WWB WATCH: From Sizzle to Fizzle, New PURE Nutrition Study is Challenged by the Medical Community and Health Journalist. Why the Questions Raised Matters More than the Actual Study…

Sep 17, 2017 by

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While two deadly hurricanes captured our attention in the last tree weeks, there was a nutrition study called PURE stirring up an argument in the health and wellness community. To really get a good understanding of the study, you would have to read the study and the findings carefully, which most average working people don’t have the time to do, and are not trained to assess. This goes for the educated and the uneducated. Unless you are a nutritionist, doctor or scientist, you are not likely to immediately see the problems with a study of any kind.

Doctors, nutritionist and health journalist however, do take time to review new studies. What happens though, is the general media runs with the narrative the researchers provide, and create headlines that are provocative and at the same time misleading. The Pure Study came out of the gates with a very clear narrative, which was to challenge the definition of a healthy diet, and counter argue the wisdom of a primarily plant based driven diet. It is a complex study and this is a challenge when it gets released to the general public. I write all the time about the 3 minute news headlines that we see on the six o’clock news.  By the time this particular study was widely distributed, the headlines became “New Nutrition Study finds more fat in our diets maybe healthier for us.”.  What gets translated to an already obese society in the US and other western cultures is ” Yay, more cheese, butter and fat please!” If it sounds too good to be true, it is probably because it is not quite true!

Thankfully there are medical and nutrition experts out there, dissecting the data and research, and they remind us to ask the right questions. One of them is Dr. David Katz, the author of ‘Disease Proof’ and founder of the True Health Initiative. He tirelessly works to make sure we are understanding health research data that is often misconstrued and misrepresented. He also works hard to make sure we can find sound science based health wisdom, through his educational True Health Initiative non-profit. When you read his essays, you will have to wade through some of the academic language, but when you stick with him, you learn how to step back from a study, and have that ‘aha skeptical moment’ and realize the importance of ‘variables’ used in study methodologies. His review of the Pure Study is here.

“What, then, accounts for the strange reporting, implying that everything we’ve been told about vegetables, fruits, and beans is wrong? These benefits were “adjusted away” in multivariable models. When this method of statistical analysis was applied, the health benefit expressly attributable to VFL seemed to peak at about 3 servings per day. That, however, is fundamentally misleading- and the headlines, quite simply, were written by people who don’t have a clue what it really means.” ~Dr. David Katz

Beyond the actual raw data Dr. Katz  shares with us, you will also learn to ask the right questions. If you read along with Dt. Katz he will bring us back to a simple idea. There is enough science already pointing clearly to lifestyle habits and diets like the Mediterranean Diet ( already proven and thoroughly researched) to help support healthy living and improve longevity odds. More importantly, however different we may be as bio-individuals, most of the current lifestyle as medicine prescriptions available to us, can be practiced by many with personal tweaks based on their current health condition.

Another good analysis of the PURE study was made by Marion Nestle, author of many best-selling books like ‘What to Eat’. Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor, of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Emerita, at New York University, which she chaired from 1988-2003 and from which she retired in September 2017. You can learn a lot about Food Politics at her website by the same name. Again, many of us don’t have time to read all of this, but it doesn’t hurt to seek out good objective sources when you are considering your health, diet and wellness lifestyle. It just might take more than a 3 minutes news clip on the news or a small paragraph in a magazine on the news stand.  Marion Nestle concluded her overview of the study with these thoughts…

“This study confirms that the single most important risk factor for poor health is poverty. The study results are consistent with the idea that largely plant-based diets are good for health. No single study can settle the fat vs. carbohydrate debate because people eat complicated combinations of foods and diets containing those nutrients. What we really need are well designed studies of dietary patterns—the ones done to date suggest that largely plant-based diets are associated with excellent health and longevity. ~Marion Nestle

James Hamblin who is an MD and writer for the Atlantic also wrote a very good piece on the PURE STUDY  and reminds us of the huge ‘system’ we are caught up in today, when it comes to coverage of medical and nutrition research and our voracious appetite for new information. His headline was “New Nutrition Study Changes Nothing”.

“Neophilia is a problem for science, though. And especially the sort of science pertaining to nutrition. Demand for newness leads writers and publishers to focus on narratives that upend conventional wisdom. If new research doesn’t change or challenge the way readers think about the world, why is it a story worth publishing? Eggs are in, and now they’re gone. Butter? It’s back. Every six weeks, The New York Times is legally obligated to tell us either that breakfast isn’t important or that skipping it causes death.”~James Hamblin, MD

Finally if you would like a simple overview of the study, and a grounded response anchored in common sense and wellness wisdom, it would be worth reading the article shared at Oldways a nonprofit Inspiring Good Health Through Cultural Food Traditions.

“Once again, we’re back on the nutrition roller coaster, being told that a new study has suddenly reversed everything we thought we knew about healthy eating. But has it? To help you escape that queasy roller-coaster ride, Oldways looked behind the sensationalist headlines and scrutinized the actual findings of this study. Given those anti-carb headlines, what we found may surprise you!” ~Oldways

Oldways went on to share these 3 wise takeaways:

The bottom line is that what we knew to be true about healthy eating yesterday is still true today, so we’ll leave you with three pieces of advice:

  1. The experts still agree. In November 2015, Oldways brought together leading nutrition experts representing views from Paleo to Vegan at our Finding Common Ground conference. They all agreed that focusing on quality and variety is the key to eating well. This means choosing high-quality meat, fish, and/or beans and other protein sources instead of living on bologna and bacon; eating whole grains (especially intact grains) instead of refined grains and added sugars; enjoying a range of fruits and vegetables; and favoring the heathy fats found in nuts, avocados, fish, olive oil, and other foods.
  2. Use Carb Common Sense. Everybody needs carbohydrates. Avoiding carbs makes no sense – especially when you remember that fruits and vegetables are also made up primarily of carbohydrates. Check out the Oldways Whole Grains Council’s easy guide to Carb Common Sense, to steer smoothly through your carb choices.
  3. Eating should be a pleasure, not a math exam. We used charts and numbers to prove a point today, but we are not recommending you count grams of this or percents of that as you pick the foods you eat. Traditional diets, like those Oldways champions, can vary widely in their makeup and still support good health. Look for the highest quality you can afford (see #1 and #2), and the numbers will take care of themselves.

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Now for the Sobering Reality …Why the Questions Raised Matters More than the Pure Study

As for my headline, “Why the questions raised matters more than the study’, I believe we are becoming entrenched in an argument about diet that distracts us from a bigger conversation we need to be having about food. If all of this data I shared isn’t enough motivation to lean toward a conscious value driven diet (mostly plants) for your health, then maybe you haven’t been reading enough about the environmental crisis we are headed for if we don’t begin to look at sustainable ways of living. As Albert Einstein famously said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.

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What I find here at World Wise Beauty talking to experts from around the world, is everything is connected. The obesity crisis isn’t only related to our consumption of too much carbs, fat and protein. The health crisis has been accelerated by an industry of fast food, industrialized food manufacturing, and chemical laden ingredients that effect our chemistry and metabolism. The reason we are so obsessed about food, is because our supermarkets have been filled with ‘boxes’ of  food like ingredients and currently marketing themselves as low-fat, low carb, low sodium, sugar free and gluten free. In other words ‘health products’. Really? Yes.

But we can’t just isolate the processed food manufacturers, we also have to look at the social cultural context. We have to look at the cultural narrative in which marketers of processed food  and pharmaceutical drugs can thrive and exploit. Look at a basic commercial for arthritis pain depicting the hard-working man who does physical work and has to power through his day with a NSAID pill. He needs the quick fix. Also, look at the hard working couples who are raising several kids, and are barely making it on two salaries. They don’t necessarily have time to cook for their kids, so the inexpensive box of cereal or frozen food entree filled with either too much sugar of too much salt and a good dose of unrecognizable chemicals is the quick fix for their lifestyle. The ads for these products are feel good messages that make everyone from the parents to the kids feel good about their choices. These are all real examples of what a culture can manifest. Our culture is collective of values, (based on a number of socio-economic conditions) and maybe the hard bite to swallow, is we have been ‘buying into’ a ‘lifestyle’ that’s not sustainable for our health, our families and our planet.

As I write this piece, there was a front page NYT headline this weekend “How Big Business Got Brazil Hooked on Junk Food”. Sub header is ‘Planet Fat’ Nestle goes door to door.

“The new reality is captured by a single, stark fact: Across the world, more people are now obese than underweight. At the same time, scientists say, the growing availability of high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods is generating a new type of malnutrition, one in which a growing number of people are both overweight and undernourished. “The prevailing story is that this is the best of all possible worlds — cheap food, widely available. If you don’t think about it too hard, it makes sense,” said Anthony Winson, who studies the political economics of nutrition at the University of Guelph in Ontario. A closer look, however, reveals a much different story, he said. “To put it in stark terms: The diet is killing us.” ~NYT Article

When we think of Nestle we think of ‘cozy hot chocolate’ or chocolate chips for our homemade cookies. We also think about the nice, hard working people that work for these companies. We think about the philanthropy of these large corporations who give to various foundations ironically sometimes funding cancer research and diabetes ( an epidemic in our country). It is so hard to to question an industry and corporation that has been in our food culture for half a century. Yet, that old-fashioned company called Nestle is now a multi-national corporation and like any corporation their first priority is to please the shareholders. In order to do this,  their commitment is to sell more product, and this is regardless of the harm it may be causing. This is where our personal values come in. Is this okay? Are you okay with that?

Another example of ‘industry before health’ and particularly targeting women in our culture, is the cosmetic and personal care industries. The manufacture and safety of cosmetics and personal care products is regulated in many countries. In the European Union (EU) certain natural and synthetic cosmetic ingredients require approval of their safety. Banned substances are listed in the EU regulation No. 1223/2009 on cosmetic products (effective in 07/2013), which does also include the ban of animal testing for cosmetic ingredients and finished products too. We have no such safety standard here in the U.S. Just another illustration of where our values are at. So they keep manufacturing makeup made of chemicals that can contribute and cause some cancers, and we keep using them, mostly because many of us are unaware.

“Does this mean that to be for health and wellness of our people we have to be against capitalism? Of course not! Just look at the millennials creating new businesses today. They are creating companies with sustainable practice and philosophy baked into their business modalities.” ~Laura Connolly, Founder of World Wise Beauty & Rise of Wise presents

I recommend you read the NYT article so you can step back objectively, and look at what has happened to our culture, and why we have such a health crisis on our hands today. I would also remind you that demonizing one company is not the point. I think we have to re-imagine food systems, and change the cultural narrative of “industry before the health of a society and the planet”. If you keep hearing experts say “it’s not sustainable’ it’s because it is not. We are left with a health crisis in our society and a health crisis of our planet because the fast cheap food systems ( among other things) is harming the soil, air and water we rely on to LIVE. That’s it in a nutshell. It’s not about being a capitalist or a socialist which is a narrative deliberately spread, so we don’t focus on what matters,–the health and well-being of our families.

So maybe the first question we all ask ourselves is ‘What matters?’ Maybe if we started out with a value driven business idea, before an ethically challenged profit motivated premise for a business, we can begin to build a true wellness culture. Label it whatever you like, but ethics and values do matter, and there is no amount of wealth to sugar coat the damage and harm a corporation can do to a culture, when there is no value system but ‘more profit’ at the center of it’s reason for being.

To leave you with an encouraging thought, here is a wise bite from another important respected voice in wellness culture Paul Hawken

“If you look at the science and you’re not pessimistic, in a sense you don’t understand it,” Hawken says in a slow, unwavering voice. “But if you look at the people who are addressing the problem at hand and don’t feel hopeful, then you don’t have a pulse.”~Paul Hawken, talking to MindBodyGreen

 

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WWB WATCH: May, Could, Might? Why Recent Research on Coffee & Media Headlines Confuse Us…

Jul 13, 2017 by

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Did you hear about the latest research on coffee? How did you miss it? It was the perfect story for all media outlets to cover this week and boy did we need some uplifting news this week in our country! Look at all the coffee buzz in the media in just two days…

  • Coffee May Help You Live Longer, Study Finds. New research from the largest study of its kind shows that coffee may help you live longer
  • Coffee drinkers live longer, according to two large-scale studies released Monday that add to extensive research indicating coffee consumption
  • Put the kettle on – two new studies have indicted that drinking coffee helps … This latest research is just the latest in a slew of reports about the
  • Pour another cup–coffee lowers disease risk
  • Coffee drinkers are waking up to some good news Tuesday after new research suggests that a cup of joe a day could keep the doctor away

I left out the media sources because I am not here to pick on individual media companies. This is breaking research news and it’s about the fuel that probably 80% of us drink to get our engines going in the morning. Coffee and the caffeine in it, is our legal drug, and like wine it is steeped in cultural rituals for so many of us. So this research about coffee is not just news, it’s happy news! But we still need to think and pause…

This research story is yet another example of how we get tangled up in the complicated ‘web’ of health studies. Butter is bad, now it’s good! Coffee is bad and may contribute to heart disease, now it may contribute to longevity and lower disease risk?  I’m not a doctor and I am not going to challenge the research from a medical perspective. I can tell you I read a lot of these research findings reports and consume quite a bit of health news. Here is what I see time and time again, and it’s important to point it out these three encouraging but also dangerous words…may, could and might.
The story I personally read on the coffee research this week came from Medical Daily. Their headline read “Your Daily Coffee Could Help You Live Longer.” I mention MD only because I am focusing on language used by the research authors and the publication’s copy. Many of the other media outlets used the same language.
Here is the sub-header following their big headline…”If you’re a regular coffee drinker, a new study might brighten your day. Researchers have found that consuming the popular beverage may increase longevity, and it doesn’t even need to be caffeinated.”

 

The lead photo for this story was this one, with a tagline that read “Researchers say that drinking one cup of coffee per day could lower the risk of death…

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Now that’s a happy story! One cup of coffee a day may save you from the risk of death! Wow, very powerful! Let’s not only drink more coffee, but also invest in Starbuck’s stock if we haven’t already!

This Medical Daily report does highlight the benefits and risks of drinking coffee and points to previous negative research about coffee. There is balance, which I always seek when reading reports on research findings. Throughout the piece you will find…yes, three words–may, could and might buried in the headlines and the happy picture of coffee. These important words get lost. If we all took the time to read the entire story we would would also find this interesting statement from the lead study author…

“Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this ‘elixir effect,’ it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle.”

There’s that word ‘may’ again. I hate to break it to the researchers, but centuries of human culture has shown us that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle in moderation. What they didn’t know back then scientifically is that it can have adverse side effects for some people. Which brings me back to the concept of bio-individuality. Some people can eat loads of fat their entire lives and live to be 100, and others can’t and drop dead sooner. In comparison, some people can drink coffee at 10pm and go right to sleep, while others can’t drink it past 2pm without being up all night. With regards to the people eating lots of fat, what is often overlooked is the poor quality of life of people who are obese because of their diet and bad lifestyle habits. Everything gluttonous or in excess pays a price in health. We all seem to know this intuitively but just conveniently forget it.

The healers and philosophers of  ancient Greece knew that moderation was the prescription for  good health, and they also knew good sleep and regular exercise is important to longevity. It doesn’t get more simple than this, but we still look for a ‘magic elixir’ and hope it makes up for our neglect in one area or another. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in Super-Foods ( like coffee), because every culture has them and in some ways they compensate for other nutrients missing in their diets because of  factors like climate. I did a Q&A with the author of 30 Secrets of the World’s Healthiest Cuisines a few years ago, and the big takeaway is each of the world’s healthiest cuisines have a super-food and very specific lifestyle habits that contribute to their longevity. This book was published long before the Blue Zones Solution, which is also a good book on how many various lifestyle factors contribute to health and longevity. Both books confirm lifestyle matters my friends, and our diet is one very big part of our lifestyle.

So let’s be real about the research this week. We don’t know why coffee may help us live longer. We can however, identify healthy antioxidants and phenolic compounds in coffee, that we know can be good for preventing cancer. Avoiding cancer is one very effective way to achieve longevity!

It’s not that research shouldn’t be done, it’s not that we shouldn’t learn about the research findings, it’s just how we share the research, interpret the research, and use the research. The last paragraph of the Medical Daily story this week summed up the coffee research with this statement…

“Further studies are needed to gain a better understanding of how coffee might increase mortality. In the meantime, the researchers say that we should enjoy our daily cup of joe; it could be doing us the world of good.”

From everything I have read, the facts are, in moderation and in combination with other good lifestyle habits, coffee can’t hurt us, and it’s definitely a good jump starter in the morning for most of us.  It can hurt some of us with certain heart conditions, and for some it can also disturb chemistry, stomach linings, and our sleep. This much science has established. Does it contribute to living longer? May, could or might…

 

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WWB WATCH: Food As Medicine Rising Worldwide and International Conference ‘Food Values’ in Italy Sets the Stage…

Jan 10, 2017 by

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It is no accident that there are ancient health truths that still apply to modern day lifestyle and culture, because they are supportive of the sound fundamentals of human health and well-being. When you take away commercialism of wellness, you are left with ‘What Matters’. With all the diet trends going in and out of style, what if there was one ancient diet that most people around the world could live on? What if there was one diet that has been scientifically proven ( worldwide) to reduce heart disease and many cancers? Well guess what? There is one and it’s called the Mediterranean Diet. The science hasn’t gone away but perhaps the wisdom has…

If you have been paying attention to health and wellness news the last couple of years, you might be aware that we are having a health crisis. Yes, amongst other very important urgent issues in the world, health, diet and chronic disease is becoming a global challenge. Most of the challenges could be prevented with diet, and all them come back to cultural values that have somehow been thrown under the bus for the sake of industry. The good news is, there are a lot of value driven experts around the world who are scientist, doctors, and chefs coming together with a BIG mission.  The BIG mission is essentially to enlighten governments and people around the world with ideal ‘Food Values’. What are their ideal ‘Food Values’? Simply answered, they are centered around traditional healthy plant based diets. What does that sound like? Yes, it’s the Mediterranean Diet!  The Mediterranean diet has significantly reduced the increasing burden of chronic diseases associated with modern industrialized patterns of food production and consumption. Enter the worldwide WISE mission and an important conference to address our food and health crisis with real applicable solutions…

 

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International Conference ‘Food Values’ 

The Renaissance of the Mediterranean Diet and Significance for a 21st Century World
Casina Pio IV, Vatican City–14th February, 2017

World leading experts in nutrition, health and sustainability will gather under the patronage of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences next month to debate the urgent need for policies to be adopted which encourage more traditional diets.

 

Mons. Marcelo SANCHEZ SORONDO, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City

 

Scientific committee

Dr. Simon POOLE, MD – Author and Commentator, Cambridge, UK

Dr. Paolo PASQUALI – Mugello Cradle of the Renaissance, Vicchio, Florence, Italy

Prof. Francesco SOFI, MD, PhD – University of Florence, Italy

Organizing committee

Dr. Monica DINU, MSc – University of Florence, Italy

Dr. Giuditta PAGLIAI, MSc – University of Florence, Italy

Prof. Francesco SOFI, MD, PhD – University of Florence, Italy

Mons. Marcelo SANCHEZ SORONDO, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City

 

casinopio4Professor Francesco Sofi, one of the organizers from the University of Florence stated ” We are privileged to host in such auspicious surroundings luminaries including Dr. David Katz of Yale University and the True Health InitiativeGreg Descher of the Culinary Institute of America, world famous London based patron Giorgio Locatelli and other representatives if scientific institutions and NGOs with particular interests in the environment and in nutritional education.

The guests attending the conference will comprise politicians and representatives of the world of science, food and the media”

 

 

dkatz-380x250” There are real fundamentals truths about a dietary pattern that is pleasurable, healthful, and sustainable, relevant all around the world.” said Dr. David Katz speaking at the conference as President of the True Health Intiative. “It is a great privaledge to deliver the details of that message at such a rarified gathering.”

 

 

Now maybe you can’t attend the conference in Vatican City but you can access the science and values via the True Health Initiative and the many experts around the world who have tirelessly been working on getting this message to you. Their mission is “Lifestyle is Medicine’, and they are are a coalition of health experts from around the world, committed to educating on the proven principles of lifestyle as medicine. In other words you can prevent chronic disease with good sound healthy habits and there is rock hard science to prove it. Food is a big part of your lifestyle and we don’t have to be in a crisis if we listen to wisdom that has history going back to the beginning of time. We have the wisdom but the question is… do we respect ourselves and value our health enough to listen to it?

 

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Dr. Simon Poole, a cambridge based physician and part of the scientific committee said of the conference…

 

simon “We must re-evaluate the value we place on our food, recognise the appalling cost of convenience and the effect it is having on levels of obesity and ill health, and rediscover our cultural links with food production and consumption.

The conference will seek to produce an action plan for governments to educate, promote and if necessary legislate to change the paradigm of diet and nutrition in the 21st Century, aligning policies with food literacy and health in a sustainable environment”

 

What Matters? Your health and the health of the planet. This important conference will hopefully accelerate the urgent idea that wellness values and culture matter. And food is the perfect place to start…

 

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WWB WATCH: Sunbathers Live Longer? Beyond the Headlines…One Doctor Shows Us How Research is Tricky

Jun 8, 2016 by

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There is nothing like that feeling of elation when you read a headline that says ‘Sunbathers Live Longer’. This one is right up there with studies that present the health benefits of chocolate and wine! Would love to have more of all of them! It turns out there is some truth to the research on all three, but there are many caveats that need to be understood. Unfortunately those caveats are not shared in a quick news story or soundbite on the nightly news. I share these reports when I can, because wellness culture depends on sound health information being dispersed fairly to the people. Science and research matters, but often the full study and all it’s data is not shared across media channels.

I found the following research report on ‘sun-bathing’ shared by a doctor on the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine newsfeed, and was relieved that the doctor writing revealed the questions and issues with the findings. I am sharing this as an example, of how ‘health headlines’ can be distorted and misleading, if we don’t have the proper interpretation of the studies data. How many of us have the time to read beyond the headline? I would say we must, if we are going to embrace anything that relates to our health and well-being.

When it comes to your health, you always have to consider your own bio-individuality, genetic profile and lifestyle. The takeaway is not that the study is useless, rather we must always look at the complete ‘contextual’ frame of the study. Here is a quick cheat-sheet on the ‘sun-bathing’ study. See full article below this post. Remember like almost anything in life, moderation is probably the wisest mode of operandi. Enjoy the sunshine!

1-The Study did not include men and was conducted in Sweden. Sweden mattered to me because they actually don’t get as much sun as other parts of the world. Their needs for Vitamin D and supplementation might be higher. Doc didn’t mention this but I would consider it when reading. 

2-Even those with the greatest sun exposure only benefited from an extra 7 months to 2 years of life.

3- This study detected an association between sun exposure and a lower frequency of certain causes of death; however, that’s not the same as proving that sun exposure was the cause of longer life. For example, perhaps people with more sun exposure tend to be more active, smoke less, and have healthier diets.

 

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Sunbathers Live Longer?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications
Surprising, right? But that’s the conclusion of a new study that compared the life spans of many people with varying amounts of sun exposure. They found that among nearly 30,000 women in Sweden, who were each monitored for about 20 years, those who spent more time in the sun actually lived longer and had less heart disease and fewer non-cancer deaths than those who reported less sun exposure.

Can the sun extend your life?

With summer just around the corner, this news is timely — and a great excuse to get out of the house or office and soak up some sun. But there are some important caveats about this research:

*Deaths due to cancer were more common among those who spent more time in the sun (The authors suggest that the higher probability of being diagnosed with cancer among the sun worshippers was because they were surviving longer and not dying as often of other causes)
*The impact of sun exposure on longevity was relatively small. Even those with the greatest sun exposure only benefited from an extra 7 months to 2 years of life.
*This study detected an association between sun exposure and a lower frequency of certain causes of death; however, that’s not the same as proving that sun exposure was the cause of longer life. It could turn out that there is another explanation for these results that has little to do with sun exposure itself. For example, perhaps people with more sun exposure tend to be more active, smoke less, and have healthier diets. The researchers tried to account for other factors such as these in their analysis, but it’s always possible that something important was overlooked.
*The reason why more sun exposure might prolong life or prevent heart disease deaths could not be determined by this study. Because the sun’s UV light triggers chemical reactions in the skin that lead to the production of vitamin D, it’s possible that vitamin D is responsible for the health benefits of sun exposure described in this study. And that could mean vitamin D supplements would promote longer life free of heart disease, even without sun exposure. However, that’s only speculation and prior studies have not been able to prove this.
*The study did not include men. The impact of sun exposure could be quite different among men.

Before you ditch the sunscreen and head for the beach…

While there is some uncertainty about the overall importance of this study, one thing is for sure: when it comes to the impact of sun exposure on health and disease, the findings of this new report won’t be the last word. There are competing risks linked to sun exposure: skin cancer and other skin damage are clearly a risk; but there may be health benefits as well (as suggested by this study). Since this type of study cannot determine the exact reason that those with more sun exposure lived longer, we’ll need more research to sort out just how much sun exposure is best.

The authors of this study speculate that recommendations to limit sun exposure might actually do more harm than good; in fact, they suggest that avoiding the sun could have a negative health impact similar in magnitude to smoking. That’s quite a statement!

In my opinion, that kind of declaration is premature and overstates what we can conclude from this type of research. After all, there are plenty of examples in which retrospective studies like this one (that is, those that ask people to think back and self-report their experiences with an exposure or treatment) turned out to be completely wrong. Routine hormone replacement therapy for perimenopausal women is one of the most dramatic and recent examples. Let’s not make sun exposure the next one.

 

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WWB WATCH: Federal Report Finds Plant Based Diet is Best and 5 Habits You Can Learn From a Vegetarian

Apr 7, 2015 by

WWB WATCH! Well there it is…a Federal Report to confirm plant-based diets are healthier than most others. Below you will find an overview from Forks Over Knives. The finding from the government is not a new revelation and the research to substantiate this fact has been piling up for the last twenty years. At World Wise Beauty, I have talked to expert chefs, nutritionist and medical doctors ( visit the Healthy Epicurean section and the Wise Guru section) and most of them, even when promoting a Paleo diet ( protein driven diet) promote a balanced eating ratio comprised of both protein and complex carbohydrates. Older cultures around the world have always had this figured out, because they are living more intimately with the land, and are eating what is available to them in their region. Industrialized farming and the advent of manufactured/processed food sent us down a very unhealthy path and we’re going to have to make a conscious effort to turn this around. The news headline below says ‘meat industry’ not happy and of course they wouldn’t be, but we cannot let ‘industry’ determine the state of our health and well-being. Just look at the committee’s findings on the ‘Standard American Diet’ in the report below and you will want to start questioning the sources of your food.
For all you meat eaters, don’t panic! I always quote Michael Pollan when he advises ‘eat real food, not too much, mostly plants’. The oldest cultures in the world have been eating ‘moderately’ ( meat is the ‘treat’ and always small portions) for centuries and they also just happen to boast the most centenarians ( people living 100 years+). I have experimented with semi-vegetarian diets for some time now, so here are five healthy habits you can learn from vegetarians.
  • Make Vegetables the Main Attraction: Fitting in just one additional portion per day can slash your risk of heart disease by as much as 11%, and making veggies the star of your plate can lead to a myriad of benefits like beautiful skin. Are you following my Beauty Food of the Week in the ‘Gleam’ section of this blog? From today on, when choosing what’s for lunch or dinner, select your veggies to start, then add lean protein, good fat, and healthy starch to round out your meal.
  • Choose Plant Based Fats Over Animal Fats: Plant-based fats have been shown to reduce inflammation, a known trigger of premature aging and diseases, including obesity, and even help boost weight control. We all love creamy sauces that are usually laden with dairy and butter but maybe this can be a treat vs. an everyday cooking approach. Vegetarians saute vegetables in olive oil and dress veggies with balsamic vinegar. They use avocado and guacamole instead of sour cream and use tahini ( sesame seed paste) and nut butters for many of their dishes. I can personally tell you there are endless things you can do with an avocado and it’s always yummy!
  • Spice Up Your Cooking: Don’t forget to play with your spices! That fabulous Thai restaurant you treat yourself to is all about the spices! Make spices a ‘staple’ in your kitchen. One of my favorite ‘healthy epicurean’ chefs is Shelley Alexander of Harmony Healing and she always has fun with spices! And if you really want to explore the world of spices, the spice bible I highly recommend is ‘Healing Spices’  How to Use 50 Everyday and Exotic Spices to Boost Health and Beat Disease by BharatB. Aggarwal, PhD. I refer to this book all the time and I love learning about the healing aspects of the spices I use!
  • Make ‘Pulses’ Your Protein: Yes that would be your beans, peas and lentils! And the best part is that numerous research studies have determined that eating more of them will help you drop the pounds! In addition to providing protein, pulses are rich in filling, blood-sugar regulating fiber, as well as resistant starch, a unique kind of carb that’s been shown to naturally up your body’s fat-burning furnace. Pulses also pack antioxidant levels that rival berries, and they’re satisfying without making you feel sluggish. Try serving up a Mexican dish or Mediterranean dish on Fridays. For great recipes I love the Healthy Voyager’s website because I feel like I travel the world  perusing all the delicious recipes.
  • Snack on Plants! Many vegetarians make whole, plant-based foods their focus at snack time. Great options are raw veggies with hummus or guacamole, fresh fruit with nuts, seeds or nut/seed butter, or a smoothie made with a plant-based “milk” (like almond or coconut) with fruit, leafy greens, and a plant-derived protein powder, such as pea or hemp. Even  choosing dark chocolate over milk chocolate boosts your antioxidant intake!
Enjoy and no matter what you call yourself ( flexitarian, omni-carnivore, vegetarian, pescetarian, or vegan) eat to live and thrive in a long happy life! I like to call myself a ‘Healthy Epicurean’! Sounds so much more enjoyable…don’t you think? 😉
~Truly Herself, Lauroly
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POSTED ON APRIL 6, 2015 IN WELLNESS Forks Over Knives
Federal Report Finds Plant-Based Diet Is Best; Meat Industry Is Unhappy

 

Last month, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee issued its newest recommendations on what Americans should be eating. For the first time, the committee concluded that a diet higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods is both healthier and better for the environment. Their official recommendations stated that a healthy dietary pattern is “higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains” and “lower in red and processed meats.”

The 571-page report provides an in-depth look at what Americans are eating, and states that “the quality of the diets currently consumed by the U.S. population is suboptimal overall and has major adverse health consequences.”

The committee found a large gap between a healthy diet and the standard American diet: “On average, the U.S. diet is low in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, and high in sodium, calories, saturated fat, refined grains, and added sugars.”

The Committee’s Findings on the Standard American Diet:

  • Roughly half of American adults have one or more chronic diseases related to poor diet and inactivity
  • Preventable diseases include cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers
  • More than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese
  • Nearly one-third of children are overweight or obese
  • Chronic diseases disproportionately affect low-income communities
  • Focus on disease treatment rather than prevention increases and strains health care costs and reduces overall health

For the first time, the committee also included environmental sustainability in its recommendations. They mentioned that a diet lower in animal foods is not only healthier, but is also better for the environment:

“Quantitative modeling research showed how healthy dietary patterns relate to positive environmental outcomes that improve population food security. Moderate to strong evidence demonstrates that healthy dietary patterns that are higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods are associated with more favorable environmental outcomes (lower greenhouse gas emissions and more favorable land, water, and energy use) than are current U.S. dietary patterns.”

The Meat Industry Is Unhappy

The beef and animal agriculture industries are upset, saying that an environmental agenda has no place in nutritional guidelines. The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) says the meat advice is “flawed” and “nonsensical,”and it even launched a change.org petition to urge people to protest the new dietary guidelines. The petition states, “Hot dog, sausage, bacon and salami lovers throughout the land stand together as Americans in favor of a balanced diet that includes meat and poultry of all kinds.”

The Panel Welcomes Public Comments

The federally appointed panel is made up of nutritional experts, and their recommendations help to put policies in place that will help Americans eat healthier. They help set standards for school lunches, food stamp programs, and other programs for children and pregnant women.

They invite the public to submit written comments until May 8, 2015.

Sources:
http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/
http://thehill.com/regulation/237767-vegan-diet-best-for-planet-federal-report-says
http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Markets/Meat-Institute-slams-flawed-DGAC-Dietary-Guidelines-report
http://www.newser.com/story/205021/meat-industry-fumes-over-federal-report-touting-vegan-diet.html

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WWB Culture Wise News: France law bans ‘too skinny’ models and the fickle world spins ‘ideal beauty’ once again…

Apr 5, 2015 by

 

Did you hear the news? France passed a law officially banning too skinny models! See article appended below for more details. I personally think it’s a positive law and encourages wellness culture but I also think there is a bigger problem lurking behind this issue. I believe it is the glorification of ‘one beauty type’ and how different cultures create fetish like obsessions over ‘body type and ideal beauty’.  When World Wise Beauty debuted, I explored how culture is ‘fickle’ and how ideal beauty changes with each decade and in different countries. You can see in the photo strip above how the ideal body type was very different in just three decades. It went from very voluptuous to straight boyish skinny shapes. The fact is like nature itself we women come in all different sizes and sometimes depending on the ‘culture’ there is a more common desirable body type. I thought Miss Piggy had to included in the beauty romp because she is most definitely ‘comfortable in her own skin.’! lol

What went wrong with the American culture and the fashion world at large is we became obsessed with the ‘skinny’ type as if it was the only ideal. We also elevated celebrity and fashion models as ‘ideal beauty’ through our growing media consumption. Ironically this occurred just when American society started to face that we as a people were becoming increasingly ‘overweight’ and sick to boot! In some sense there was  ‘perfect storm’ brewing and let’s just say it wasn’t ‘pretty’.  Our narcissistic society now focused on one very limited ideal beauty and body type and directly contributed to young girls and woman developing anorexia disorder. The picture just got uglier because as we saw young girls with tendencies for this horrible and deadly disorder, we also started to see young girls getting fatter and obese. What a strange juxtapostion of fantasy and reality. We can all agree that neither skinny anorexic or obesity is ‘ideal’ when it comes to health and wellness. But let’s not forget that some women are just naturally thin and or naturally plump and happen to be perfectly healthy. What determines this is their state of fitness and health.

It is a very complicated issue when we elevate an ideal beauty type, because the reality is there is no real ‘ideal’. Culture is a fickle thing and in today’s world it is mainly a bunch of fashionistas who are deciding what is ideal. Let us not forget they also take their cues from ‘the people’. The big booty phenomenon seemed odd at first, but is no surprise when you look at the demographics of many countries who have increasing ethnic populations and who also just happen to have ‘bigger booties’. Hooray! Finally after twenty years of the anorexic look we now are seeing shapely curvy women. But here we go again, because the fact is not everyone has a ‘big booty’. Plastic surgeons can fix that but does that really make sense?! Will we women ever be ‘perfect’ and comfortable in their own skin? Not if they can help it! Beware of advertising messages…

When I was growing up I pretty much had a figure like Cameron Russell ( above in black bikini) and I never dieted! It was just a number of factors that made me naturally thin. Genes, active lifestyle, and metabolism were all a part of it. I received such mixed messages about my body.  My Italian girlfriends envied me but many Italian men in my region would say “why don’t you put some meat on you!”.  I always envied my girlfriends with all the curves, while they were busy hating me for my long slender legs. What’s wrong with this picture? Within my regional area in NYC I wasn’t quite the ideal but that changed very quickly and even landed me in a model agency. The plot thickens because as I entered the modeling world, the ‘all american’ beauty ideal was changing. Models like Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Isabella Rossellini were skyrocketing. And along came Iman! Beauty became more ‘global’ and our ideas about classic beauty was changing. The world continues to spin and ‘beauty ideals’ will change with the wind. But who gets decide if you are beautiful or not? Here is the buried wisdom that most beauty magazines never want you to know. YOU DO! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and most definitely is exuded in the woman who is ‘comfortable in her own skin’. 😉

If you were more curvy, became skinnier or had longer legs would you then be more comfortable in your own skin?  Think about it and listen to an articulate, wise and honest model talk about the power of image and perception.  Open your mind instead of your eyes and hear what top model Cameron Russell has to say at TEDX talks.  Click on this link Looks Aren’t Everything!  and check out what she is wearing and not wearing–you will be surprised! Don’t forget to read the piece below on France’s new law, and tell me if you think we could ever adopt this law here in America! I love Miranda Kerr’s quote and as you know World Wise Beauty has been promoting flowers and inner beauty since it’s inception. There was a very good reason for it because real beauty in nature is found in its diversity. It’s a beautiful world because there is so much diversity and you my World Wise Beauty are part of a beautiful mosaic. Your ‘day’ is sure to come or maybe it past but if you keep following World Wise Beauty you won’t care not one bit, because you will be too busy living your happy life ‘comfortable in your own skin’.

Truly Herself, Lauroly

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FRANCE OFFICIALLY BANS TOO-THIN MODELS

Will other countries follow suit? Apr 3, 2015 @ 10:27 AM, Elle

 

Getty Image

This measure is part of a larger crackdown on the promotion of anorexia by President Francoise Holland: The second part of this law specifically targets pro-anorexia websites or any other sites that promote “excessive thinness by encouraging eating restrictions for a prolonged period of time, resulting in risk of mortality or damage to health,” incriminating those responsible with fines and jail time as well.

 France, of course, is not the first country to take this stance on super skinny models. Madrid’s regional government and Israel have imposed similar, BMI-based bans. In New York, Diane von Furstenberg and the CFDA released a list of model guidelines back in 2012, though these guidelines more publicly targeted age than thinness (aside from some suggestions of how to spot eating disorders among models). Now that France, which arguably rivals New York City as the world’s foremost fashion capital, has enacted these laws , will other countries follow suit?
From: ELLE
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