Thursday, March 4, 2010

Your March Issue of Health Confidential

March 1, 2010, Issue No. 49

In This Issue:

Atkins Without Beef… What’s Next?

Have you heard about this “Eco-Atkins Diet” that a bunch of researchers dreamed up to please vegetarians?

Dr. Atkins must be rolling over in his grave.

These veggie-wackos want a diet that offers “Atkins without animal fat.” They call it, “Eco-Atkins.”

Holy cow!

The Atkins Diet is all about eating animal protein. So how do you eat a high-protein diet without animal fat? Turns out we’re supposed to bulk up on soy burgers and wake up to the smell of vegetarian bacon – whatever that is!

Beef Is the Best Source of These Essential Nutrients:

Protein: Meat is a complete protein. Vegetables are not. Vegetarians have to combine foods to make a complete protein. They’re also lower in protein content than meat sources. For instance, 3 ounces of beef contain 50 grams of protein compared to 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, which contains 16 grams.

B12: Animal products are the primary source of B12. This is a serious problem for vegetarians, especially vegans. Lack of B12 causes anemia and can cause nerve damage leading to irreversible conditions like blindness.5,6

Iron: Vegetarians not only get less iron, the type of iron from a vegetarian diet is different. The type of iron from a vegetarian diet is absorbed 70% less than a meat diet.7 This is especially dangerous to children and pregnant women. Children develop behavior problems and delays in their development. Pregnant women deliver pre term.8,9

Zinc: Beef is the number one source for zinc, and all animal products are good sources. Vegetarians not only get less zinc to begin with, they absorb up to 35% less of it.10 A zinc deficiency affects your immunity, and can stunt your growth and the way your brain functions.

CLA: Almost 98% of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) comes from meat. CLA has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer.11 It also helps with fat loss.

Beef is the best source of Coenzyme Q10. There is next to none in fruits and vegetables. CoQ10 is in every cell of our body. It creates energy. CoQ10 improves heart function and diabetes, and helps prevent autoimmune disease.12
Don’t be deceived. This crazy veggie-plan is in no way eco-friendly, sustainable, or healthier. The diet is based on multiple allergens such as soy, gluten, and dairy. They use processed foods like veggie bacon, deli slices, and breakfast links.

What’s worse:

  • Up to 30 times the maximum level allowed for a toxic chemical called melamine has been found in soy products. Melamine is a hazardous air pollutant that affects the brain. It’s banned from organic food, yet it’s finding its way into soy.1
  • Commercial soy farmers in South America are taking over and driving peasant farmers off their land.2
  • Soy is grown on stripped and deforested lands in the Amazon rainforest.3
  • Inferior and contaminated soy is quietly being imported from China.4
This concept is disconnected from our past, and it screams of ignorance.

For millions of years, our ancestors were part of an ecological system that had a perfect balance in nature. They relied on fresh-caught meat and food gathered from the ground, bushes, and trees. Their diet was high-protein, high-fat, and low-carbohydrate. Diseases of modern day were non-existent.

Vegetarians want to replace this with processed, low-fat starch products that can ruin your health.

Where’s the Beef?

The study they’ve based their conclusions on has nothing to do with Atkins’ diet plan. Atkins’ diet is based on beef. In the study, one group ate a vegetarian diet, and the other a vegan diet. The diets are hard to follow for most people, and the products aren’t readily available. But what’s more important, vital nutrients are missing.

Meat eaters are more likely than vegetarians to get 100% of the protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins they need.

This veggie Atkins imitator is a far cry from the natural and healthy diet handed down through millions of years of evolution. Eco-Atkins goes against our own biology and history.

Ancient Is Eco-Friendly

Step back in time with me for a moment…

A stone-age diet is similar to the original Atkins plan. Primitive man hunted animals that fed on wild grasses. Meat was pure, fresh, and full of nutrients. They supplemented with fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. They drank fresh water. Very little was based on grains, gluten, or soy. Their diet certainly was not based on processed, pre-packaged veggie links.

Our bodies were designed to digest meat, yet vegetarians still think it’s bad for you. They don’t understand that eating grass-fed beef is healthy, low-fat, and contains essential nutrients they’re missing from their diet. Our ancestors’ diet allowed prehistoric man to have a stored energy source for times of famine. Today, it gives us a great backup fuel system for our bodies.

By eating like our ancestors, we naturally lower our intake of carbohydrates. With fewer carbohydrates, our bodies switch to using fat as fuel. We are fully satisfied and lose body fat. Our blood sugar levels out. Our LDL and HDL cholesterol levels improve, along with triglycerides.
There’s more…
Natural sources of animal protein:
  • Have higher nutritional value. Grass-fed beef is low-fat with fewer calories than grain-fed. It also has more omega-3s, B vitamins, CoQ10, zinc, vitamin E, and beta-carotene.
  • Avoid common allergic triggers such as milk, soy, egg, and wheat.
  • Offer important nutrients that fuel the brain and stabilize mood.
  • Satisfy the appetite. They keep hunger away longer, making dieting easier.

Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef

1. Less overall fat and calories: A six-ounce grass-fed loin has 92 fewer calories than grain-fed. This saves an average American 16,642 calories each year.13

2. More Omega-3:
Grass-fed beef has 2 to 10 times more omega-3s than grain-fed beef and a healthy ratio as little as 1:1.14 Grain-fed beef is as much as 14:1.15

3. More CLA: Grass-fed beef has 2 to 5 times more CLA than grain-fed. CLA supports immune and cardiovascular growth and lean muscle mass.16

4. More Vitamin E:
Grass-fed beef contains 3 to 6 times more vitamin E than grain-fed beef.17

5. More Carotenoids: Grass-fed beef has up to 4 times more beta-carotene than grain-fed beef.18 Carotenoids promote eye and macular health.

6. More B Vitamins, CoQ10, and Zinc: Grass-fed beef has more B vitamins, CoQ10, and zinc than grain-fed beef.
Dr. Atkins was a visionary. He taught people to eat like our primitive ancestors. But there is one area where he went wrong…
You’ve got to watch out for trans-fat and eliminate it from your diet. Trans-fat comes from partially hydrogenated oils. You find it in processed and fast foods. Trans-fat raises bad cholesterol (LDL) while lowering good cholesterol (HDL).

You also need to watch the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. We get too few 3’s and too many 6’s. When you cut down on processed and fast foods, you decrease 6’s. Another way is by switching to grass-fed beef.

A high-protein, low-carb diet is good for you, as long as you’re getting the right fats.

Here’s how to get back to the basics:
  • Make protein the main course of every meal. Base your diet on grass-fed beef, buffalo, wild game, and eggs. For variety, add an occasional wild-caught, coldwater fish.
  • Eat quality, low-glycemic carbohydrates. Stick to above-ground vegetables, fruits, and berries.
  • Eat quality fat and increase omega-3’s. Throw in a handful of nuts, avocados, and some healthful oils.
  • Avoid packaged and processed foods.

1 “Behind the Bean: The Heroes and Charlatans of the Natural and Organic Soy Foods Industry,” (p. 18) Accessed 02 2010.
2 “Paraguay may limit soy farming in land reform,” Interview 12 Sep 2008 16:59:39 GMT: Reuters. By Mariel Cristaldo.
3 “Behind the Bean: The Heroes and Charlatans of the Natural and Organic Soy Foods Industry,” (p. 18) Accessed 02 2010.
4 “Behind the Bean: The Heroes and Charlatans of the Natural and Organic Soy Foods Industry,” (p. 18) Accessed 02 2010.
5 Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1998.
6 Milea, D. “Blindness in a strict vegan.” N. Engl. J. Med. 342: 897- 898; 2000.
7 Hunt, J.R.; Roughead, Z.K. “Nonheme-iron absorption, fecal ferritin excretion, and blood indexes of iron status in women consuming controlled lactoovovegetarian diets for 8 weeks.” Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 69: 944-952; 1999.
8 Lozoff, B.; Jimenez, E.; Hagen, J.; Mollen, E.; Wolf, A.W. “Poorer behavioral and developmental outcome more than 10 years after treatment for iron deficiency in infancy.” Pediatrics 105: e51; 2000.
9 Allen, L.H. “Anemia and iron deficiency: effects on pregnancy outcome.” Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 71(suppl): 1280s-1284s; 2000.
10 Hunt, J.R.; Matthys, L.A.; Johnson, L.K. “Zinc absorption, mineral balance, and blood lipids in women consuming controlled lactoovovegetarian and omnivorous diets for 8 weeks.” Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 67: 421- 430; 1998.
11 Kelley NS, Hubbard NE, Erickson KL. (2007). “Conjugated linoleic acid isomers and cancer.” J Nutr (UC Davis, Ca, USA) 137 (12): 2599-607.
12 Linus Pauling Institute. “Micronutrient Information Center.” Accessed 02 2010.
13 Robinson, J. Pasture Perfect: The Far Reaching Benefits of Choosing Meat, Eggs, and Dairy Products From Grass-Fed Animals. Vashon Island Press. 2004.
14 Rule D.C. (2002). “Comparison of muscle fatty acid profiles and cholesterol concentrations of bison, beef cattle, elk, and chicken.” Journal of Animal Science, 80: 1202-1211.
15 “Scientific Research.” Accessed 02 2010.
16 Dhiman, T.R., G.R. Anand, L.D. Satter, and M.W. Pariza. (1999). “Conjugated Linolenic Acid Content of Milk from Cows Fed Different Diets.” J Dairy Sci. 82, (10): 2146-56.
17 Smith, G.C. “Dietary Supplementation of Vitamin E to Cattle to Improve Shelf-Life and Case-Life for Domestic and International Markets.” Colorado State University Department of Animal Sciences. Accessed 02 2010.
18 Prache, S., A. Priolo, et al. (2003). “Persistence of carotenoid pigments in the blood of concentrate-finished grazing sheep: its significance for the traceability of grass-feeding.” J Anim Sci 81(2): 360-7.

The Truth About “Vitamin Sunshine”

You can lower your risk of 17 types of cancer by 77%, just by taking a simple nutrient:

Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin.”

Even if you take vitamins, you’re probably not getting enough D. In fact, in one study I read, when over 1,200 people were randomly screened, more than 87% had a vitamin D deficiency.1

My patients do their best to get in the sun and take supplements. But when they come to my clinic, their levels of vitamin D are still too low.

There are things that lower – even deplete – your vitamin D levels. And the 400 units of vitamin D our government recommends are simply not enough to do the job right. Once it gets into your bloodstream, it’s spread too thin to give your cells what they need.

Vitamin D is used by every cell in your body. It keeps cells healthy and functioning at their best, and it’s critical for your immune system. If you don’t have enough, some cells may end up damaged and diseased. To prevent cancer, your levels of vitamin D must be much higher.

Go without vitamin D long enough, and it can be the last mistake you make. One study followed 13,000 people for more than 12 years. They found out that too little vitamin D was an independent risk factor for death.2

Nature’s Healthy Option

Our ancestors lived naked in the sun for millions of years.

But over time, we started to migrate north where there was less sun. We put on clothes, built houses, drove cars, and got jobs. We spent more time indoors… and when we did go out, we wore sunscreen.

All of these lifestyle changes reduced the levels of vitamin D in our bodies.

Suddenly, diseases of civilization began to occur. The same diseases prevented by vitamin D. We were forced to shift our focus from fighting wild animals to fighting a health disaster created by our man-made environment.

The “minimum daily requirement” of vitamin D is based on preventing a childhood disease called rickets. So you’d think our youth would be protected. Yet when 380 infants and 6,000 children were tested:3,4

  • 12% of infants were deficient.
  • 40% of infants had less than optimal levels – and one-third already showed signs of bone loss!
  • 9% of children, or 7.6 million were deficient.
  • 61% of children, or 50.8 million, had less than optimal levels.
Adults also believe they only need the minimum requirement. But if you raise the level of vitamin D, you can prevent cancers, fractures, type 1 diabetes, and many autoimmune disorders:5,6,7,8
Let’s look at cancer for a moment. In a separate study, a group of healthy women took either a placebo, calcium alone, or vitamin D with calcium. In four year’s time, most of the placebo group developed cancer. But 77% of the women who took vitamin D with calcium were cancer free.9

You can choose to be sick or healthy simply by increasing your vitamin D.

The Damage Starts Here

Even if you have the best intentions, there are a dozen obstacles to getting enough vitamin D:

Consider this:10

• Cloud cover reduces vitamin D exposure by 50%.

• Pollution can reduce vitamin D exposure by 60%.

• Glass doesn’t allow vitamin D to penetrate.

• Sunscreen doesn’t allow vitamin D to penetrate.
1. We wear clothing.

2. We wear sunscreen.

3. We don’t migrate with the sun.

4. We don’t live near the equator.

5. We work inside during the day.

6. We drive cars that block the sun.

7. We may have excess body fat that doesn’t absorb as well.

8. We may be older in years with less ability to absorb as well.

9. We may have dark skin pigmentation that doesn’t absorb as well.

10. We develop food allergies and intolerances that prevent absorption.

11. We adhere to diets such as strict vegetarianism that prevent absorption.

12. We take certain drugs, antibiotics, or corticosteroids that prevent absorption.
The next time you go in for a physical, ask your doctor to check your level of vitamin D. It’s a simple, inexpensive test that provides valuable information.

Boost D to Beat Disease

I recommend you aim for a minimum of 2,000 I.U. of vitamin D a day. If you get your level tested and it’s low, take between 5,000 and 10,000 I.U. a day from a variety of sources.

Try and go outside and expose your body to sunlight every day. As little as 10 minutes in the midday sun produces 10,000 units of vitamin D. You feel instantly better.

Add sources of vitamin D to your diet. Below is a list of foods that contain vitamin D. Or take a daily supplement. Cod liver oil is one of the best natural sources. Plus, it offers a bonus. It contains vitamin A, plenty of omega-3s, and is convenient to take.

Cod Liver Oil
1 Tbsp.
3 Oz.
3 Oz.
Salmon, cooked
3.5 Oz.
Mackerel, cooked
3.5 Oz.
Sardines, canned in oil, drained
1.75 Oz.
Tuna, canned in oil
3 Oz.
Eel, cooked
3.5 Oz.
Pork spare ribs
3 Oz.
Beef liver, pan fried
3 Oz.
Egg, whole
1 Ray MM, Long AN, et al. “Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency in an Urban General Internal Medicine Academic Practice,” 2009 Southern Regional Meeting Abstracts Session: SSGIM Research Abstract Session C.
2 Melamed ML, Michos ED, Post W, Astor B “25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and the risk of mortality in the general population.” Arch Intern Med. 2008 Aug 11;168(15):1629-37.
3 Gordon, CM, et al. “Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency Among Healthy Infants and Toddlers.” Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(6):505-512.
4 Kumar, J, et al. “Prevalence and Associations of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Deficiency in US Children: NHANES 2001–2004.” Pediatrics 2009.
5 Lappe JM, et al. “Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85:1586-91.
6 Garland CF, et al. “Vitamin D and prevention of breast cancer: pooled analysis.” J Steroid. Biochem Mol Biol. 2007;103;708-11.
7 Hypponen E, et al. “Intake of Vitamin D and risk of type 1 diabetes: a birth-cohort study.” Lancet 2001;358:1500-3.
8Bischolff-Ferrari HA, et al. “Fracture prevention with vitamin D supplementation: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” JAMA. 2005;293:2257-64.
9 Lappe JM., et al. “Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;85(6):1586-91.
10 “Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D” Accessed Jan 2010.

New York City Takes On Salt

The Real Issue… and Why You Need to Know About It

Did you see the January 10th New York Times report about salt?
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently named it his next “Public Enemy #1.”
His health department already banned trans-fats in restaurants. And forced calorie counts to be listed on menus. Now they’re taking on salt.2

The real question they should be asking is not “Should you eat salt or not?” It’s “What kind of salt should you eat?”

Good News for Salt Lovers

You need salt to live, and to continue living. No doubt about it…
  • A human embryo develops in salty amniotic fluid.
  • Your body consists of three distinct fluid systems, all salty – blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, and extracellular fluid.
  • Salt carries nutrients across cell membranes into your cells.
  • Salt keeps calcium and other minerals soluble in your blood.
  • Salt helps regulate muscle contractions.
  • The mainstay of fluid replacement therapy for treatment of dehydration – or as an IV therapy to prevent hypovolemic shock due to blood loss – is a saline solution of 0.9% sodium chloride.
  • Salt helps regulate blood pressure and fluid volume.
  • In hot temperatures, salt regulates your fluid balance.
  • It helps stimulate your nerves by increasing conductivity in nerve cells… for communication and information processing.
You can’t live without salt in your body.
You’re unable to digest food without it. Your heart needs it to function. So do your adrenals. Your liver and kidneys cannot work without salt.
You sweat salt. Your tears are salty. Your blood is salty.
So I trust you’ll look past conventional medicine’s blindness in pressing for low-salt diets.

Is Low-Salt Really Better?

The idea that salt consumption causes high blood pressure in the first place is a relatively recent belief… based, in fact, on questionable conclusions from a handful of studies.
Repeated studies failed to show a major causal link between salt intake and high blood pressure. In fact, some research points in the opposite direction.3
A huge government study on thousands of people concluded that minerals – especially potassium and magnesium – are better at lowering blood pressure than salt.4
Even the CDC’s own data over the space of 30 years showed that adequate mineral intake acts to keep your blood pressure low.5
A low-salt diet supposedly reduces your risk of heart attacks and strokes. But where’s the evidence? I’ve seen compelling evidence that shows you increase your risk of a heart attack on a low-salt diet.6
Why an increase?
Because low-salt diets can create or worsen nutritional deficiencies. And you know you need vitamins and minerals for good heart health.
So I take conventional medicine’s low-salt advice with a grain of salt… and suggest you do, too. This should come as good news if you enjoy salty foods.
But yet, it’s worth considering what type of salt is best for your health.

Choose “Living” Salt for Life

Regular table salt is a highly processed product that’s devoid of nutrients and minerals – like most other processed foods.
Due to extensive processing, which either destroys nutrients with high temperatures or strips them out, it lacks the nutrients found naturally in unrefined salts such as sea salt.
I advise switching to natural sea salt as your replacement for “traditional” table salt.
Think of unrefined salt as a whole, living food, because it is. It provides up to 82 vital trace minerals that promote your best possible life function and cellular health.
Even in tiny amounts, these minerals rally to regulate your body’s systems. They restock your electrolytes and balance your acid/alkaline levels.

Say Good-Bye to Traditional Table Salt

Your best way to replace processed table salt with unrefined sea salt is to eat whole organic vegetables, fruits, and meats you cook yourself… then add your own sea salt to taste.
Here’s a list of high-sodium prepared foods, with lower sodium alternatives to substitute. Choose these options… and add your own healthy replacement for processed table salt.

Sources of Added Salt              

Substitute Instead         

Canned / frozen vegetables
Fresh vegetables
Homemade soup
Ready-to-eat cereals
Shredded wheat, puffed rice, oatmeal, low-sodium cereals
Celery salt, garlic salt
Caraway seeds, pepper, garlic, parsley, sesame, thyme, lemon, other spices
Salad Dressings
Homemade dressings
Steak sauces, sauces,
Prepared mustard, catsup
Lemon, spices
Crackers, potato chips,
Corn chips     
Salt-free matzah, crackers,
Club soda
Seltzer water, juices
Bacon, ham, salami                      
Nitrite-free sandwich meats
Fast food
Salad, sandwiches
You can purchase sea salt in health-food stores and many mainstream grocery stores.
Still Worried About High Blood Pressure?
Since studies show poor outcomes for people low in minerals, here are some ways to increase your dietary intake of the most critical ones.
Magnesium – Helpful for healthy heart function and normal blood pressure. Dark green leafy veggies like spinach are rich in magnesium because chlorophyll molecules contain magnesium. Beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and seafood also provide magnesium. You should strive to eat enough magnesium-rich foods to get 500-1,000 mg of magnesium daily.
Potassium – Maintains normal fluid and electrolyte balance, and promotes normal muscle function. Helps optimize blood pressure levels.7
Foods rich in potassium include orange-colored fruits and veggies like apricots, cantaloupe, oranges, nectarines, peaches, sweet potatoes, and butternut and acorn squash. Other foods rich in potassium are black and kidney beans, spinach, Swiss chard, artichokes, bananas, kiwi, fish, meat, poultry, and milk. You should strive to get your potassium from a healthy diet.
Calcium – Populations with low calcium intake have higher blood pressure. But it’s not been proven that popping extra calcium supplements will automatically lower your blood pressure.

1 “Citing Hazard, New York Says Hold the Salt,” The New York Times, 01/10/10.
3 “Salt Your Way to Health,” Brownstein, David, M.D., (Reprinted from the Winter 2006 issue of A Grain of Salt.
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.
6 Ibid.
7 “Lower Your Blood Pressure with Potassium-Rich Foods,” The Vancouver Sun, 02/11/10.


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