Free 8-Week Nutrition Class Series: Fight COVID-19 With Food

 

Fit Fathers is  excited to partner with the Physicians Committee for their free 8-week nutrition class series! Physicians and community partners will share practical tips, meal planning, interactive Q&A, and more to help improve health conditions like diabetes, weight, and high blood pressure. Complement “Fit Fathers Day” wellness tips with doctor-led nutrition information! Sign up for free at PCRM.org/NutritionClass.

Dairy Does the Body Wrong

Please remember that dairy is not a health food people. It’s also the byproduct of animal suffrage. Eat clean and stay compassionate.

Benefits of Blueberries for Mood & Mobility: Nutrition Facts

Isn’t science grand! I love that these studies got done.

The video I referred to is Benefits of Blueberries for the Brain.

What else can berries do? Hold onto your hats!

Fiber: Follow the 5-to-1 Rule for Packaged Foods

 

When people think fiber, they think constipation. And it’s true: If we could get Americans to eat just the minimum recommended daily intake of fiber-containing foods, we could save our country $80 billion—and that’s just from the effects on constipation alone. But that’s not all. “Accumulating evidence indicates that greater dietary fiber intakes reduce risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, weight gain, obesity, and diverticular disease, as well as functional constipation.” So, we need to eat more fiber-rich foods, which means eating more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes (beans, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils).

As fiber intake goes up, the risk of metabolic syndrome appears to go down, with less inflammation and an apparent step-wise drop in obesity risk. It’s therefore no surprise that greater dietary fiber intake is associated with a lower risk of heart disease: There is a 9 percent lower risk for every additional 7 grams a day of total fiber consumed, which is just some rice and beans or a few servings of fruits and veggies.

How does fiber do its magic? What are the mechanisms by which dietary fiber may extend our lifespan? It helps get rid of excess bile, feeds our good bacteria, and changes our gut hormones, which collectively helps control our cholesterol, body weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease. Reducing inflammation is a whole other mechanism by which fiber may help prevent chronic disease.

An accompanying editorial to a fiber and heart disease meta-analysis implored doctors to “enthusiastically and skil[l]fully recommend that patients consume more dietary fibre”––which means a lot of whole plant foods. If we do buy something packaged, however, the first word in the ingredients list should be “whole.” But, even if it is, the rest of the ingredients could be junk. A second strategy is to look at the ratio of grams of carbohydrates to grams of dietary fiber. We’re looking for about 5 to 1 or less. For example, whole-wheat Wonder Bread passes the first test: The first word in its ingredients list is “whole.” However, it then includes corn syrup and the contents of a chemistry set. So, let’s see if it passes the 5-to-1 rule.

In my video The 5-to-1 Fiber Rule. I show examples of some Nutrition Facts labels. The whole-wheat Wonder Bread lists 20 grams of carbs and 2.7 grams of dietary fiber per serving. Dividing the carbohydrates by the dietary fiber, 20 divided by 2.7, is about 7, which is obviously more than 5, so back it goes onto the shelf. It’s better than white Wonder Bread, though, which comes in at over 18. Ezekiel sprouted grain bread, however, makes the cut: 15 divided by 3 equals 5.

You can do the same thing with breakfast cereal. Multi-Grain Cheerios sounds healthy but has a ratio over 7. Uncle Sam original cereal is an example of one that makes the cut, sliding in under 4.

The editorial concluded that the “recommendation to consume diets with adequate amounts of dietary fibre may turn out to be the most important nutritional recommendation of all.”


I love producing videos about practical, day-to-day decision-making. Next time you go to the grocery store, look for products that fit the 5-to-1 ratio rule. They aren’t easy to find!

Eating fiber-rich foods is more than just a way to avoid constipation. For example, watch my videos Fiber vs. Breast Cancer and How to Prevent a Stroke.

There’s a misconception that we can’t digest fiber. We can’t do it alone, but we can with a little help from our gut flora friends. See Prebiotics: Tending Our Inner Garden and Gut Microbiome: Strike It Rich with Whole Grains.

This isn’t to downplay all the suffering caused by constipation. Check out How Many Bowel Movements Should You Have Every Day? and Should You Sit, Squat, or Lean During a Bowel Movement? to learn more.

Isn’t this talk of fiber reductionist? Good question! So good, in fact, that I created an entire video about it. See Is the Fiber Theory Wrong?.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

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Moderation Kills

Image Credit: Pixabay

However, as Dr. Esselstyn wrote in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, in regard to cholesterol lowering, moderation kills. “Even if all Americans kept their total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL, as recommended by the American Heart Association, millions would develop coronary artery disease.” Strong evidence shows we need to keep our total cholesterol under 150 mg/dL in order to stem the American epidemic of coronary artery disease, our number-one killer. What kind of evidence? In many cultures, coronary artery disease is practically unheard of when total serum cholesterol levels are under 150 mg/dL. In the United States, the famous Framingham Heart Study demonstrated that few of those with levels below 150 mg/dL developed heart disease, and none died from it.

What if we don’t want just low risk for a heart attack, but no risk? One great stumbling block has been that government and national health organizations appear to have taken the patronizing view that the public can’t handle the truth and would rather the science be watered down.

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Organic versus Conventional: Which has More Nutrients?

Written By Michael Greger M.D. FACLM 

Are organic foods safer and healthier than conventional alternatives? Those are two separate questions. Some consumers are interested in getting more nutrients; others are more concerned about getting fewer pesticides. Let’s do nutrition first.

As seen in my video, Are Organic Foods More Nutritious?, hundreds of studies have been reviewed and researchers didn’t find significant differences for most of the traditional nutrients like vitamins and minerals. They concluded that despite the widespread perception that organically produced foods are more nutritious, they didn’t find robust evidence to support that perception. They did, however, find higher levels of phenolic phytonutrients in organic. [Read more…]

Food Facts on Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables help prevent heart disease by preventing plaque build-up, improving blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and increasing intake of antioxidants.

Neal Barnard, M.D.

 

The Nutrition Plans of Different Types of Athletes

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The Nutrition Plans of Different Types of Athletes

Nutrition is an important part of staying fit and healthy. When looking to get inspired and stay motivated, looking at how athletes eat is a great way to keep on top of your own diet. In this post we look at the diets of different types of athletes so that you can get a better understanding of a healthy nutrition plan.

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The Benefits of Social Support for Your Healthy Lifestyle

the-benefits-of-social-support-for-your-healthy-lifestyle

Social norms and societal modeling and expectations contribute an overall context that promotes certain eating behaviors. However, when making specific dietary and lifestyle choices, like exercise, reactions from close friends and family—positive or negative—also exert a profound influence. We are social creatures who live naturally in community. Making healthy lifestyle choices flows naturally out of feeling connected to the people around you. The degree of social connection or isolation you feel may even influence something as basic as the variety in your diet. In a large, observational study of 20,000+ adults over age 50, being single, widowed, or having less frequent contact with friends was associated with less variety of fruit and vegetable intake,[1]and it got worse for people who lived alone and also had less frequent contact with friends—they had even less variety than in those who were just single. [Read more…]

Vegetarian Diets Aid Fitness

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Vegetarian diets aid aerobic exercises, according to a study published in Nutrients. Researchers followed the diets of 70 participants and monitored strength and endurance patterns. Athletic performance from those who followed vegetarian diets matched or exceeded those who followed omnivorous diets despite no differences in protein intake as relative to body mass index. These data suggest vegetarian eating patterns provide sufficient cardiorespiratory and oxygen efficiency for athletic activity and may provide advantages over nonvegetarian diets.