Make Your Voice Heard – Dietary Guidelines – Updated

USDA-HHS logosFollowing up on my previous post about the Dietary Guidelines, I wanted to give you more information about submitting comments.

I created this one-page sheet (Update – submission period has been extended to May 8) with information about the new Guidelines and why it is so important to submit comments.

I heard author and nutritionist Marion Nestle interviewed on KPFA (Up Front, Feb. 25) last week. She talked about how critical it is that the public weigh in on these guidelines. Ms. Nestle blogs at Food Politics, her latest post is not very reassuring:

Yesterday’s Hagstrom Report (daily ag newsletter) quotes USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack’s comments to the Commodity Classic on the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee:

The “folks who put those reports together … have freedom. They are like my 3-year-old granddaughter. She does not have to color inside the lines.”

His 5-year-old grandson, he said, “is learning about coloring within the lines.”

“I am going to color inside the lines,” Vilsack said.

Sounds like the USDA has no intention of doing what the DGAC recommends.

For those of you who don’t want to follow the link to find out about the Commodity Classic, I did, so you don’t have to.

Commodity Classic is where America’s farmers meet with success. Commodity Classic is open to all friends of corn, soybeans, wheat and sorghum—from growers to member associations to agribusiness to farm media.  It’s a one-of-a-kind convention and trade show—farmer-focused and farmer-led.

I also found this quote from a Republican Senator from North Dakota in an article titled What’s the beef with meat? in the Dickinson (ND) Press.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in response to the USDA’s guidance that the committee should focus less on environmental impacts and solely on nutritional value of meals.

“The USDA should only focus on nutrition here. No extraneous factors should be taken into consideration,” Hoeven said. “We all want to have a healthy diet, especially for our children. That’s the main point. That’s what we need to be focusing on here.”

Please distribute the information about submitting comments widely. Big Ag, the ranchers and their congressional pawns are not going to give up without a fight.


I also wanted to point you to an online form created by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) related to another part of the Guidelines and recommendations about cholesterol. PCRM is headed by Dr. Neal Barnard, author of many books including Power Foods for the Brain.

The report has also reversed decades of warnings against cholesterol. Decades of science have conclusively linked dietary cholesterol to cardiovascular disease, which kills nearly 2,200 Americans daily. The Physicians Committee is urging the USDA and DHHS to exercise its authority to reiterate prior federal recommendations that Americans limit their cholesterol intake.

In a petition filed today to the USDA and DHHS, the doctors group asks that the DGAC’s findings stating that “[c]holesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption,” be disregarded because the DGAC deferred entirely to a 2013 report by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology and one meta-analysis of egg consumption. The reliance on the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology report does not comply with the spirit of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which sets standards for bias among federal advisory committees.

Please take the time to fill out their online form.

Advertisements

Kaiser Embraces the Plant-Based Diet

kaiser-permanente-logoBack in September 2013, the first post on this blog was about Kaiser Permanente advising their doctors to

consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients…encouraging whole, plant-based foods and discouraging meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods.

I believe they want their patients to be healthy, but… given that they are a managed care organization, the more of their patients who eat a plant-based diet, the better their bottom line looks.

Plant-based DietAlong with the recommendation, Kaiser produced this 20-page guide with information about the “New Food Groups” their patients will be eating from, tips for getting started, and sample menus and recipes.

Reading this guide, I thought I was reading any number of books by Drs. Esselstyn, Campbell, McDougall, Barnard or Ornish.

This explanation of the benefits of a plant-based diet read like the list of benefits from Dr. Campbell’s book Whole.

  • Lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar
  • Reversal or prevention of heart disease
  • Longer life
  • Healthier weight
  • Lower risk of cancer and diabetes
  • May slow the progression of certain types of cancer
  • Improved symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fewer medication
  • Lower food costs
  • Good for the environment

The guide recommends that patients with heart issues stay away from nuts and oils, like Dr. Esselstyn.

What a radical idea – improving health with diet, not pills.

The resources section at the end of the guide points patients to the Forks Over Knives movie and website, and the websites and books of the good doctors listed above. You can download the guide from their website.

Kaiser is my health care provider and the doctor I see there is not necessarily on board with this program. Despite my telling him that I eat a plant-based diet, he suggested I take fish oil to ensure I get enough Omega-3s. He also wanted to make sure that I was getting enough protein. I should have asked him if he ever tells his omnivore patients to eat less.

However, it is great to see the health care establishment embracing plant-based diets for their patients. Whatever the motivation, their patients win.

Food Revolution Summit

Food Revolution SummitPatti Breitman from Marin VEG shared information about this – and I want to share it with you.

Starting this Saturday the Food Revolution Summit will broadcast three interviews by John Robbins with noted guests each day from April 26 to May 4. The interviews can be listened to live, or will be available for 24 hours to listen to for free.

There are also packages available with additional videos and other information.

Along with the guests shown above, others include:

  • T. Colin Campbell
  • Neal Barnard
  • Caldwell Esselstyn
  • Marion Nestle
  • Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Raj Patel

Sign up today at the website and prepare to be inspired.

Animal Protein and Cancer Linked

Animal Protein and Cancer Linked

Image courtesy of The Onion, see below for details

A new study from the University of Southern California found a link between animal protein and cancer.

In a new study that tracked a large sample of adults for nearly two decades, researchers have found that eating a diet rich in animal proteins during middle age makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein diet — a mortality risk factor comparable to smoking.

Not only is excessive protein consumption linked to a dramatic rise in cancer mortality, but middle-aged people who eat lots of proteins from animal sources — including meat, milk and cheese — are also more susceptible to early death in general, revealed the study published today in Cell Metabolism. Protein-lovers were 74 percent more likely to die of any cause within the study period than their more low-protein counterparts. They were also several times more likely to die of diabetes.

The USC research looked at other possible factors, but could not link them to cancer.

Crucially, the researchers found that plant-based proteins, such as those from beans, did not seem to have the same mortality effects as animal proteins. Rates of cancer and death also did not seem to be affected by controlling for carbohydrate or fat consumption, suggesting that animal protein is the main culprit.

This research confirms the findings of other studies published by Drs. T. Colin Campbell, Dean Ornish, Neal Barnard and others. They also found the link between animal protein and cancer. Dr. Campbell’s research found that raising the level of animal protein from 5% to 20% was enough to accelerate cancer cell growth.

The study’s main author, Valter Longo, Edna M. Jones Professor of Biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute summarized the findings this way.

“Almost everyone is going to have a cancer cell or pre-cancer cell in them at some point. The question is: Does it progress?” Longo said. “Turns out one of the major factors in determining if it does is protein intake.”

Once again, this confirms the finding of Campbell, Ornish and others who have determined that nutrition, not genes, is the primary factor in cancer prevention and growth.

In other nutrition news, The Onion published a story about another study that “Links Meat, Sugar Consumption To Early Death Among Those Who Choose To Be Happy In Life.”

You can always count on The Onion to tell us the truth – whether we want to hear it or not. Here’s another headline

New Study Finds Nothing That Will Actually Convince You To Change Your Lifestyle So Just Forget It

Luckily, I and millions of others have made changes to our lifestyles to eat a whole food, plant-based diet to improve our health and lower our risk of chronic disease and cancer.

Contrary to The Onion, we’re happy AND healthy.

PCRM Thanksgiving Menu

Delicata Squash

PCRM – Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (Dr. Barnard’s group) – has a great whole food, plant-based and oil-free menu for Thanksgiving on their website. Everything from soup to dessert.

The menu is:

  • Creamy Mushroom Bisque
  • Crispy Sage Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Delicata Squash Stuffed with Holiday Rice
  • Save-Cash Quinoa Loaf
  • Apple Crisp

They also have pointers to other recipes – like Zesty Cranberry Sauce or Pumpkin Custard Pie. They both sound yummy.

This is an Apple Crisp recipe from Dr. McDougall that is great, but sweetened with maple syrup.

Preparation Time:  20 minutes
Cooking Time:  40-50 minutes
Servings:  9

4 large firm apples, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup raisins or currents
¾ cup Grape Nuts cereal
¾ cup rolled oats
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup maple syrup
2/3 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the apple slices in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice and cinnamon.  Place in a non-stick square baking dish and sprinkle with the raisins or currents.

Mix the Grape nuts, rolled oats and cinnamon in a separate bowl.  Stir in the maple syrup.  Spread evenly over the apples.  Whisk the apple juice with the cornstarch until well mixed, then pour over the apples and topping.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until apples are tender.

Serve warm or cold.

Enjoy a whole food, plant-based and oil-free holiday this year. You’ll feel better.

Why Don’t We Just Put It in the Water?

pills

New heart disease and stroke prevention guidelines were released Tuesday (Nov. 12) by the American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology.

Highlights of these new guidelines are that obesity should be treated like a disease and cholesterol-lowering drugs could prevent cardiovascular disease in more Americans than previously thought. The guidelines also urge overall healthy diets rather than stressing about occasional indulgences. And they give doctors formulas to calculate heart and stroke risk specifically for African-Americans.

Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs should now be prescribed to an estimated 33 million Americans without cardiovascular disease who have a 7.5 percent or higher risk for a heart attack or stroke within the next 10 years.

If followed, this would double the number of people taking these drugs. Why don’t we just put it in the water? In 2010, there were 221 million adults 21 or older in the US. If we are considering giving these drugs to 65 million of them – that’s 30% of the adult population.

This is craziness. Drugs have side effects. The known side effects of statins – according to the Mayo Clinic are:

  • Muscle pain and damage
  • Liver damage
  • Digestive problems
  • Rash or flushing
  • Increased blood sugar or type 2 diabetes
  • Neurological side effects

If we give these drugs to more and more people, what are the long-term health implications? What are the long-term financial implications? Who is going to pay for a third of US adults to take these drugs?

When will we get serious about changing the dietary and exercise habits of Americans instead of giving them more pills to hide the problems?

When will we stop suggesting diets like DASH that can only reduce the risk of diseases like heart disease, stroke and diabetes, but won’t make you heart attack- and stoke-proof the way a whole food, plant-based, oil-free diet can?

Why are researchers and clinicians like Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, Dean Ornish and Neal Barnard ignored when guidelines are created by groups like the AHA? These doctors have over 20+ years of research and studies that prove the effectiveness of whole food, plant-based diets and the health risks of consuming even moderate amounts of meat, dairy and eggs.

As Dr. Esselstyn reminds us, “Moderation Kills.”

In his book Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, Dr. Campbell described the cozy relationship between groups like the AHA and the drug manufacturers and dairy and meat industry groups. (And the takeover of government agencies and research groups by the same monied interests.) The AHA can’t tell you to change your diet and give up meat, dairy, eggs, sugar and oils without losing funding.

Statins won’t keep you from getting heart disease or stroke. Don’t ask your doctor if statins might help reduce your risk of chronic diseases. Instead, find a doctor who can help you change your diet and lifestyle to quickly show real results.

Read this account of a man who had his “first 8 stents” done at the age of 31, and 9 years and numerous procedures later, he became heart attack proof following Dr. Esselstyn’s recommendations. He writes:

I have lost 48 pounds. My blood work has gone from total cholesterol of 208, LDL of 93, HDL of 41, and triglycerides of 368 last June to most recent results of total cholesterol of 89, LDL of 19, HDL of 53, and triglycerides of 83. That transformation is nothing short of amazing.

Take control of your health. Follow the links in the Nutrition section on this site and get the information you need to find your own path to health and well-being.

Are You Feeding Your Brain for Health?

Power Foods for the BrainDo you believe that we are all doomed to get dementia or Alzheimer’s as we age? The current numbers are frightening.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2013 Facts and Figures Report, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease and 1 in 3 dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

Dr. Neal Barnard‘s latest book – Power Foods for the Brain – looks at how changes to diet and lifestyle can improve brain health and prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Using information from the latest studies, Barnard lays out a three-step plan for brain health: healthy foods, mental and physical exercise, and sleep. Barnard advocates a whole food, plant-based diet and avoiding meat, dairy, eggs and added oils.

He also shares the latest research on foods that can protect your brain from toxic metals and vitamins that can assist in improving brain health.

Neal Barnard, MDIn the book he talks about his North Dakota upbringing, eating a diet based on red meat, dairy and eggs – with few vegetables. As his parents got older, they began to get dementia. Based on his research, he got them to change their diet and it slowed and stopped the progress of their dementia. At one point, his parents moved into an assisted living facility and started eating the standard American diet again. The dementia started progressing again until Dr. Barnard was able to get them home again and change their diet back.

This book was very easy to read and Barnard lays out many great suggestions for making changes to diet, exercise and lifestyle to improve brain (and body) health.

I found an interesting website, called Silk, where you can share collections of anything – coffee places, vacation spots or nutrition books. I created one to highlight the books I have read – you can find it here. Currently, this book is the only one in the collection, but more will be there soon.

Dr. Barnard’s 3-step plan for brain health gives all of us the tools we need to slow the progress of these deadly diseases. Read this book and share it with your friends and loved ones who may be at risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

National Cancer Institute Can’t Find the Link Between Diet and Cancer Right Before Their Eyes

nci-logo-english

Diet quality linked to pancreatic cancer risk

That was the headline that caught my attention. The study done by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and AARP found these results

In a large new study of older Americans, researchers find that people with the healthiest eating habits are about 15 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those with the poorest diets.

In the analysis of data on more than 500,000 Americans over age 50, men in particular, especially those who were overweight or obese, appeared to benefit most from a high quality diet.

It also found

Among men who were overweight or obese, however, those with healthy eating scores in the top-fifth group were 28 percent less likely than their counterparts in the bottom-fifth to develop pancreatic cancer.

Despite these findings, the NIH researchers could not find a definitive link between diet and cancer.

Lead author Hannah Arem of the National Cancer Institute

It is important to note that our findings are based on overall diet and not individual foods. A combination of many foods contributed to the observed association between greater compliance with the Dietary Guidelines and lower risk of pancreatic cancer

Perhaps she should read Colin Campbell’s book Whole – Rethinking the Science of Nutrition. In his book he shows why researchers need to stop looking at individual foods or nutrients and study the whole process of how our bodies use the foods we eat to slow or promote cancer.

Past studies looking at the relationship between diet and risk for pancreatic cancer have tended to focus on individual foods and found few connections, according to her (Arem) team’s report, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

No surprise there.

The researchers did find that people who ate a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet had better results than others. Another said that eating a healthy diet “has not yet translated into noticeable reductions in the incidence of the major cancers with diet-related etiology”

Maybe this researcher should read the literature published by Drs Dean Ornish or Neal Barnard. Their research shows the positive link between eating a WFPB diet and reducing cancer risk.

It is sad when the scientific community can’t make the connection between diet and disease promotion or prevention.

There are doctors and researchers who have found a positive link between a healthy diet and lowering the risk or reversing cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and more. As Dr. Campbell points out in his book, the top research agencies and disease advocacy groups have been taken over by people who serve the system, not the public. Until this changes more people will get cancer and other chronic diseases because our SAD (Standard American Diet) provides a fertile breeding ground for their growth.