat a lot of chocolate and white bread. It’s not very different, unfortunately, from many other Western countries”. She went on to say: “58% of the calories consumed by United States citizens, 56.8% of the calories consumed by British citizens, and 48% of the calories consumed by Canadians come from ultra-processed foods”. She expressed her concern that these statistics show that many more seniors than now will develop Alzheimer’s disease. In the Brazilian study researchers followed their subjects for up to 10 years. After decades of exposure to ultra-processed food the numbers of people with cognitive deficits and Alzheimer’s disease will be much higher.

Other means to prevent cognitive decline

A study showed that regular aerobic exercises (running, treadmill, walking) or stretching, balancing and range of motion exercises both prevented cognitive decline. The best is to build some form of exercise into your daily routine. This is particularly important for people who have desk jobs.

What are healthy foods to eat?

We need to eat more vegetables, fruit and cut out sugar, omit too many starchy foods, salt and unhealthy fats. So, how does that work? In the following I am giving examples of a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast

Start the day with fresh fruit, a bowl of rolled oats with milk or a milk alternative. Add a few almonds or chopped nuts or ground flaxseed. You could add raspberries, blackberries, strawberries or blueberries.

If you want a breakfast with egg, try an omelet with eggs or egg white with mushrooms, onions and chopped greens! No, it does not always have to be kale! Enjoy arugula or spinach. Add some salsa on the side.

For those who hate to prepare breakfast, take it easy: put 1/2 a banana, a cup of berries, 1 tablespoon almond butter and 3/4 cup of low-fat yoghurt into the blender. Blend at high speed. This takes less than 2 minutes. Enjoy! It does not get much easier than that.

Lunch

Assemble some mixed salad greens, 1 sliced tomato, 1 cup of sliced cucumber, half a sliced avocado and 1/2 shredded carrot on a plate or in a bowl. Add 2 slices of cheese or 2 tablespoons of crumbled feta cheese. Add one boiled and sliced egg or alternatively 4 slices of chicken breast. Make a dressing of 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. You can prepare this easy lunch the evening before and take it to work.

If you want a warm lunch, cook a simple Italian-style vegetable soup. Sprinkle it with a tablespoon of grated parmigiano cheese and serve it with a slice of whole-grain bread. A vegetable chili is a good choice for a colder day. Have some fresh fruit for dessert.

Dinner

Make vegetables the main event. Do not have a huge steak with an afterthought of vegetables, but build a tasty meal around vegetables with a protein of your choice: lean meats, such as chicken breast, enjoy fish or other seafood or experiment with other protein sources, such as tofu. The latter works well in an Asian-style vegetable stir-fry. And otherwise: breaded and deep-fried chicken or battered fish are not healthy choices, even if you prepare the meal at home! Forget the breading and dip the meat into a tasty marinade instead! If you want to have a quick dessert, make a colorful fruit salad with a dollop of yoghurt on top. For all those who drool over a decadent dessert in a restaurant, go ahead and order that Tiramisu and share it with others of your party. But it should be an exception rather than a regular treat.

Ultra-Processed Food and Dementia

Ultra-Processed Food and Dementia

Conclusion

Researchers are more and more concerned about an association between ultra-processed food and dementia. A new study found that when you consume more than 20% of you daily food intake as processed food, you start developing cognitive decline. Eating just 2 cookies per day, which have about 100 calories, will lead to cognitive decline. It is fairly easy to cut out junk foods from your diet and to adopt healthy eating ha its.

Meal suggestions

Start the day with fresh fruit, a bowl of rolled oats with milk or milk alternative. Add a few almonds or chopped nuts or ground flaxseed. You could add raspberries, blackberries, strawberries blueberries. I sweeten everything with stevia extract and avoid sugar completely. For lunch you could have mixed salad greens with 2 slices of cheese or 2 tablespoons of crumbled feta cheese. Add one boiled and sliced egg or alternatively 4 slices of chicken breast. For dinner make vegetables the main event. Do not have a huge steak with an afterthought of vegetables, but build a tasty meal around vegetables with a protein of your choice: lean meats, such as chicken breast, enjoy fish or other seafood or experiment with other protein sources, such as tofu.

Final remark

You see, it is fairly easy to avoid ultra-processed foods that lead to cognitive decline. It involves a critical look at your current eating habits and very likely some cleaning-out of less than desirable foods from your pantry.

Feb
20
2022

Stimulating the Immune System Leads to Better Cancer Survival

Notably, conventional medicine has nothing to offer against advanced cancer, but stimulating the immune system leads to better cancer survival.

Dr. Hoffer’s survival experiment with incurable cancer patients

The following is a description of a 9-year follow-up of incurable cancer patients. They were given supplements known to stimulate the immune system and their survival rates were recorded. Ref. 1 describes the experiment by Dr. Hoffer, the father of orthomolecular medicine. It is important to realize that this is a branch of medicine that uses large doses of vitamins and minerals. This can rectify metabolic changes in various diseases. Dr. Hoffer treated 131 advanced cancer patients between 1976 and 1988 with a mixture of mega vitamins and minerals. There was a control group (not taking any supplements) and the experimental group.

Results regarding incurable cancer patients over 9 years

In fact, the results of this 9-year follow up study are depicted in the image below. The Y-axis represents the % of survival (at the zero point of time 100 % of each group were alive), the X-axis shows the time of survival in years. To clarify, the group of cancer patients taking meta vitamins is depicted with orange columns, the control group with blue columns. At 7 years of follow-up none of the controls survived. Explicitly, there was an 8-year survival advantage of the mega vitamin group versus the control group (control group 28% survival at year 1 of follow-up, mega vitamin group 34% survival at year 9 of follow-up).

List of supplements patients in the experimental group took daily

With this in mind, here is the detailed list of the supplements that Dr. Hoffer instructed his experimental group cancer patients to take daily.

Vitamin C, 10,000 to 40,000 mg orally daily; B3 vitamin (niacin or niacinamide) 300 to 3,000 mg; vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) 200 to 300 mg; folic acid 1 to 30 mg; vitamin E succinate 400 to 1,200 IU; Coenzyme Q10 300 to 600 mg; selenium 200 to 1,000 micrograms daily; zinc 25 to 100 mg; calcium and magnesium supplement (2:1 ratio); mixed carotenoids as carrot juice; multivitamins and minerals.

Ref. 1 (page 347) explains that in this case the Mayo Clinic did a study where they “duplicated” Dr. Hoffer’s study by using only high doses of vitamin C. It is important to realize that they failed to show any cancer fighting effect. However, they neglected to include all of the other cancer fighting supplements listed above. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that stimulates the immune system partially, but does not fight cancer by itself.

Strengthen your immune system by taking 14 supplements

In the following I like to share what I found when I investigated what supplements are necessary for optimal immune responses. The Linus Pauling Institute wrote a detailed review of the literature on the topic regarding “Immunity in depth”. It is published by the Oregon State University.

Essentially, there were 14 supplements that are listed below that were critical for the immune system to fully respond.

In the following I listed the 14 supplements, but, if they were present in Dr. Hoffer’s clinical cancer trial, I inserted them right after each item. 8 out of 14 supplements overlapped between Dr. Hoffer’s supplements and the supplements necessary to stimulate the immune system. There is a total overlap of 57%.

  • Vitamin A: mixed carotenoids as carrot juice
  • Vitamin B6: vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) 200 to 300 mg
  • B12 vitamin
  • Folic acid: folic acid 1 to 30 mg
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C, 10,000 to 40,000 mg
  • D3 vitamin: Ray Schilling’s answer to Can vitamin D lower your risk of CoVID-19?
  • E vitamin: vitamin E succinate 400 to 1,200 IU
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Selenium: selenium 200 to 1,000 micrograms daily
  • Magnesium: calcium and magnesium supplement (2:1 ratio)
  • Zinc: zinc 25 to 100 mg
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Probiotics

Dr. Hoffer’s additional vitamins and minerals were: multivitamins and minerals; Coenzyme Q10 300 to 600 mg; and vitamin B3 (niacin or niacinamide) 300 to 3,000 mg. The 5 items that were missing in Dr. Hoffer’s clinical trial were vitamin B12, vitamin D3, iron, copper and probiotics.

Discussion

During the Covid epidemic the importance of the immune system for survival became very clear. One of the current mysteries regarding the immune system is why some people develop only very mild symptoms with Covid, while others get deadly sick. The other question has been around much longer: when it comes to cancer survival, why are there long-term survivors with some advanced cancers, but others perish. I believe that the key is how well the immune system is functioning. Dr. Hoffer’s end stage cancer survival trial achieved a 34% survival of cancer patients at year 9 of the clinical trial. At that time 100% of the control group were dead. Indeed, this is a remarkable finding.

Supplementation with vitamins and minerals prolonged cancer survival

The only difference was the supplementation with 57% of the Oregon University list of supplements necessary to stimulate the immune system. One of the more important supplements, namely vitamin D3 was not even included and yet there was a 34% survival in the experimental group after 9 years. Conventional medicine concentrates on surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy as the major therapeutic tools to fight cancer, but there is rarely if at all the mention of supplements. Ordinarily end stage cancer patients live on average 3 to 6 months.

Mayo Clinic’s attempt to jeopardize Dr. Hoffer’s cancer survival findings

When the Mayo Clinic got wind of Dr. Hoffer’s clinical trial they quickly attempted to “duplicate” the findings, but they left everything out except mega doses of vitamin C. Then they proclaimed that Dr. Hoffer’s data were flawed. In reality they failed to duplicate the findings, because they were poor copycats. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, but it won’t be of help to cancer patients on its own. As the Oregon State University publication showed, there are 14 supplement that are necessary to work in symbiosis to stimulate to immune system to fight cancer.

It is significant that there was a 57% congruence between Dr. Hoffer’s list and the Oregon State University list of supplements to stimulate the immune system. Future cancer clinicians should revisit Dr. Hoffer’s clinical findings and finetune them to increase the long-term cancer survival times. For one, the supplement list should include vitamin D3, probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids.

Stimulating the Immune System Leads to Better Cancer Survival

Stimulating the Immune System Leads to Better Cancer Survival. (Image source). 

Conclusion

Dr. Hoffer did a clinical trial that lasted 9 years between 1976 and 1988. Some patients were recruited earlier than others, but all were observed for a total of 9 years. He treated end-stage cancer patients with vitamin and mineral supplements. A control group that did not take any supplements was included in the trial. After 9 years the experimental mega vitamin group had a survival of 34%. None of the controls that did not take any supplements were still alive after 7 years. The literature by the Oregon University showed that 14 supplements are necessary to support the immune system. Dr. Hoffer’s clinical trial used 57% of these supplements. I am postulating that the good results of the mega vitamin group with respect to cancer survival likely comes from a strengthening of the immune system with the supplements.

The future of cancer treatments

Cancer treatments are entering a new phase where with the help of multiple treatment modalities combined (photodynamic therapy or PDT, immunostimulation, oxygen therapy and low-dose laser activated chemotherapy) it is now possible to cure many cancers that were untreatable in the past. The tunnel vision approach of conventional oncology with only a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy is obsolete for cases where cancer has metastasized. At this point the methods described here are promising, but have to be still considered experimental until larger clinical trials confirm Dr. Hoffer’s findings.

Reference

Ref. 1: Andrew W. Saul, PhD: “The Orthomolecular Treatment of Chronic disease”, Basic Health Publications Inc., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 2014.

Dr. Hoffer’s cancer survivor experiment (part of the above) was previously published here.

Feb
13
2022

How healthy are Carbohydrates?

A recent review article asked: how healthy are carbohydrates? The three food components that occur in natural food are carbohydrates, fats and protein. Among the carbohydrates it is important to distinguish between simple carbohydrates (such as sugar) and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are readily absorbed into the blood, which causes an insulin peak. After a few hours the peak is gone, and there is a “crash”. You will know the feeling of feeling hungry just a few hours after eating doughnuts! Complex carbs like peas, beans, fruit and vegetables take longer to get digested. The final breakdown product of the digestive process is sugar as well. But this process takes longer meaning that the concentration of sugar in the blood is much lower. There is also no “crash”. The result is that complex carbs cause less insulin secretion into the blood.

Long-term effect of eating too much sugar

Integrated over several decades of life, this means that a person who constantly consumes beverages with sugar and snacks containing sugar is at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In contrast, a person who eats well balanced meals where the insulin secretion is low, will not develop diabetes and have much less hardening of the arteries. This translates into a lower risk to develop heart attacks and strokes.

The types of carbohydrates

Before I discuss the health effects of various carbohydrates, we need to look at the types of carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates

Table sugar is a disaccharide, which consists of one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose.

The enzyme amylase very quickly breaks down the chemical bond between fructose and glucose and creates these monosaccharides in the small intestine from which they are rapidly absorbed. Milk sugar is a disaccharide, which consists of a molecule of glucose bound to a molecule of galactose. Milk contains 2 to 8% of milk sugar. We have to watch these simple carbs, because they trigger insulin production and lead to accelerated hardening of the arteries, heart attacks and strokes.

Complex carbohydrates

In contrast, complex carbs are healthy, because they take some time to be digested in the digestive tract. They consist of polysaccharides, long chains of sugar molecules. Both starches and dietary fiber consist of complex carbohydrates. They often are present in vegetables and many fruit. Complex carbs slow down the absorption of their breakdown products and minimize the insulin response. Dietary fiber is the indigestible part of fruit and vegetables. It contributes to good gut health as the beneficial gut bacteria can multiply on the fibre particles.

Healthy carbs

When simple carbohydrates dominate in our food intake, we are in trouble because they are loaded with calories. Overconsumption of them leads to weight gain and obesity, to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and even cancer. On the other hand, consumption of complex carbohydrates is healthy. We get them from eating apples, bananas, berries, vegetables like spinach, tomatoes and carrots. Other healthy complex carbs are whole grain flour, quinoa and brown rice. Black beans, lentils, peas and garbanzo beans are also healthy complex carbs. Dairy products like low fat milk, yogurt and ricotta cheese are healthy as well.

Mediterranean diet as an example of a healthy, balanced diet

In 2019 a study was published where women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) were either put on a Mediterranean diet or not. This study showed that a Mediterranean diet was anti-inflammatory, reduced insulin resistance and reduced testosterone levels in PCOS patients.  But the same is true in a general population. The Mediterranean diet is one example of a healthy, balanced diet with complex carbohydrates. It prevents insulin resistance, inflammation and hormone disbalance. Other diets have similar effects like the DASH diet, the Zone diet and the Pritikin diet.

Quantity and quality of your food intake matters

A 2018 study from India showed that it matters how many carbohydrates we consume.  On average Indians eat a diet with 65-75 percent of calories coming from carbohydrates. Many of these carbs are the unhealthy simple carbohydrates. How healthy are  carbohydrates? The authors recommended to reduce complex carbohydrates to 50-55% and to add 20-25% protein, mostly from vegetable sources and add 20-30% from fat. The fat consumption needs to include monounsaturated fats (e.g., olive oil, nuts and seeds). Among the carbs a lot of green leafy vegetables help to balance the diet. This prevents the development of type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.

The above addresses the issue of quality of food. But it is also important what quantity of food we are eating. This is where counting or estimating calories comes in. If we overeat, we will very quickly gain weight and eventually can develop obesity.

The glycemic index and glycemic load

In order to help you with the choice of right carbohydrates the glycemic index was developed.

Here is another reference about the glycemic index/glycemic load.

In table 1 towards the end of the last link you find a column designated “GI” for glycemic index. All the foods that have a value less than 55 are foods that you can eat freely.

Problematical carbohydrate foods

Baked russet potatoes and boiled potatoes are very high on the GI index list. Puffed rice cakes, doughnuts, jelly beans and corn flakes measure high on the glycemic index list. But water melons, dried dates, white bread and white rice are also items to be avoided.

You best avoid anything with a glycemic index above 55. The column to the right of GI shows you a serving size and the last column on the right the glycemic load. The lower the glycemic load per serving, the better it is for your health. The glycemic index and the glycemic load are useful concepts of helping you to sort out your diet items.

My wife and I used this in 2001 to shed weight. We both lost 50 pounds (=22.72 kilograms) each in a period of 3 months.

Fasting mimicking diet (FMD)

According to Dr. Longo intermittent fasting stimulates the stem cells of the bone marrow. This leads to new clones of lymphocytes (B cells and T cells), which are part of the immune system. Your immune system becomes stronger from this.

Dr. Longo has done detailed mouse experiments, which inspired him to develop a new diet plan. Patients would receive a fasting mimicking diet (FMD) on 5 consecutive days per month. The rest of the month consists of a normal, balanced diet. 5 days of the month the person consumes a low 600-800-calorie diet. This reduced calorie intake is enough to ensure adherence to the diet, but low enough to lead to enormous positive metabolic changes including youth-preserving stem cell stimulation.

I am following the FMD

I have followed a FMD since December 2017. It helps me to keep my weight (BMI) in the 21 to 22 range. I feel more energetic and have managed to stay in good health.

The above chapter on the FMD was previously published here.

How healthy are Carbohydrates?

How healthy are Carbohydrates?

Conclusion

Healthy eating consists of 50-55% calories from complex carbohydrates; add to this 20-25% protein, mostly from vegetable sources and add 20-30% of total calories from fat. The fat consumption needs to include monounsaturated fats (e.g., olive oil, nuts and seeds). Unfortunately, most “convenience foods” (=processed foods) are incompatible with a healthy lifestyle. They contain too much simple carbs (sugar). Many people live on 65-75 percent of calories coming from simple carbohydrates, which are too many carbs. It should be complex carbs that digest slower and that do not induce insulin resistance. The glycemic index and glycemic load are useful concepts to help you chose the right foods that keep you healthy. The fasting mimicking diet can help you to take the last few pounds off that may be difficult to shed. Weight loss and weight maintenance are possible when you choose the right foods.