August Nutrition Nuggets



Another interesting month for health news. I will start with one of my favorite fruits, the avocado. The other topics are high calorie foods & cancer; walnuts & weight loss; vitamin C & B; & a study on bright lights & breast cancer. I included two fantastic vegan recipes at the end of the post. 

 PIXABAY photo

Did you know that Americans eat about 2 billion pounds of avocados a year? Those of you living in San Diego know that estimate to be true 🙂 That is what the Hass Avocado Board claims. Here is a link to their website with wonderful avocado recipes: Avocado Recipe Collection

After eating the avocado, the seed & husk are usually tossed out. I know that our composting worms don’t like either of them. The seed did have its 15 minutes of fame a few years ago when health websites were telling people to put it in their smoothies. The Health Sciences Academy has a good article about the pits: Avocado Pits: Start or Stop Eating? 

What about the husks? Forbes: There’s An Untapped Wealth Of Useful Molecules In Avocado Seeds by Sam Lemonick, AUG 21, 2017 .  “It could very well be that avocado seed husks, which most people consider as the waste of wastes, are actually the gem of gems because the medicinal compounds within them could eventually be used to treat cancer, heart disease and other conditions,” said Bandyopadhyay, according to an American Chemical Society press release. Very interesting information. I like it when something most people consider a waste product is turned into something useful.

The idea that high calorie foods, such as those found in fast food, sugar laden sweets & fried foods like chips, would be linked to obesity linked cancer is a no-brainer. But what the study showed was that the risk they found was only in women of a normal weight or thinner who ate those kinds of foods regularly.

My takeaway from this study is that the quality of the foods you eat is most important. People who eat calorie dense, nutritionally deficient foods tend to eat fewer veggies, fruits, nuts & whole grains. As the lead researcher Cynthia Thomson, quoted in this story, mentions, “But, she added, being thin doesn’t mean you are “metabolically healthy” — which means having normal blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, for instance.” I knew a young aerobics teacher, back in the 80’s, who only ate Doritos & drank Tab. That was all she would eat because it kept her thin. She rarely ate a vegetable & I never saw her with a piece of fruit. The problem was, she was always tired & sick. 

Read the article: MedLinePlus: High-Cal Foods May Raise Cancer Risk in Women, Even Without Weight Gain: Plant-based diet could help avoid malignancies, study suggests, Thursday, August 17, 2017  A balanced, plant-based diet, is overwhelmingly the best diet for our health. Study after study has shown this. Yet people continue to dispute or ignore this information. 


I saw the following study in a number of articles in the health news. I decided to use it because it shows the problems with studies that get so much coverage. First of all, as you will see, the study was done with 10 obese patients. One dropped out, leaving the study size to be nine. Way too small to take any results seriously right now. Here is one of the articles: Walnuts May Help You Lose Weight By Controlling Your Mind, 

The next article is quite good because it is a rebuttal of the original story covered by the NY Times. Its main thrust is “incomplete & imbalanced journalism”. Interesting reading. Note the update at the end of the story: Update: This post originally stated that Kevin C. Klatt’s lab at Cornell has received funding from the California Walnut Commission. That was incorrect and the disclosure statement has been removed. Walnuts for weight loss? Times makes huge leap based on brain scans of 9 people, August 22, 2017

Researchers should be more transparent concerning who is paying for their research because if they aren’t, journalists can get it wrong. I think they owe it to the public as well. 

This site, California Walnuts, is all about walnuts & even has some wonderful recipes! Also check out this downloadable booklet; Simple Ways to Use Walnuts& this free e-book by Mollie Katzen; Mollie’s Favorite Walnut RecipesI didn’t know that walnuts could be used to thicken sauces 🙂

I have to say that I have been a Vitamin C fan since Linus Pauling’s day. This study is still at the “mice stage”, but it looks very promising. Vitamin C May Encourage Blood Cancer Stem Cells to Die, 08/18/2017, by NYU Langone Health 

Here is an excerpt from an explanation of the study & its conclusion. A must read if you are interested. PubMed Health: Vitamin C injections could play a role in treating blood cancers , Mon, 21 Aug 2017 “The study found that using high doses of vitamin C intravenously did in fact suppress the growth of leukaemia cancer stem cells in the mice.

Although this does pave the way for future therapeutic approaches, this study was very early stage research in mice, and therefore would require further investigation and trials in humans before any treatment based on the findings could be offered to patients.

Also, the dose used was far higher relative to weight, than would be safe in humans. It would be the equivalent of a human taking 300g of vitamin C, which would mean eating more than 5,000 oranges. So scientists would also have to find a way to lower the dose while achieving the same beneficial effect.” Wait for the human clinical trials before you jump on this one. Past research & studies that were promising on mice have failed to produce the same results in humans. 

This is an overview of High-Dose Vitamin C. NIH, National Cancer Institute: High-Dose Vitamin C (PDQ®)–Patient Version 

High doses of vitamin B tied to lung cancer risk, study says   August 23, 2017  This study found that men, taking individual dietary supplements of Vitamin B6 & B12, in very high doses & who are smokers, had a higher risk of lung cancer.

The study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology: Long-Term, Supplemental, One-Carbon Metabolism–Related Vitamin B Use in Relation to Lung Cancer Risk in the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) Cohort, Theodore M. Brasky, Emily White, and Chi-Ling Chen Conclusion: This sex- and source-specific association provides further evidence that vitamin B supplements are not chemo preventive for lung cancer and may be harmful.

The Business Insider says it well: We should never have told people to start taking vitamins, and new research linking one type to cancer shows why. By Erin Brodwin, Aug. 23, 2017, If you take high-dose vitamins please read this entire story. A low-dose multi-vitamin is usually safe to take without side effects. But even that depends on your health & on the manufacturer of your chosen brand. Look for vitamins that are less than 100% of the RDA.

Speak with your health care team before taking high-dose vitamins. I would recommend you tell them about any vitamins & minerals that you are taking.

We have discussed hormone disruptors before. This time researchers are looking at the disruption of melatonin by artificial light. This study is large, and it was based on the Nurses Health Study participants. How many of us are not exposed to artificial light, especially at night. I have 2 articles to share with you that I found very informative.

Exposure To Artificial Lighting Ups Risk For Breast Cancer19 August 2017, By Athena Chan, Tech Times It mentions that previous studies have shown a link between artificial light & prostate cancer. So it is not a gender issue. 

Harvard study strengthens link between breast cancer risk and light exposure at night  By The Associated Press

Should we go back to candlelight immediately? More research needs to be done but this study is very unsettling. 

 I want to end with links to my two, new, favorite vegan recipes. They are simple to put together & my family gave them both 5 stars. Of course I double the garlic in both. Enjoy!

Food Network: Tofu Spinach Dip My husband is a snacker. I try to have healthy dips for him to enjoy with whole grain sprouted crackers or whole grain sprouted breads. This one is very good & super healthy. It is especially good as a spread on sandwiches.

My daughter, Jennifer, was visiting this past weekend & she brought this vegan recipe for us to try. It was a big hit as a dip, sandwich spread & for pasta. I tossed it on roasted veggies. Sunflower Seed Pesto The recipe is from Plant Based on a Budget Take a look at her story & her wonderful website.

Next week I want to explore this huge new study that found “carbs are the problem, not fats”. Until next week then…Mary 🙂