Medical Myths

Over the next few days I will be publishing what I find are Medical Myths that have been lingering for years that I would like to put to rest.

Fat

Myth #1: People who eat less fat, live longer

Facts: After over 50 years and hundreds of studies, researchers remain unable to prove that a low-fat diet is good for your health. A few years ago, researchers at the Cochrane Collaboration decided to review the medical literature and see what it said. They looked at the results of the 26 best studies and found that low-fat diets didn’t help people live longer. The researchers found that people on low-fat diets were 2% more likely to die than those in the comparison groups.1 Continue reading

Diet soda may be making you fat

Many people think that they are making a healthier choice when they reach for diet soda instead of a sugary soft drink? But research is telling them to “Think again”.images

It is true that diet soft drinks may have minimal calories, but it appears that they can still have a major impact on your waistline, according to two studies presented at a meeting of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego.

In the first study, researchers at the Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio tracked 474 people, all 65 to 74 years old, for nearly a decade, measuring the subjects’ height, weight, waist circumference, and diet soft drink intake every 3.6 years. The waists of those who drank diet soft drinks grew 70 percent more than those who avoided the artificially sweetened stuff; people who drank two or more servings a day had waist-circumference increases that were five times larger than non-diet-soda consumers. Continue reading

Can You Lose More Weight By Exercising Less?

I like to consider myself a person with decent common sense.

But every so often I come across a bit of information that has me scratching my head.

First, let me ask you a question. Would you think that 60 minutes of exercise a day would cause you to lose more weight than 30 minutes a day?

I would.

It is simple logic, twice the exercise leads to twice the calories burned and therefore more weight loss.

But not so fast… Continue reading

More Doubts About Mammograms

mammograms

The routine use of mammograms had led to more than one million women receiving unnecessary treatment for breast cancer over the last three decades, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (2012; 367:1998-2005). The authors concluded that nearly one-third of the women who received a diagnosis of breast cancer would never have developed the full-blown disease if left untreated. Nevertheless, in such cases patients typically undergo dan­gerous and invasive procedures such as surgery, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and chemotherapy. H. Gilbert Welch, author of the study, speculated that as mammography technology has become more advanced, doctors are discover­ing breast lesions in such an early stage of development, it is virtually impossible to distinguish them from benign cell clusters. Even worse than the false positives is the fact that the mammograms “fail to catch forms of breast cancer that develop rapidly, why the more widespread use of screenings has done so little to curb the rate at which late-stage breast cancer is found.” According to Welch, “The sad fact is that there’s a subset of women who develop such an aggressive form of cancer it literally can’t be caught early.” No one is voicing the thought that the mammograms themselves causing these virulent tumors.

NATURAL PROBIOTICS

lacto fermented foods probiotics
One of the things that I stress with patients is the importance of lacto-fermented foods to provide beneficial bacteria to the intestinal tract. These bacteria form a biofilm lining the entire small intestine, which provides us with 85 percent of our immunity, protects us against toxins, helps digest our food, produces important vitamins and even creates feel-good chemicals. All traditional cultures consumed lacto-fermented foods—from the semi-rotten fish of the Alaskan Inuit to the fermented taro root of the South Seas islanders. As modern science has discovered the importance of intestinal bacteria, researchers have for­mulated probiotic pills to help populate the gut. Recently Dr. Joseph Mercola tested fermented vegetables produced by probiotic starter cultures (such as homemade whey). The lacto-fermented vegetables had ten trillion units of colony-forming bacteria. One serving of vegetables was equal to an entire bottle of high-potency probiotic. So rather than spend a lot of money on probiotic pills, why not enjoy delicious lacto-fermented condiments daily, at a fraction of the cost.

Health Benefits from Sourdough

sourdough bread

Researchers at the University of Guelph tested four types of bread to ascertain the effects on blood sugar levels. Using white, whole wheat, whole wheat with barley and sourdough white breads, the team of researchers examined how subjects responded hours after eating the bread for breakfast and again just hours after eating a standard lunch. The subjects, who were overweight and ranged between fifty and sixty years of age, showed the most positive blood sugar responses after eating sourdough white bread. With the sourdough, the sub­ject’s blood sugar levels were lower for a similar rise in blood insulin, and the positive effect remained during and after the second meal. What’s really interesting about this study is that the whole wheat breads—supposedly full of fiber that controls blood sugar levels—had the worst effects, causing blood sugar levels to spike, and these high levels lasted until well after lunch. Professor Terry Graham, head of the study, suggested that the poor response from the whole wheat bread was due to the milling process; but an equally likely explanation is the many anti-nutrients in whole grains that cause a stressful rise in blood sugar. These irritating and difficult-to-digest compounds are neutralized by the sourdough process. The team will soon be testing sourdough whole grain bread.

Vitamin A for Thyroid Function

thyroid1
I like to recommend patients consume foods high in Vitamin A or take Cod Liver Oil which is high in Vitamin A because it has so many roles in human biochemistry, and because it is the most neglected and maligned vitamin in the popular literature. New research corroborates the fact that vitamin A is needed for thyroid function. In a four-month trial, fifty-six obese thyroid patients were randomly allocated to receive either 25,000 IU vitamin A per day or a placebo. In addition, twenty-eight non-obese thyroid patients received the vitamin. Vitamin A caused a significant reduction in blood thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) concentrations in both obese and non-obese patients along with an increase in T3. The researchers con­cluded: vitamin A supplementation might reduce the risk of subclinical hypothyroidism in premenopausal women. How about suggesting the consumption of vitamin A-rich food instead? Let’s reduce the risk of thyroid problems in everyone by encouraging the consumption of foods like liver, cod liver oil and grass-fed butter.

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