The latest news about sugar is right up there with the lies told by the tobacco industry for so long. Apparently, starting back in the 1960’s, the Sugar Research Foundation, has been influencing research regarding the relationship between sugar & heart disease. It has shifted the blame onto fat in the American diet. Research at that time was done by Harvard scientists but funded by the Sugar Research Foundation.
This is important news to me because it uncovers the following problems. First, how powerful specific food lobbyists are & how research can be funded by the very people who don’t want negative information on their product to come to light. The funding group is not always named on the research study, giving you the impression that it is an independent study. This is a good article by NPR, explaining the 1967 situation with sugar vs fat. 50 Years Ago, Sugar Industry Quietly Paid Scientists To Point Blame At Fat: “In the article, published Monday, authors Glantz, Cristin Kearns and Laura Schmidt aren’t trying make the case for a link between sugar and coronary heart disease. Their interest is in the process. They say the documents reveal the sugar industry attempting to influence scientific inquiry and debate.” This original study caused scientists & the American public to jump on the non-fat diet craze. We now know that this was a bad idea & that our body needs fat to function.
I think this new information shows us how important it is to not listen to everything said about what foods are “good” & what foods are “bad”. It is another case to back up the idea of a balanced plant based diet, indulging in favorite foods occasionally & in moderation, while choosing a healthy lifestyle. Overall this is the best way to build up your immune system to fight off diseases.
My old favorite, the Mediterranean Diet has been in the news again. An article by CNN states that Mediterranean diet may be more helpful than statins. “The observational study was presented at the European Society of Cardiology conference this weekend. It showed that the people who have had a history of cardiovascular disease and stuck closest to the diet had a 37% lower risk of death compared with those who didn’t stick with it.” The study went on to say that “The diet seems to do even better than one of the most prescribed options for people with heart problems: cholesterol-lowering statins. On average, statins reduce risk of heart problems about 24%, according to earlier studies. That means the diet looks like a real winner to help with heart health.” We can add that to the long list of health benefits.
This film explains why people are confused about the Mediterranean Diet. Unlocking the secrets of the Mediterranean diet : “In his new film, The Big Fat Fix, consultant cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra argues that the Mediterranean diet has been “hijacked” by low-fat fanatics trying to convince us that swapping fat for carbohydrates such as bread, pizza and pasta is what it’s all about. “This simply isn’t true,” Dr Malhotra says.
Traditionally in the Mediterranean, foods such as pizza were reserved for special occasions and pasta was eaten as a modest starter, often piled with vegetables. “The key components of a Mediterranean diet are lots of vegetables, olive oil, oily fish and nuts, with no calorie restrictions,” Dr Malhotra says. “Combine that with cutting down on sugar, which was traditionally a rarity in the region, and you’ve got the base of the Mediterranean diet right. And if you get the base right you can eat a little of whatever else you like.” As much as I would love to have pizza every night, using the guidelines below will help to get it right.
I have realized, from the emails I receive, that there is some confusion surrounding what the Mediterranean diet is & how to apply it. I found the following information to be quite useful.
How To Nail the Mediterranean Diet
- Veg: at least 2 servings every meal
- Fruit: 1-2 servings every meal
- Wholegrain cereals: 1-2 servings every meal
- Olives, nuts and seeds: 1-2 servings every day
- Extra virgin olive oil: every meal
- Dairy: 2 full-fat servings daily
- Eggs: 2-4 servings per week
- Legumes: at least 2 servings per week
- Fish/seafood: at least 2 servings per week
- White meat: 2 servings per week
- Red meat: no more than 2 servings per week
- Processed meat: no more than 1 serving per week
- Wine: 1 glass per day for healthy women and 2 glasses for healthy men, with meals
- Desserts: no more than 2 servings per week
Source: the Mediterranean Diet Foundation
Serving sizes are confusing too. This is a list I shared in a past Blog.
Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta Group: 6-11 servings per day. Serving sizes:
- 1 slice of bread.
- 1/2 cup of cooked cereal such as Oatmeal.
- 1/2 cup cooked pasta.
- 1/2 cup cooked rice.
- 1 cup of dry, prepared cereal such as Whole Grain Flakes.
Vegetable Group: 3-5 servings per day. Serving sizes:
- 1/2 cup chopped raw or cooked vegetables.
- 1 cup of leafy raw vegetables.
- 1 small baked potato.
- 1 medium tomato.
- 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce (meatless).
Fruit Group: 2-4 servings per day. Serving sizes:
- 1 piece of fruit or melon wedge.
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) of fruit juice.
- 1/2 cup of canned fruit.
- 1/4 cup dried fruit.
- 1/2 grapefruit.
- 1/2 cup of berries.
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dried Beans, Eggs & Nuts Group: 2-3 servings per day. Serving sizes:
- 2 1/2 – 3 ounces of lean meat, poultry or fish.
- 1 egg.
- 1/2 cup cooked beans.
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter = 1 ounce of meat (1/3 of a serving).
- 1/3 cup of nuts.
- 1/2 cup of tofu.
Milk, Yogurt & Cheese Group: 2-3 servings per day. Serving sizes:
- 1 cup (8 ounces) milk or yogurt.
- 1 1/2 -2 ounces of most cheese.
- 1/2 cup of cottage or ricotta cheese.
- 1/2 cup ice cream or frozen yogurt.
Fats, Oils & Sweets: use sparingly/in moderation. Examples:
This link is my all time favorite. Oldways has a Guide to the Mediterranean Diet that is amazing. Here is what it contains:
- Understanding the Pyramid Find out how each section of the pyramid contributes to the healthfulness of the Mediterranean Diet pattern of eating.
- The Science Behind the Diet Understand the Body-Diet connection by exploring the scientific research behind the many incredible benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.
- Facts and Common Myths Get the facts and avoid the misconceptions about the Mediterranean Diet.
- Mediterranean Diet All-Stars Discover the nutrition powerhouses naturally found in the Mediterranean Diet.
- Make it Your Diet Tips for developing healthy eating habits for you and your whole family.
- Set Up Your Kitchen Stock up on key Med ingredients and keep them within easy reach.
- Olive Oil 101 Get to know this key Mediterranean ingredient.
- Healthy New Habits Discover new worlds of flavor, while you update your favorite recipes.
It is worth printing it out & at the very least, bookmarking it on your computer.
For those of you who were fortunate to be a part of the San Diego Cancer Research Institute’s free clinic, when it was open, will not be surprised by the following review.
NIH review finds nondrug approaches effective for treatment of common pain conditions “Data from a review of U.S.-based clinical trials published today in Mayo Clinic Proceedings suggest that some of the most popular complementary health approaches — such as yoga, tai chi, and acupuncture — appear to be effective tools for helping to manage common pain conditions. The review was conducted by a group of scientists from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health.
The review focused on U.S.-based trial results on seven approaches used for one or more of five painful conditions — back pain, osteoarthritis, neck pain, fibromyalgia, and severe headaches and migraine — and found promise in the following for safety and effectiveness in treating pain:
- Acupuncture and yoga for back pain This is true of most pain.
- Acupuncture and tai chi for osteoarthritis of the knee
- Massage therapy for neck pain with adequate doses and for short-term benefit Choose an oncology certified massage therapist. Our Dana Wylie also does lymphatic drainage.
- Relaxation techniques for severe headaches and migraine. Energy work, meditation, mindfulness, & art.
It is always good to have a study to back up what we have already observed 🙂 If you haven’t tried any of these modalities, you really should. Look at the Resource page on SDCRI’s website for therapists we have “vetted”, have experience with cancer patients & who are oncology certified. These modalities can & should be used to help with the side effects of your treatment. They can be safely used while undergoing radiation, & chemotherapy. This is why they are called complementary treatments 🙂
I hope you were able to try out some of the quick breads. I wanted to tell you that I made more zucchini bread from the recipe I shared last week: Dot Martel’s, or MOM’s, Zucchini Bread. This time I left out the nuts & raisins and added a cup full of shredded coconut. It was fantastic! Next time I will add date pieces along with the coconut. I have never found such a versatile recipe. Loving it!
I will be on vacation next week. Our next Blog Post will be October 3rd. Until then…Mary 🙂
- How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat by the New York Times
Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease ResearchA Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents: the JAMA Internal Medicine report.
What’s the Mediterranean Diet by FUNDACIÓN DIETA MEDITERRÁNEA Wonderful website with information about the diet. Click on Blog & you will find lots of recipes.