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health expert Dr John

Weight Loss

  • Why you'd be NUTS to not eat nuts

    In my book, few things beat a fistful of nuts for a filling and delicious snack. And since they're packed with protein, good fats, and healthy fibre, nuts aren't just tasty, they're good for you, too.

    Now Harvard researchers say they're not just good for you, they could literally add years to your life.

    More on that exciting new finding in a moment, but first let's look at what we already know about nuts.

    Over three years ago, I told you about the humble walnut's apparent ability to reduce stress levels and lower blood pressuure. Volunteers who ate the nuts had improved blood pressure numbers during two different types of stress tests.

    In 2011, Tuft's University researchers revealed that nuts could help us control both blood sugar and cholesterol. When a group of type-2 diabetics was given a half-cup of mixed nuts daily for three months, it lowered both their blood sugar and bad cholesterol.

    And a more recent study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that snacking on walnuts could drive down a woman's diabetes risk by as much as 24 percent.

    Live longer and healthier with nuts

    In fact, at least 57 clinical trials have found that nuts may help protect you against heart disease, and a stack of others have linked nut eating with a reduced risk of cancer and diabetes. And with that kind of track record, it's really no surprise that yet another study has confirmed that one of my favorite snack foods is good for you.

    But what did surprise everyone--including those Harvard researchers, no doubt--was just how impressive the numbers that came out of this massive study were.

    The carefully designed study, which tracked 119,000 men and women over 30 years, found that those who ate nuts almost daily were an astounding 20 percent less likely to die from any cause during the three-decade long study.

    And the impressive nut news didn't stop there... not by a long shot.

    Regular nut eaters (seven or more times a week) had their risk of dying from heart disease plunge by an incredible 29 percent. They were 20 percent less likely to die from diabetes or lung disease. And their risk of dying from cancer dropped a healthy 11 percent.

    Eats nuts and weigh less

    Oh, and if you've been afraid to indulge in nuts because they're high in fat, I've got great news for you. The nut eaters stayed slimmer than the non-nut eaters!

    That's right, eating nuts will NOT make you fat, my friend.

    As I've explained before, nuts are rich in the good-for-you monounsaturated fats. Heck, even the very mainstream American Heart Association admits the kind of fats found in nuts are heart healthy and can help you reduce your cholesterol while lowering your risk for heart disease and stroke.

    And...you might want to sit down for this one... the usually clueless folks over at the FDA even stood up for nuts way back in 2003, when they recommended them as part of a diet to help reduce heart disease.

    Honestly, with results like these, unless you happen to be allergic to them, you'd have to be nuts to not include nuts in your diet.

    Solid research adds to the nut resume

    I do, however, need to mention two things about the Harvard study that you should keep in mind.

    First of all, while it was well-designed and solid, this was an observational study. And as I've explained many times before, observational studies can only show an association or connection between two things. They're not designed to prove cause and effect. (For instance, those nut eaters also ate more healthy fruits and veggies.)

    That doesn't erase any of the positives about nuts, but it's good to know.

    Second, the Harvard researchers made one HUGE misstep with their study. Unfortunately, they accepted some funding from the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation.

    Now don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against the Tree Nut Council folks. They run a fine non-profit organization. But once they forked over some money to Harvard it became much easier for naysayers to try to question the findings.

    Luckily, nuts already have a ton of solid research backing up their health value, so it's pretty clear that these latest findings--published in The New England Journal of Medicine--only add to that growing stack.

  • How skinny foods are making you fat

    Eating fat does not make you fat.

    Yeah, I said it. And what's more, I meant it, too.

    I can practically hear the howls coming out of the halls of the USDA... and the boardrooms of their best buds in Big Food... at such heresy. How DARE I deviate from the script!

    But it's the plain God's honest truth, and I'd shout it from the darn rooftops if I thought there was a snowball's chance in Hades that it would drown out the low-fat propaganda they've been shoving down our throats... and into our ballooning bellies... for years.

    But to be honest, I must admit that I'm a bit baffled.

    Go low-fat and get sicker and fatter

    You see, in my opinion it's practically a miracle that the ridiculous notion that good animal-based saturated fats... like the kind you'll find in a delicious steak or some tasty full-fat dairy... are bad for you have even survived this long. You only have to take a look around at our super-sized nation to figure out it's bogus.

    Here we are, living in the land of skim milk, Egg Beaters, and soy burgers, and yet we're getting sicker and fatter by the day. Our grocery store shelves are brimming with nothing-but-junk foods that are stamped "LOW-FAT!" and "FAT-FREE!" ... but meanwhile heart disease is killing us by the hundreds of thousands every year.

    Yet 100 years back--when you'd have been hard pressed to find a doctor who had ever treated a case of heart disease and medical books barely even mentioned the condition--we were fit as fiddles while we chowed down on real butter and real meat (cooked in lard or bacon drippings), and washed it down with real, farm-fresh, whole-fat milk.

    The fact is a diet high in animal fats... and the proteins that naturally go with them... induces weight LOSS. And not only that, scientists believe that dairy proteins in particular are insulinotropic, which simply means that they stimulate the production of insulin.

    Now I know what you're thinking, "Higher insulin levels are bad, right?" But in this case they can be a good thing, helping to balance out high glycemic meals that can send your blood sugar soaring. (Nature's kind of funny like that, giving us exactly what we need to be healthy, if we'd just quit thinking we know better.)

    But the buffoons in charge... and those holding their purse strings... insist that it's our fault that the Emperor has grown way too big for his britches. We're simply lazy, and eat too much fat. If we'd just adopt Meatless Mondays and switch to skim milk, we'd be skinny as rakes with hearts as healthy as a herd of horses.

    Yeah, right.

    Well, they might have a lot more cash and power than I do, but I've got something they don't have... and that's the truth AND the research to back it up.

    Stop fearing the fat

    For example, the huge study involving 49,000 women that proved in no uncertain terms that a tasteless low-fat diet didn't do a thing to prevent heart disease. In fact, the sad sacks who were forcing down low-fat meals didn't have any less strokes or heart attacks than their satisfied counterparts who ate more fat.

    And then there's the Australian study from a few years ago that found that people who were eating the most full-fat dairy had 70 percent less risk of dying of heart disease or stroke. Or the study last year that found that overweight adolescents given skim milk every day for 12 weeks got fatter.

    Uh, oh, Big Gov and Big Food you better fire up your propaganda machine, your house of cards is really starting to crumble.

    But wait, I'm not even done yet...

    Low-fat milk may mean a high-fat you

    Now there's a brand new study, just published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, which found that watery, tasteless, skim and low-fat milks are associated with higher weight.

    Researchers, led by Dr. Mark DeBoar from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, looked at 10,700 U.S. kids between the ages of 2 and 4 and found that children downing one percent milk had higher body fat percentages. And both the skim and one percent milk drinkers were more likely to be overweight or obese than their whole-milk drinking peers.

    The brainwashed researchers seemed a bit surprised by their findings. A clearly puzzled DeBoar's said, "In isolation, if you keep everything else the same, skim milk is still fewer calories."

    The good doctor might have forgotten a bit of his basic biology, so let me help him out here.

    Skim milk is about 5 points higher on the glycemic index than whole milk. The higher a food's glycemic index the more quickly it breaks down and enters your blood stream as glucose. And soaring blood-sugar levels quickly convert to body blubber.

    Besides, the fat you find in certain foods is there for a reason. The fats in whole milk and meat slow down the absorption rate of glucose, so that it enters your blood stream slower (nature balancing things out again). Not to mention that meats are high in the vitamins we need to stay healthy, like omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins C, E and B12... and skimming milk strips away important nutrients including fat-soluble vitamins A, E, K, and D.

    And, of course, let's not forget that fat helps to make us feel full and satisfied. And when we're left feeling hungry and grumpy from all the supposedly "healthy" low-fat eating we're doing, it's only natural that we tackle those hungries by eating more.

    Starting to see the picture?

    Let's hope those boobs "in charge" of this nation's health start to see it, also.

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