From the Harvard Gazette:
Research Also Shows People Who Eat Nuts Weigh Less
According to the largest study of its kind, people who ate a daily handful of nuts were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period than those who didn’t consume nuts, say scientists from the Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health.
Their report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine,contains further good news: The regular nut-eaters were found to be more slender than those who didn’t eat nuts, a finding that should alleviate fears that eating a lot of nuts will lead to overweight.
The report also looked at the protective effect on specific causes of death.
“The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29 percent in deaths from heart disease — the major killer of people in America,” said Charles S. Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber, who is the senior author of the report and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
“But we also saw a significant reduction — 11 percent — in the risk of dying from cancer,” added Fuchs, who is also affiliated with the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s.
Whether any specific type or types of nuts were crucial to the protective effect could not be determined. However, the reduction in mortality was similar both for peanuts (a legume, or ground nut) and for tree nuts — walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, and pine nuts.
Several previous studies had found an association between increasing nut consumption and a lower risk of diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, and diverticulitis. Higher nut consumption also has been linked to reductions in cholesterol levels, oxidative stress, inflammation, adiposity, and insulin resistance. Some small studies have linked an increase of nuts in the diet to lower total mortality in specific populations. But no previous research studies had looked in such detail at various levels of nut consumption and their effects on overall mortality in a large population that was followed for more than 30 years.
For the new research, the scientists were able to tap databases from two well-known, ongoing observational studies that collect data on diet and other lifestyle factors and various health outcomes. The Nurses’ Health Study provided data on 76,464 women between 1980 and 2010, and the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study yielded data on 42,498 men from 1986 to 2010. Participants in the studies filled out detailed food questionnaires every two to four years. With each questionnaire, participants were asked to estimate how often they consumed nuts in a serving size of one ounce. A typical small packet of peanuts from a vending machine contains one ounce.
Sophisticated data analysis methods were used to rule out other factors that might have accounted for the mortality benefits. For example, the researchers found that individuals who ate more nuts were leaner, less likely to smoke, and more likely to exercise, use multivitamin supplements, consume more fruits and vegetables, and drink more alcohol. However, analysis was able to isolate the association between nuts and mortality independently of these other factors.
“In all these analyses, the more nuts people ate, the less likely they were to die over the 30-year follow-up period,” explained Ying Bao of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, first author of the report. Those who ate nuts less than once a week had a 7 percent reduction in mortality; once a week, 11 percent reduction; two to four times per week, 13 percent reduction; five to six times per week, 15 percent reduction; and seven or more times a week, a 20 percent reduction in death rate.
The authors noted that this large study cannot definitively prove cause and effect; nonetheless, the findings are strongly consistent with “a wealth of existing observational and clinical trial data to support health benefits of nut consumption on many chronic diseases.” In fact, based on previous studies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded in 2003 that eating 1½ ounces per day of most nuts “may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
The study was supported by National Institutes of Health and a research grant from the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation.
Nuts For Nutrition
Nut Butter Primer
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals the not so surprising result that whole grains in the diet reduce disease risk factors. One wonders why our food policies and agricultural subsidies promote disease over good health.
Background: Studies of whole grain and chronic disease have often included bran-enriched foods and other ingredients that do not meet the current definition of whole grains. Therefore, we assessed the literature to test whether whole grains alone had benefits on these diseases.
Objective: The objective was to assess the contribution of bran or cereal fiber on the impact of whole grains on the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), obesity and body weight measures, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in human studies as the basis for establishing an American Society for Nutrition (ASN) position on this subject.
Design: We performed a comprehensive PubMed search of human studies published from 1965 to December 2010.
Results: Most whole-grain studies included mixtures of whole grains and foods with ≥25% bran. Prospective studies consistently showed a reduced risk of T2D with high intakes of cereal fiber or mixtures of whole grains and bran. For body weight, a limited number of prospective studies on cereal fiber and whole grains reported small but significant reductions in weight gain. For CVD, studies found reduced risk with high intakes of cereal fiber or mixtures of whole grains and bran.
Conclusions: The ASN position, based on the current state of the science, is that consumption of foods rich in cereal fiber or mixtures of whole grains and bran is modestly associated with a reduced risk of obesity, T2D, and CVD. The data for whole grains alone are limited primarily because of varying definitions among epidemiologic studies of what, and how much, was included in that food category.
By Eduardo Castro, MD
Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic. It used to be called Adult Onset Diabetes, but so many children now have this form of diabetes that it made no sense to call it an adult illness.
Briefly, diabetics have high levels of glucose in their blood. Type I diabetics do not produce insulin while Type 2 diabetics’ tissues become resistant to insulin. Insulin is the hormone produced in the pancreas that allows glucose to enter the cells from the bloodstream. In Type 1 there is no insulin and in Type 2 there is plenty of insulin but it is not working well enough.
Type 2 diabetics are at a considerably increased risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, blindness, kidney failure, and Alzheimer’s disease. Type 2 diabetics fill intensive care unit beds and get most of the bypass surgeries, kidney transplants, and amputations that are done each year.
One would think that the medical establishment would give considerable thought to treating this major killer and mammoth drain of health care dollars. But that does not appear to be the case.
Conventional medicine treats Type 2 diabetes the same way they treat Type 1: a disease of elevated glucose levels. That is only half of the picture. Indeed, elevated glucose levels must be controlled or it damages tissues and leads to death. But Type 2 diabetes is also a disease of elevated insulin levels. It is the elevated levels of insulin that cause hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, obesity, and excessive inflammation that lead to the above mentioned diseases.
Insulin resistance is caused by a diet that is too high in sugars and in carbohydrates. It can occur on a continuum anywhere from mild to severe, and it is usually progressive. The reason that insulin resistance worsens over time is that one’s pancreas will keep secreting insulin if glucose levels are elevated. As will be discussed in Part II, the greater the insulin level, the more the body becomes resistant to its effects. But that means that more and more insulin must be produced to bring glucose levels down.
A person is diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes when the maximum amount of insulin production does not lower blood glucose sufficiently.
Anyone with insulin resistance has elevated insulin levels, not just Type 2 diabetics. Pre-diabetics do, and even pre-prediabetics as well.
Problems from Elevated Levels of Insulin
In addition to sending glucose into cells for energy production, insulin also directs the body to perform several other tasks:
- Make fat – especially triglycerides, but cholesterol production also increases
- Store Fat – around organs, called visceral fat (the worst fat)
- Store salt – elevates blood pressure
- Increase inflammatory activity – excessive inflammation is the hallmark of coronary/cerebrovascular/peripheral vascular artery disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, autism, autoimmune disease, severe allergies, and it promotes cancer and asthma; excessive inflammation drives the chronic and degenerative disease of our age
The above problems are then treated with antihypertensives, statin drugs, stents, coronary bypass surgery, gastric bypass surgery, antiinflammatory drugs, bronchodilators, Viagra-type drugs, kidney dialysis, immunosuppressive drugs, amputations, and, of course, antidepressants.
The Biggest and Most Costly Error in Medicine in the 21st Century
As stated, conventional medicine treats Type 2 diabetes as a disease of elevated glucose levels. How are those folks treated? There are literally dozens of medications that lower blood glucose, but almost every one of the drugs do so by forcing a person’s pancreas to secrete even more insulin than it is able to do on its own, i.e., even higher insulin levels.
It is obvious that the resulting higher levels of insulin will lead to even more of the above insulin-driven processes, but that is not close to being the extent of the senselessness of the approach. The supra-physiologic levels of insulin also cause further havoc.
- Pancreatic cells that produce insulin are damaged
- The receptors on cell walls that read insulin begin to drop out
For many patients these lead to the need for injecting insulin, and because of the extreme degree of insulin resistance, the doses are not small.
The most unconscionable thing about the conventional approach to treating diabetes, however, is that Type 2 diabetes is a curable illness. As will be discussed in Part II, the body is not broken but simply attempting to respond to abnormal levels of insulin. The proper diet, exercise, one of the available diabetic drugs, specific nutrients, and time (it takes months to shift the vicious cycle of insulin resistance to a favorable cycle) lead to decreased insulin resistance. With persistence, the body’s sensitivity to insulin can improve to the point that not only is there no diabetes, but there is no insulin resistance.
There are some who have experienced so much pancreatic damage that they can only improve their condition, not cure, but they are in the distinct minority.
Blunder . . . or Ignoring the Obvious?
There is not a physician in the trenches treating Type 2 diabetes that can be held in any way accountable. The tools they are provided with in their training have the appearance of being the best that science has to offer: drugs that reduce symptoms. They are not taught how to promote health so it is not in their thinking.
On the other hand, how many corporate leaders, hospital CEOs, and junk food producers would rejoice in solving the Type 2 diabetes epidemic?
About Dr. Castro
Eduardo Castro, M.D. is the owner and Medical Director for the Mount Rogers Clinic in Troutdale, VA where he has worked for twenty years. Dr. Castro is the co-author of two books on neurofeedback with Robert Hill, PhD, Getting Rid of Ritalin and Healing Young Brains. He has just released his new book When Diets Work: Overcoming Fat Loss Resistance. For more information please visit: www.whendietswork.com
OSSINING, N.Y., Feb. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ —
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“The new approach shows how to apply research from several institutions,” he continues, “to help lower glucose levels and increase nitric oxide influx in the body safely. When combined with delicious low calorie meals, the results are phenomenal.”
- Lower blood sugar1 – helping people with type 2 diabetes and those who want to prevent it.
- Lower blood pressure and less arterial plaque accumulation – reducing heart disease risk.2
- Improved brain power – making sharper, more effective thinking easier.3
High Blood Glucose Increases Disease
Many studies link high blood glucose levels to increased risk for heart attack, stroke, senile dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and prediabetes.4 Calorie Restriction by itself does not guarantee lower blood glucose.
So LivingTheCRWay created the CR WAY TO GREAT GLUCOSE CONTROL, an adult education course integrating healthful exercise and stress relief with and delicious low-calorie, low-GI meal plans. Glucose control goals are provided for each part of the day so participants know what to aim for. The latest innovation to the GREAT GLUCOSE CONTROL program are suggestions for increasing nitric oxide since it helps lower blood sugar levels,1 improves heart health,2 and facilitates cognition.3
- Skeletal muscle nitric oxide signaling and exercise: a focus on glucose metabolism, McConell, et al,Am J Physiology. Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2012 Aug 1;303(3):E301-7. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00667.2011, PMID: 22550064
- Is sunlight good for our heart? Feelisch M, et al European Heart Journal. 2010 May; 31(9):1041-5.
doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehq069. PMID: 20215123
- Nitric oxide is a volume transmitter regulating postsynaptic excitability at a glutamatergic synapse. Steinert JR, et al, Neuron. 2008 Nov 26; 60(4):642-56.
doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2008.08.025. PMID: 19038221
- Guideline for Management of Post Meal Glucose. International Diabetes Federation, 2007, accessible at www.idf.org
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Vitamin D levels in obese children are significantly lower and associated with risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
Poor diet habits such as skipping breakfast and increased soda and juice intake were associated with the lower vitamin D levels seen in obese children.
– Author Affiliations
Departments of Pediatrics (M.L.O., J.D.O., P.C.W., M.R.H.) and Internal Medicine (N.M.M.), University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas
- Address correspondence to Michele R. Hutchison, M.D., Ph.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75390-9063. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to compare the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in obese and non-overweight children in North Texas, to examine relationships between dietary habits and 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] level in obese children, and to examine the relationship between 25(OH)D level and markers of abnormal glucose metabolism and blood pressure.
Patients and Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, dietary information, serum 25(OH)D, fasting glucose and insulin, 2-h glucose from oral glucose tolerance test, hemoglobin A1c, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance were recorded for 411 obese subjects (6â€“16 yr old) at an obesity referral clinic. 25(OH)D was also obtained from 87 control non-overweight subjects (6â€“16 yr old).
Results: Ninety-two percent of obese subjects had a 25(OH)D level below 75 nmol/liter, and 50% were below 50 nmol/liter. Among non-overweight subjects, these frequencies were 68 and 22%, respectively (both P < 0.01 compared with obese subjects). 25(OH)D was negatively associated with soda intake (P < 0.001), juice intake (P = 0.009), and skipping breakfast (P < 0.001). 25(OH)D was negatively correlated with homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (r = âˆ’0.19; P = 0.001) and 2-h glucose (r = âˆ’0.12; P = 0.04) after adjustment for body mass index and age but was not correlated with hemoglobin A1c, systolic blood pressure Z score, or diastolic blood pressure Z score.
Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency is common in children in this southern United States location and is significantly more prevalent in obese children. Lower 25(OH)D level is associated with risk factors for type 2 diabetes in obese children.
- Body mass index
- confidence interval
- diastolic blood pressure
- hemoglobin A1c
- homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance
- oral glucose tolerance test
- 25-hydroxyvitamin D
- systolic blood pressure.
- Received May 16, 2011.
- Accepted October 6, 2011.
- Copyright Â© 2012 by The Endocrine Society
Responses to this article
- Silva A. Arslanian and
- Javier de las Heras and Kumaravel Rajakumar
The importance of adjusting for abdominal adiposity when examining the relationship between 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and glucose homeostasis. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism published online February 25, 2012