Monday, November 20, 2006

American Academy of Pediatrics Recommends Cold Pizza for Children's Breakfast

In their brochure, "What's to Eat? Healthy Foods for Hungry Children" (subscription required), the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for a "good start" to "carry a child through an active morning" the odd "breakfast idea" of leftover spaghetti or pizza, served hot or cold. Even before I learned about the Paleo diet I knew that cold pizza was nowhere near a health food, and had never heard of it being recommended as a good breakfast food for children.

Not surprisingly, the AAP receives funding from such corporate sources as the Sugar Association and the International Food Information Council (the public relations arm of the food and beverage industries, including the Sugar Association, the National Soft Drink Association, makers of food additives, McDonald’s Corporation, Kraft Foods, M&M/Mars, etc.).

As I remember it, it used to be that pretty much everyone recognized that cold pizza or spaghetti made from refined grains was not health food or a good way to get energy for the day and certainly not breakfast food. The thinking behind cereal for breakfast is that whole grains provide fiber and are therefore healthy (bogus of course--but the standard view). I'm not sure what the AAP's thinking behind refined-grain pizza and spaghetti is. Maybe this is part of the carb-loading insanity--or maybe they were just guided by the modern food industry that funds them.

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Brief Paleo Diet Meal Plan

It's best if you can go "cold turkey" on modern foods and go right to eating a completely Paleo/ancestral diet for the first four months, or at least four weeks, so that you can see the difference an ancestral diet makes. Even if you go completely Paleo you will likely inadvertently eat some modern foods at times, since so many store-bought and restaurant foods contain modern ingredients, and you may find that you have sensitivity reactions to some of the modern foods when you mistakenly eat them or reintroduce them after avoiding them for a few weeks or more. These reactions should dissipate over time for most people, but they are instructive about the ill effects of modern foods.

Our ancestors didn't eat dramatically different foods at different times of the day. Sandwiches did not become lunchtime staples in America until the 1900's when bakeries started pre-slicing bread and cold breakfast cereal did not become popular until the twentieth century. Our Paleolithic ancestors cooked the fruits of the day's hunt and generally continued to eat them at each meal until they were gone, along with the fruits, vegetables and nuts that were gathered. When the meat or fish was too plentiful to be eaten in a few meals they dried, smoked or froze it (when the weather was sufficiently cold) to preserve it. To eat more like our ancestors you should try to follow the same principals, cooking meat and fish for dinner and finishing up leftovers at breakfast or lunch, drying, refrigerating or freezing any surplus.

Breakfast

Instead of the typical breakfast foods of cold cereal with milk, toast, bagel, muffin, donut, bacon or sausage for breakfast, an ancestral breakfast will typically include some combination of leftover or fresh meat, fruit, nuts or seeds. Breakfast is best suited to foods which are easy to prepare and digest quickly, so vegetables are less emphasized with this meal, but they can still play a role if you are creative (for example, veggies can be included in omelets). Eggs are common in the breakfast of both the Standard American Diet and the ancestral diet, but some ancestral diet advocates, like Loren Cordain, suggest limiting the intake of eggs because of concerns about weight gain and blood cholesterol levels. Choose omega-3 enriched eggs and think of the extra expense as an investment in your health.

Sample breakfast (your actual meals may differ depending on your needs, your appetite and your preferences):
Bowl of diced apple, shredded carrots, raisins and walnuts
Cold or reheated lean pork chop leftovers
Tea

Lunch

Instead of the typical sandwich or burger in a bun, an ancestral lunch will tend to more resemble a light dinner.

Sample lunch:
Ground beef and red sauce on spaghetti squash
Tossed green salad with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice
Melon and strawberry slices
Water with lime wedge

Dinner

Dinner is the American meal that most resembles the ancestral way of eating. Try to forego modern components like bread, pasta, milk, margarine and butter.

Sample dinner:
Lean beefsteak
Steamed broccoli
Buttercup squash
Pitted, diced Medjool dates mixed with slivered almonds
Mineral water

Snacks

Ancestral snacks include fresh fruit, homemade beef jerky and dried salmon strips with no added salt, raw vegetables like carrots and broccoli, cold chicken breast and other leftover meats, sardines, unsalted or lightly salted nuts and seeds, dried fruit, trail mix, hard-boiled eggs, shrimp, homemade vegetable juice, and fruit smoothies (blended frozen fruit or fresh fruit and ice).

For more Paleo menus and ideas read The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. and NeanderThin by Ray Audette and see "The Paleolithic Eating Support List's Recipe Collection" and
"A Sample of Paleo Recipes".

There is controversy over how much animal fat, particularly saturated fat, to include in a Paleo diet, with Ray Audette advocating far more than Loren Cordain. The issue is too complex to get into here, but suffice it to say that you would include more animal fat in your Paleo meals than the sample meals here if you side with Audette. I find I can eat more animal fat than these meals contain without negatively affecting my LDL cholesterol levels, but I kept these sample meals relatively lean for those concerned with saturated fat (though there is more fat than the low-fat diet faddists would advocate).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Asthma

It's not surprising that a drug that treats rheumatoid arthritis would also treat asthma, as they are both diseases that involve chronic inflammation and both are "diseases of civilization" that accumulating scientific evidence is showing have an underlying cause of a modern diet that is in conflict with human biology.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Could Fight Problem Asthma
February 16, 2006 08:45:57 PM PST
By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter
Yahoo! Health: Arthritis News

THURSDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Using a well-known rheumatoid arthritis drug to reduce high levels of an inflammatory protein could be a new means of fighting severe asthma, British researchers report.

Their study found that people with severe asthma have higher-than-normal concentrations of an inflammation-linked cytokine called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa). Reducing the levels using a TNF-inhibiting drug, etanercept, reduced asthma symptoms in people with refractory -- hard to manage -- disease.

....

Childhood Asthma Linked to Mother's Nutrition

Vitamin D deficiency in expectant mothers has been found to increase the risk of asthma in their children...

Kids' Asthma Linked to Maternal Nutrition
March 4, 2006 08:45:27 PM PST
By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

SATURDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- The link between maternal health and childhood asthma is becoming clearer.

Researchers presenting new studies at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Miami Beach have recorded associations between maternal nutrition and stress with asthma in children.

One study found that expectant mothers who take higher amounts of vitamin D may decrease their child's risk for asthma.

Vitamin D deficiency is common in areas where asthma is also widespread, raising the suspicion that the two are linked, said Dr. Carlos Camargo, senior author of the study and an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

....

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Diabetes Epidemic

Diabetes has risen to "epidemic" levels and increased reporting does not account for all of the increase. More and more Americans are falling prey to this chronic disease and even higher diabetes rates have been predicted for the future as Americans eat more modern foods and become more sedentary. Dr. Loren Cordain reported that "the Average American now eats 83 pounds of corn syrup a year, plus 66 pounds of sucrose" [The Paleo Diet, p. 48.].

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine reported that from "1997 to 2003, the incidence of diagnosed diabetes increased 41% from 4.9 to 6.9 per 1000 population"
[The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 30, Issue 5 , May 2006, Pages 371-377, http://www.sciencedirect.com]. Linda S. Geiss, MA and the other authors of the report analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) of the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Acne Cure

Loren Cordain, Ph.D. has just published an ebook titled The Dietary Cure for Acne. Cordain reviews the four known proximate causes of acne (pore blockage, excess oil production, bacterial infection and inflammation) and explains the underlying cause behind all of them: the modern diet. Cordain's ebook reveals how high glycemic foods increase oil production, and how dietary lectins prevent skin cells from sloughing off properly.

I personally have found a Paleo diet to nearly, though not yet completely, eliminate my chronic cystic acne. It is no longer significant enough to be noticeable to others.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Could Linus Pauling Have Been Right?

Scientists from the National Institutes of Health and McGill University in Canada are re-examining the effectiveness of vitamin C treatment of cancer. There are indications that the problem with some past studies may have been the method of administering the vitamin.

Oral dosing was used in the studies that found no benefit for vitamin C in treating cancer, instead of intravenous dosing, or a combination of the two as Linus Pauling and Dr. Ewan Cameron had done when they reported success with the treatment in the 1970's and 1980's. Pauling has long been considered a quack by the conventional medical community, but that assessment may need revising if these latest findings are confirmed with further research.

Intravenously administered vitamin C as cancer therapy: three cases
Sebastian J. Padayatty et al, CMAJ • March 28, 2006; 174 (7). doi:10.1503/cmaj.050346.
The National Institutes of Health and McGill University

“Larger doses (50–100 g) given intravenously may result in plasma concentrations of about 14 000 µmol/L. At concentrations above 1000 µmol/L, vitamin C is toxic to some cancer cells but not to normal cells in vitro.”

High-dose vitamin C therapy: Renewed hope or false promise?
Sarit Assouline and Wilson H. Miller, CMAJ • March 28, 2006; 174 (7). doi:10.1503/cmaj.060228.
McGill University

“…there is recent evidence from laboratory experiments to support the possibility that high-dose intravenous treatment might be more effective. Chen and associates report that vitamin C levels achievable in vivo only by intravenous infusion are selectively cytotoxic in vitro to various cancer cell lines but not to normal cells by a mechanism involving formation of hydrogen peroxide.9This is consistent with a growing literature that reactive oxygen species play an important role in the mechanism of action of proven cancer treatments and that impaired oxidation-reduction balance in cancer cells might cause induced reactive oxygen species to selectively kill cancer cells.10–12 Indeed, additional mechanistic studies may help define tumour types more likely to respond to this and other strategies that induce reactive oxygen species.

There is, therefore, both ample interest and evidence to support research of high-dose vitamin C administered intravenously as a treatment for cancer. At our institution, we have taken the next step of conducting a phase I trial to establish the safety and dosage of high-dose intravenous vitamin C therapy for patients with advanced cancer; we are collecting preliminary efficacy, quality-of-life and pharmacokinetic data.”

Tumor Risk from Cell Phones

Swedish researchers reported this week finding a correlation between long-term cell phone use and tumor risk, contradicting two earlier studies.

The report suggested a 240 percent increased risk of a malignant tumor on the side of the head the cell phone is used on. The researchers recommended using a headset to reduce the risk.

If the study is validated by additional studies it will not be surprising, as many new technologies, drugs and foods create new risks of negative effects since people have not had time to adapt to them the way we have the natural environment over the past three million years.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Modern Fruits and Vegetables are Growing Less Nutritious

From: Nutrient content in veggies declines amid bigger yields
By LANCE GAY
Scripps Howard News Service
27-FEB-06

"[D]ata collected by the federal government shows that the nutritional content of America's vegetables and fruits has declined over the last 50 years - in some cases dramatically. ..."


SUMMARY AND COMMENT:

Donald Davis, a biochemist at the University of Texas in Austin found significant declines in six major nutrients in fruits and vegetables tracked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1950 to 1999 and said that the nutrient decline "has not been widely noticed" since an agriculture scientist first revealed the decline in a 1981 research paper comparing garden crops grown in the US with those in England.

Davis suspects the trend in agriculture toward crops that grow the fastest and largest is a reason for the decline. The faster-growing plants have less time to acquire nutrients by photosynthesis or from the soil. Davis said his study shows that people need to eat even more vegetables and fruits to make up for the nutrient decline. Trying to find older varieties of fruits and vegetables, perhaps from small organic farms, would also seem to make sense.

Davis' findings confirm earlier British and American research which found that vegetables are becoming less nutritious and fruits more sweet. The level of nutrients in foods is critical because people are eating less fresh fruits and vegetables and nutrient deficiencies appear to be a major problem. The British National Diet and Nutrition Survey revealed that "the blood plasma of a quarter of British men and a third of women was iron-deficient and that many people may also be deficient in nutrients such as selenium and vitamins C and B12." (It’s not the fruit it used to be..., Jonathan Leake, Environment Editor, The Sunday Times, 8 February 2004, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,176-993250,00.html as of 2/28/06)

When it comes to fruit and vegetable varieties and even breeds of animals, older tends to be better. The closer a food is to its ancient wild origins, the healthier it tends to be. As a general rule, new is not improved when it comes to food.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Study Review Debunks Soy Health Claims

The Associated Press
Jan. 23, 2006

DALLAS - Veggie burgers and tofu might not be so great at warding off heart disease after all.

An American Heart Association committee reviewed a decade of studies on soy’s benefits and came up with results that are now casting doubt on the health claim that soy-based foods and supplements significantly lower cholesterol.

...

The panel also found that neither soy nor the soy component isoflavone reduced symptoms of menopause, such as “hot flashes,” and that isoflavones don’t help prevent breast, uterine or prostate cancer. Results were mixed on whether soy prevented postmenopausal bone loss.

Based on its findings, the committee said it would not recommend using isoflavone supplements in food or pills. It concluded that soy-containing foods and supplements did not significantly lower cholesterol, and it said so in a statement recently published in the journal Circulation.

----------

My take:

This news regarding the lack of health benefits for soy, which is a legume, will be no surprise to paleolithic nutrition experts like Dr. Loren Cordain. He stated in his book, The Paleo Diet:

"My research group and I have recently published a paper in the British Journal of Nutrition describing our theory that dairy foods, grains, legumes, and yeast may be partly to blame for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases in genetically susceptible people. Legumes and grains contain substances called "lectins." These substances are a mixture of protein and carbohydrates that plants have evolved to ward off insect predators. Because of the carbohydrate portion of the lectin molecule, lectins can bind with almost any tissue in our bodies and wreak havoc-if they can enter the body, that is."

While there is disagreement over when legumes were first eaten in significant quantities by humans, there is general agreement that they were not a staple food during the Paleolithic era or before. Those who know and understand the history of the human diet know that foods like legumes that were not a major part of that diet for most of human history can predict that these foods will not found to be healthy and are likely to be eventually confirmed by studies to be somewhat or significantly unhealthy.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Eggs beat bagels in intake study

Metro Toronto, Canada
Lifestyle
Published January 12, 2006

... The American College of Nutrition is touting results of a study that found eggs are better than bagels at curbing the appetite.

...

The study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, found that eating two eggs for breakfast, instead of a small bagel, reduced hunger and caloric intake at lunch and over the next 24 hours.

Study participants received one of two breakfasts with the same caloric and weight value: the first group ate two scrambled eggs and two slices of toast with low-calorie jelly, while the second group ate a 3 1/2-in. bagel with cream cheese and a small container of fat-free yogurt. The results showed that the first group, who ate eggs, had an average 163 fewer calories at lunch that day. On average, over the following 24 hours, this group ate 418 fewer calories.

...
-----------------

My take: Not surprising, given that eggs are a natural, ancestral food, whereas bagels, cream cheese and yogurt are man-made inventions. The best chicken eggs available in stores today say "Omega 3" on the package--they are higher in healthy omega 3 fatty acids.