Quick Bites

Three bites today.

Breast feeding seems to have long-term significant positive health effects in humans. American Indians and Alaska Natives have a higher incidence of obesity compared to non-Hispanic whites. Looking at those two factors, a published longitudinal study (looking at the same individuals for many years) found the those infants who were breast-fed for at least 6 months had lower levels of obesity in adolescence.


Annals of Internal Medicine published data from more than 27,000 people in one of our largest and longest studies in the US. Nutritional supplements were the focus. Most commonly consumed supplements were vitamins C, E and D and the minerals calcium, zinc and magnesium. The results indicated that for our two leading causes of death in the US (heart disease and cancer) nutritional supplements do not decrease one’s risk. One comical stat was that the people taking supplements were most often the ones who already achieved an adequate nutrient intake from food. Lycopene was a single exception and we’ll tackle that one in another Minute. But food first is the bottom line.


The Food and Drug Administration has taken out after companies claiming their brain supplements will “prevent, treat or cure” diseases including Alzheimer’s. And haven’t we been inundated with radio ads for pills that boost brain function? Maybe some day, but not today. Since supplements are not regulated, over-the-top claims are typical…until the feds step in. Better brains are aided by a healthy diet, exercise, sleep and adequate hydration. Not close to being news, right?

Eat a colorful diet to be well,




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Mixed Results

This week in class, we discussed the term and idea of “mixed results”. If we hear that multiple nutrition studies gave “mixed results” we can surmise that the nutrition treatment or modification or supplement had both positive and negative outcomes.

Critical readers examining that information will not make any changes because nothing definitive has been borne out.

A seminar I attended this week on the “leaky gut” had many rather exciting findings. It seemed as if the speaker recommended significant dietary changes in not only food but supplements. But after each finding and recommendation, she commented, “but study results are mixed”.

That was contrasted to a presentation by Walter Willett whom I heard earlier in the month. Not to be a fangirl but when Walter Willett talks, people listen.

Willett is an MD, PhD at Harvard who, for more than 40 years, has studied the diet, lifestyle and health of a lot of people. More than a quarter million subjects! Perhaps I should have mentioned that my leaky gut presenter offered many rat/mice study results.

But back to Willett. He is involved with the country’s largest and longest health studies ever conducted – first begun in 1976. Admittedly, these are observational studies as multi-decade randomized clinical trials would be impractical and frankly impossible.

When this group makes a proclamation about what we should or should NOT be eating or drinking, there are hundreds of thousands of US adults whose experience backs up the recommendations. If there is equivocation or “mixed results” there is no report.

One example of Dr. Willett’s recommendations was with regard to protein consumption. Decrease the incidence of coronary heart disease by substituting poultry or fish for that serving of red meat. It’s even more beneficial to eat nuts and beans occasionally as your protein. Not surprising.

Don’t rely on “mixed results” to be well,



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