I was recently alerted to the video, “Eat, Fast, & Live Longer” through a newsletter I receive from VegSource. The concept of elongating lifespan through calorie restriction or intermittent fasting is fascinating.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a pattern of eating that alternates between periods of fasting (usually meaning consumption of water and sometimes low-calorie drinks such as black coffee) and non-fasting.
There is evidence suggesting that intermittent fasting may have beneficial effects on the health and longevity of animals—including humans—that are similar to the effects of caloric restriction (CR). There is currently no consensus as to the degree to which this is simply due to fasting or due to an (often) concomitant overall decrease in calories, but recent studies have shown support for the former. Alternate-day calorie restriction may prolong life span. Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction are forms of dietary restriction (DR), which is sometimes referred to as dietary energy restriction (DER).
Scientific study of intermittent fasting in rats (and anecdotally in humans) was carried out at least as early as 1943.
A specific form of intermittent fasting is alternate day fasting (ADF), also referred to as every other day fasting (EOD), or every other day feeding (EODF), a 48-hour routine typically composed of a 24-hour fast followed by a 24-hour non-fasting period.” – Wikipedia
While this is not a short video (clocking-in at around 1 hour), it is a very intriguing watch.
Have any of you tried intermittent fasting? Any fasting experience?
Hungry For Change, a movie from the makers of Food Matters, is hosting a FREE 10 Day Worldwide Online Premier MARCH 21 – 31 2012. I just watched the movie trailer and am really enthused about how eye-opening this film promises to be.
“This inspiring film has the power to transform your health!” ~Anthony Robbins
According to the producers:
HUNGRY FOR CHANGE exposes shocking secrets the diet, weightloss and food industry don’t want you to know about. Deceptive strategies designed to keep you craving more and more.
Could the foods we are eating actually be keeping us stuck in the diet trap?
In this free online premiere event you’ll discover:
How to navigate your supermarket – what to buy and what to avoid
The real truth behind “DIET”, “SUGAR-FREE” and “FAT-FREE” products
How to overcome food addictions and cravings
Why fad diets dont work
What food additives to avoid and how to read labels
What is fat and cellulite and how do we get rid of it for good
The most effective detox and cleansing strategies, and
How to eat for clear eyes, glowing skin and healthy hair
I was really excited to see two of my favorite experts on the trailer, Kris Carr and Dr. Christiane Northrup. This looks very promising…
I attended the 2nd annual Healthy Taste of LA for the first time last month and was very impressed! The keynote speaker at this year’s event was T. Colin Campbell. Being the nutrition geek that I am, I will forever be indebted to T. Colin Campbell for the work he has done in the field of nutrition and the discoveries he has made throughout his career pertaining to nutrition and its role in cancer and other diseases of affluence. It was great to have a few minutes to chat with him about nutrition in general and the plans he has with regards to evolving the Plant-Based Nutrition Certification courses at Cornell.
Fortunately for us we also had three breaks throughout the day where we were given the opportunity to sample all of the wonderful food that the Chefs demonstrated making. Another exciting aspect of the day was the fact that the event organizers were short one staff photographer and asked me to fill in which basically gave me an all-access pass to move around and take pictures to my heart’s content!
The first recipe that was demonstrated at the event was Chef Ramses Bravo’s Coconut Vanilla Granola, which is the Granola that they serve at the True North Health Center. After the event I went home and made the granola and was really impressed with the result. I had never made granola without oil before and love that I now know how. Click HERE for the recipe.
At the end of the event Chef AJ announced that the keynote speaker at next year’s Healthy Taste of LA 3 will be Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, the man who has figured out the formula to be heart attack proof (Did you all see Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN special by the same name highlighting Dr. Esselstyn?)!!!
I definitely plan on being there at the event next year (November 4, 2012). I HIGHLY recommend purchasing your tickets in advance. This year they had to turn people away from the event because the interest was so high. Do yourself a favor and purchase your tickets ahead of time.
For more information about 2012’s Healthy Taste of LA3 and to purchase tickets click here.
It is estimated that there are more than 100,000 new cases of colon cancer diagnosed each year in the U.S. alone, and colon and rectal cancers are the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths.1 The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that forty-five percent of these new cases could be prevented by following a few simple lifestyle habits: avoiding processed and red meat, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol consumption.2 But we can do better – imagine the level of protection if we not only avoided carcinogenic foods, but also focused on eating the foods that work on a cellular level to prevent colon cancer.
So which foods offer us the best protection?
Anti-cancer compounds have been identified in many plant foods: for example cruciferous vegetables, mushrooms, and the onion and garlic family are known to contain substances that can prevent cellular processes involved in cancer development. Certainly, a diet high in fruits and vegetables in general is protective3-5, but many observational studies on diet have not investigated specific food groups, only broad categories like “fruits,” “vegetables,” etc. But there is a wide range of anti-cancer activity in the wide range of plant foods – for example, kale is more protective than iceberg lettuce. Identifying these protective plant foods helps us to construct an anti-colon cancer diet.
A recent study aimed to find some specific foods and food groups that protect against colon cancer. Twenty-six years after reporting information about their diets, subjects were asked whether they had undergone screening colonoscopy, and if so, whether they had physician-diagnosed polyps. The majority of colorectal cancers originate from polyps, so polyps are considered a precursor to the development of cancer. This study was part of the larger Adventist Health Study, which studies relationships between diet and chronic disease in members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which emphasizes healthy living in its teachings.
The researchers examined about 25 different foods and food groups. Those that were associated with reduced risk of polyps were cooked green vegetables, dried fruit,legumes (beans, lentils, etc.), and brown rice. All of these displayed dose-dependent effects, meaning that the more of these foods the subjects ate, the more protection they had from colon cancer.6
Green vegetables are rich in folate and isothiocyanates, nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties. Folate is a B vitamin that is involved in turning genes on and off – this is important in preventing the early cellular events that lead to cancer. Adequate folate levels are protective against several cancers, including colon cancer. It is important to note, however, that synthetic folic acid from supplements is not protective.7,8 Isothiocyanates are a group of nutrients found in cruciferous vegetables that have a wide variety of cancer preventive properties – they can detoxify or remove carcinogens from healthy cells, kill cancer cells, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and prevent tumors from acquiring a blood supply.9
The protection from beans and other legumes was likely due to their soluble fiber and resistant starch, carbohydrates that are not broken down by digestive enzymes. Intestinal bacteria ferment these carbohydrates, forming short chain fatty acids such as butyrate. Butyrate has a number of anti-cancer effects including disrupting cancer cell growth, increasing levels of detoxification enzymes, limiting DNA damage, and preventing tumors from acquiring a blood supply.10-13
High fiber foods, including dried fruit and brown rice (as well as vegetables and beans) help to reduce transit time of gastrointestinal contents through the colon – this reduces the potential contact between dietary toxins or carcinogens and the cells that line the colon. Reduced transit time is believed to be an important contribution of fiber to the prevention of colon cancer. 14,15 Raisins, probably the most popular dried fruit, have been shown to increase short chain fatty acid production and decrease colon transit time.16,17 In addition to fiber content, dried fruit likely also contributed antioxidant protection of colon cells from DNA damage, which is an early event in the development of cancer.18
Previous studies found a protective effect of berries, citrus fruits, andyellow-orange vegetables, which was likely due to their high concentration of flavonoid and carotenoid antioxidants, respectively.10,19,20Additional studies on specific food groups have also found a reduced risk of colon polyps with high intake of green leafy vegetables (many of which are cruciferous), onions, and garlic.12,19
All of these foods contain known anti-cancer compounds, and of course there are thousands of anti-cancer compounds in plant foods that scientists have not yet discovered. Each of these colorful plant foods contains a spectrum of micronutrients and phytochemicals that work in concert to protect the body against carcinogenic influences. Future studies will continue to reveal these phytochemicals and their anti-cancer properties.
My new book Super Immunity, which will be released September 20, 2011, discusses in depth the connections between diet and cancer.
For Dr. Fuhrman’s references from this article click here.
FORKS OVER KNIVES examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the so-called “diseases of affluence” that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.
In this interview, Brian tells us about his experience making Forks Over Knives and then watching it blossom into a huge success…
JH: You went from commercial real estate straight into producing one of the most important documentaries of our time, Forks Over Knives, as your first film. What inspired you to take the leap?
BW: The evidence that diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and sometimes cancer, can be effectively prevented, and even reversed, by a whole foods plant-based diet is compelling. For whatever reason, the information wasn’t getting to the masses, so only a few people were benefiting from it. I thought making a feature film was an opportunity to change that, and doing something that would have a positive impact on people’s lives was something I always wanted to do.
JH: How do you feel about the outpouring of support and enthusiasm for the film?
BW: The response has been beyond what I had imagined. It’s rewarding. I think people see the potential in the concepts brought forward in the film as a real way to make our lives better.
BW: I hope that the level of education about food and its impact on health will increase, and that as a result, people will lead more healthful lives. It turns out that the same diet that is good for human health, is compassionate to animals and less taxing to the environment, so it’s important to see improvements in these areas as well.
JH: Can you describe the message you are trying to relay by creating such a critical piece?
BW: The message is that there is evidence that there’s something very specific we can do to greatly reduce our suffering from degenerative diseases. At a time when we’re trying to find solutions to difficult problems, it’s good to know that there may be one at hand—especially something that is simple.
JH: What was it like working with a healthy handful of the most innovative, influential scientists of our generation?
BW: Given my passion for the subject, there are no individuals I would have rather worked with than Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn. Getting to spend as much time with them as we did, and getting to know them personally, was an experience that is difficult to describe in words.
JH: What was your biggest challenge in making the film?
BW: The biggest challenge was figuring out how to take a vast amount of information along with a significant number of stories, and making into a presentation of less than 96 minutes. There’s a lot of material that didn’t make it in. We realized that the film represents more the beginning of a discussion.
JH: Do you intend to continue making documentary films with a similar message?
BW: Right now I’m focused on releasing the film, an undertaking that is quite substantial. I do, though, like the idea of making another documentary film.
I firmly believe that sugar is toxic…and addictive. Gary Taubes has done an amazing job with this article. It is LONG, but well worth the read. I have given you exerpts from it below. To read the article in full click here. I also suggest you watch Robert Lustig’s lecture. To do so click here.
On May 26, 2009, Robert Lustig gave a lecture called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth,” which was posted on YouTube the following July. Since then, it has been viewed well over 800,000 times, gaining new viewers at a rate of about 50,000 per month, fairly remarkable numbers for a 90-minute discussion of the nuances of fructose biochemistry and human physiology.
Lustig is a specialist on pediatric hormone disorders and the leading expert in childhood obesity at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, which is one of the best medical schools in the country. He published his first paper on childhood obesity a dozen years ago, and he has been treating patients and doing research on the disorder ever since.
The viral success of his lecture, though, has little to do with Lustig’s impressive credentials and far more with the persuasive case he makes that sugar is a “toxin” or a “poison,” terms he uses together 13 times through the course of the lecture, in addition to the five references to sugar as merely “evil.” And by “sugar,” Lustig means not only the white granulated stuff that we put in coffee and sprinkle on cereal — technically known as sucrose — but also high-fructose corn syrup, which has already become without Lustig’s help what he calls “the most demonized additive known to man.”
It doesn’t hurt Lustig’s cause that he is a compelling public speaker. His critics argue that what makes him compelling is his practice of taking suggestive evidence and insisting that it’s incontrovertible. Lustig certainly doesn’t dabble in shades of gray. Sugar is not just an empty calorie, he says; its effect on us is much more insidious. “It’s not about the calories,” he says. “It has nothing to do with the calories. It’s a poison by itself.”
If Lustig is right, then our excessive consumption of sugar is the primary reason that the numbers of obese and diabetic Americans have skyrocketed in the past 30 years. But his argument implies more than that. If Lustig is right, it would mean that sugar is also the likely dietary cause of several other chronic ailments widely considered to be diseases of Western lifestyles — heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers among them.
This brings us to the salient question: Can sugar possibly be as bad as Lustig says it is?
If I didn’t buy this argument myself, I wouldn’t be writing about it here. And I also have a disclaimer to acknowledge. I’ve spent much of the last decade doing journalistic research on diet and chronic disease — some of the more contrarian findings, on dietary fat, appeared in this magazine —– and I have come to conclusions similar to Lustig’s.
Lustig’s argument, however, is not about the consumption of empty calories — and biochemists have made the same case previously, though not so publicly. It is that sugar has unique characteristics, specifically in the way the human body metabolizes the fructose in it, that may make it singularly harmful, at least if consumed in sufficient quantities.
The phrase Lustig uses when he describes this concept is “isocaloric but not isometabolic.” This means we can eat 100 calories of glucose (from a potato or bread or other starch) or 100 calories of sugar (half glucose and half fructose), and they will be metabolized differently and have a different effect on the body. The calories are the same, but the metabolic consequences are quite different.
The fructose component of sugar and H.F.C.S. is metabolized primarily by the liver, while the glucose from sugar and starches is metabolized by every cell in the body. Consuming sugar (fructose and glucose) means more work for the liver than if you consumed the same number of calories of starch (glucose). And if you take that sugar in liquid form — soda or fruit juices — the fructose and glucose will hit the liver more quickly than if you consume them, say, in an apple (or several apples, to get what researchers would call the equivalent dose of sugar). The speed with which the liver has to do its work will also affect how it metabolizes the fructose and glucose.
In animals, or at least in laboratory rats and mice, it’s clear that if the fructose hits the liver in sufficient quantity and with sufficient speed, the liver will convert much of it to fat. This apparently induces a condition known as insulin resistance, which is now considered the fundamental problem in obesity, and the underlying defect in heart disease and in the type of diabetes, type 2, that is common to obese and overweight individuals. It might also be the underlying defect in many cancers.
If what happens in laboratory rodents also happens in humans, and if we are eating enough sugar to make it happen, then we are in trouble.
Th[e] correlation between sugar consumption and diabetes is what defense attorneys call circumstantial evidence. It’s more compelling than it otherwise might be, though, because the last time sugar consumption jumped markedly in this country, it was also associated with a diabetes epidemic.
In the early 20th century, many of the leading authorities on diabetes in North America and Europe (including Frederick Banting, who shared the 1923 Nobel Prize for the discovery of insulin) suspected that sugar causes diabetes based on the observation that the disease was rare in populations that didn’t consume refined sugar and widespread in those that did. In 1924, Haven Emerson, director of the institute of public health at Columbia University, reported that diabetes deaths in New York City had increased as much as 15-fold since the Civil War years, and that deaths increased as much as fourfold in some U.S. cities between 1900 and 1920 alone. This coincided, he noted, with an equally significant increase in sugar consumption — almost doubling from 1890 to the early 1920s — with the birth and subsequent growth of the candy and soft-drink industries.
Emerson’s argument was countered by Elliott Joslin, a leading authority on diabetes, and Joslin won out. But his argument was fundamentally flawed. Simply put, it went like this: The Japanese eat lots of rice, and Japanese diabetics are few and far between; rice is mostly carbohydrate, which suggests that sugar, also a carbohydrate, does not cause diabetes. But sugar and rice are not identical merely because they’re both carbohydrates. Joslin could not know at the time that the fructose content of sugar affects how we metabolize it.
Joslin was also unaware that the Japanese ate little sugar. In the early 1960s, the Japanese were eating as little sugar as Americans were a century earlier, maybe less, which means that the Japanese experience could have been used to support the idea that sugar causes diabetes. Still, with Joslin arguing in edition after edition of his seminal textbook that sugar played no role in diabetes, it eventually took on the aura of undisputed truth.
Until Lustig came along, the last time an academic forcefully put forward the sugar-as-toxin thesis was in the 1970s, when John Yudkin, a leading authority on nutrition in the United Kingdom, published a polemic on sugar called “Sweet and Dangerous.” Through the 1960s Yudkin did a series of experiments feeding sugar and starch to rodents, chickens, rabbits, pigs and college students. He found that the sugar invariably raised blood levels of triglycerides (a technical term for fat), which was then, as now, considered a risk factor for heart disease. Sugar also raised insulin levels in Yudkin’s experiments, which linked sugar directly to type 2 diabetes. Few in the medical community took Yudkin’s ideas seriously, largely because he was also arguing that dietary fat and saturated fat were harmless. This set Yudkin’s sugar hypothesis directly against the growing acceptance of the idea, prominent to this day, that dietary fat was the cause of heart disease, a notion championed by the University of Minnesota nutritionist Ancel Keys.
A common assumption at the time was that if one hypothesis was right, then the other was most likely wrong. Either fat caused heart disease by raising cholesterol, or sugar did by raising triglycerides. “The theory that diets high in sugar are an important cause of atherosclerosis and heart disease does not have wide support among experts in the field, who say that fats and cholesterol are the more likely culprits,” as Jane E. Brody wrote in The Times in 1977.
At the time, many of the key observations cited to argue that dietary fat caused heart disease actually support the sugar theory as well. During the Korean War, pathologists doing autopsies on American soldiers killed in battle noticed that many had significant plaques in their arteries, even those who were still teenagers, while the Koreans killed in battle did not. The atherosclerotic plaques in the Americans were attributed to the fact that they ate high-fat diets and the Koreans ate low-fat. But the Americans were also eating high-sugar diets, while the Koreans, like the Japanese, were not.
Another question still needs to be asked…[W]hat are the chances that sugar is actually worse than Lustig says it is?
One of the diseases that increases in incidence with obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome is cancer. This is why I said earlier that insulin resistance may be a fundamental underlying defect in many cancers, as it is in type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The connection between obesity, diabetes and cancer was first reported in 2004 in large population studies by researchers from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. It is not controversial. What it means is that you are more likely to get cancer if you’re obese or diabetic than if you’re not, and you’re more likely to get cancer if you have metabolic syndrome than if you don’t.
This goes along with two other observations that have led to the well-accepted idea that some large percentage of cancers are caused by our Western diets and lifestyles. This means they could actually be prevented if we could pinpoint exactly what the problem is and prevent or avoid that.
One observation is that death rates from cancer, like those from diabetes, increased significantly in the second half of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th. As with diabetes, this observation was accompanied by a vigorous debate about whether those increases could be explained solely by the aging of the population and the use of new diagnostic techniques or whether it was really the incidence of cancer itself that was increasing. “By the 1930s,” as a 1997 report by the World Cancer Research Fund International and the American Institute for Cancer Research explained, “it was apparent that age-adjusted death rates from cancer were rising in the U.S.A.,” which meant that the likelihood of any particular 60-year-old, for instance, dying from cancer was increasing, even if there were indeed more 60-years-olds with each passing year.
The second observation was that malignant cancer, like diabetes, was a relatively rare disease in populations that didn’t eat Western diets, and in some of these populations it appeared to be virtually nonexistent. In the 1950s, malignant cancer among the Inuit, for instance, was still deemed sufficiently rare that physicians working in northern Canada would publish case reports in medical journals when they did diagnose a case.
So how does it work? Cancer researchers now consider that the problem with insulin resistance is that it leads us to secrete more insulin, and insulin (as well as a related hormone known as insulin-like growth factor) actually promotes tumor growth.
As it was explained to me by Craig Thompson, who has done much of this research and is now president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the cells of many human cancers come to depend on insulin to provide the fuel (blood sugar) and materials they need to grow and multiply. Insulin and insulin-like growth factor (and related growth factors) also provide the signal, in effect, to do it. The more insulin, the better they do. Some cancers develop mutations that serve the purpose of increasing the influence of insulin on the cell; others take advantage of the elevated insulin levels that are common to metabolic syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Some do both. Thompson believes that many pre-cancerous cells would never acquire the mutations that turn them into malignant tumors if they weren’t being driven by insulin to take up more and more blood sugar and metabolize it.
But some researchers will make the case, as Cantley and Thompson do, that if something other than just being fatter is causing insulin resistance to begin with, that’s quite likely the dietary cause of many cancers. If it’s sugar that causes insulin resistance, they say, then the conclusion is hard to avoid that sugar causes cancer — some cancers, at least — radical as this may seem and despite the fact that this suggestion has rarely if ever been voiced before publicly. For just this reason, neither of these men will eat sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, if they can avoid it.
“I have eliminated refined sugar from my diet and eat as little as I possibly can,” Thompson told me, “because I believe ultimately it’s something I can do to decrease my risk of cancer.” Cantley put it this way: “Sugar scares me.”
Sugar scares me too, obviously. I’d like to eat it in moderation. I’d certainly like my two sons to be able to eat it in moderation, to not overconsume it, but I don’t actually know what that means, and I’ve been reporting on this subject and studying it for more than a decade. If sugar just makes us fatter, that’s one thing. We start gaining weight, we eat less of it. But we are also talking about things we can’t see — fatty liver, insulin resistance and all that follows. Officially I’m not supposed to worry because the evidence isn’t conclusive, but I do.
Gary Taubes (email@example.com) is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation independent investigator in health policy and the author of “Why We Get Fat.” Editor: Vera Titunik (v.titunik-MagGroup@nytimes.com).
"The diet that helps to reduce weight in the short run needs to be the same diet that creates and maintains health in the long run."
~T. Colin Campbell
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