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Can diet be an essential therapeutic strategy for cancer patients?

Learning From Nutrition and Diet Experts

Medscape recently spoke with two renowned diet, nutrition and food experts on the subject of nutrition and its effects on cancer patients.  Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, is a dietician; author; speaker; and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, health, and cancer.  She commented on the Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS). “This is an important study because women with estrogen-receptor negative cancer have fewer treatment options.  The low-fat diet had a profound effect on recurrence in this group.”  Evidence is mounting toward the belief that diet can, in fact, prevent cancer and its recurrence involving breast cancer patients who were on curative therapy.

diet

A Plant Based Diet and Exercise

Additionally, in the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) study, an intense plant-based diet high in fruits and vegetables did not appear to improve survival, but when combined with a regular schedule of moderate exercise, it did reduce recurrence.  Dixon added that women with breast cancer often have a difficult time shedding excess weight, so even if you don’t buy into the effect your diet may have on the disease; it’s still a much healthier choice.  She points out that having cancer does not serve as a deterrent to other maladies such as heart disease, stroke, hypertension and other chronic diseases, so choosing a healthy diet is always the better path.

The second individual who spoke with Medscape on this subject is Rebecca Katz, MS, who is a chef, nutritionist, national speaker, and award-winning author.  Her books include: One Bite at a Time, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen and The Longevity Kitchen.  In her book, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, Katz discusses foods that a patient and their family can prepare to help them surpass that feeling of helplessness.  She believes that too much emphasis is placed on what shouldn’t be done and chooses to shift that to a more positive message; sharing what is good to do through her healthy recipes.  In The Cancer-fighting Kitchen, Katz dedicates an entire chapter to an A-to-Z resource that details the evidence-based cancer-fighting properties of foods, herbs, and spices.  These are, of course, the foundation of the book’s recipes. The more these compounds are utilized and combined; the greater the chances of realizing their benefits.

Foods have many cancer-fighting properties, including anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and pro-immune system effects.  Along with regular exercise, maintaining a healthy attitude, and avoiding illness and infection, research indicates that diet does influence cancer progression, risk of recurrence, and survival.

Eating a Healthy Diet Assists You In Preventing and/or Healing From Cancer

So, whether you’re healthy and want to do all you can to continue on that path or you’re currently in the process of releasing cancer from your system (or that of a loved one) the evidence is quite compelling to lead you toward these healthier lifestyle choices.  The foods you put into your body are a major factor.  How could they not be?  You wouldn’t put a low octane gasoline in your Ferrari and expect it to run at its peak performance level for long.  Food is fuel.  It really matters.

Wishing you the happiest and healthiest New Year, -Dr. Sass

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Frequent Eating Tied To Less Weight Gain In Girls

Frequent Eating Tips

Frequent meals(Reuters Health) – Girls who did frequent eating and snacks put on fewer pounds and gained fewer inches to their waistlines over the next decade than those who only ate a couple of times each day, according to a new study.

Food Education is ideal for teaching our young girls on how to eat as well.  Researchers said that one explanation is that smaller, more frequent meals and snacks kept girls satisfied for longer, and prevented them from over-eating.

“Maybe if you eat smaller meals or you eat more frequently you’re less likely to have a very large meal or be extremely hungry and over-eat at a meal,” said Alison Field, who studies kids’ eating habits at Children’s Hospital in Boston but didn’t participate in the new research.

The new report, from Lorrene Ritchie at the University of California, Berkeley, is based on data from a government-funded study of black and white girls in Berkeley, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C.

Frequent Eating Should Be Started While Young

Starting at the ages of 9 and 10 years old, the girls filled out food records of what they ate, a few days at a time, and then reviewed those records with nutritionists.

Over the next 10 years, researchers continued to track more than 2,100 girls’ height, weight and waist size.

Ritchie used those records to compare the number of meals and snacks girls ate at the start of the study with changes in their weight and waist size through ages 19 to 20.

Girls initially reported eating an average of about two and a half meals and another two and a half snacks each day.

As expected, no matter how frequently they ate, participants gained weight and waist inches over the study period as they went through puberty.  But the fewer snacks and meals girls ate during the day, the more fat they ended up putting on, Ritchie reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

I have designed the Smart For Life® program to train individuals (both men and women) to eat 7 small healthy meals a day.  In addition to stabilizing sugar levels and preventing spikes, the 7 small meals help to satisfy hunger and decrease the likelihood of binge eating, especially during the evening hours.

According to these recent studies over the past ten years, those who started out eating more than six times a day climbed 6.5 points on the body mass index (BMI) scale, which is a measure of weight in relation to height.  Girls that ate three times or less went up 7.8 points.  That works out to about eight extra pounds gained by the least-frequent eaters. So you see, frequent eating of small meals helps you lose weight by speeding up your metabolism. -Dr. Sass

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Eat Cookies and Lose Weight Dr. Sass Says It’s True

Eat Cookies and Lose Weight!

eat cookies lose weightDr. Sass spoke about how you can eat cookies and lose weight, the Smart for Life program and highlighted how the cookies and protein bars work to suppress your appetite and help you lose weight. He also mentioned that there are three weight loss centers in the Los Angeles area including one in Beverly Hills. He urged viewers to check out SmartforLife.com to learn more about the program. Additionally, Smart for Life weight loss success story, Shirley Caddell accompanied Dr. Sass and shared experience using Smart for Life and shared how anyone can eat cookies and lose weight.

Eat Cookies Lose Weight KCAL9

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/07/07/eat-cookies-lose-weight-dr-sass-says-its-true

Cold Weather and Appetite

Cold weather and appetite effects can go hand-in-hand. Hibernating animals tend to store fat before winter by increasing enzymes that increase fat storage (lipoprotein lipase).  In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, this was clearly shown to occur in humans as well.  Humans increased fat storage enzymatic activity just like bears, for example.1

Corisol, a well know fat storing appetite increasing hormone, increases in winter and drops in summer.  You can easily accumulate up to 10 pounds if corisol levels increase by 30%.2

SAD (seasonal affective disorder), a well known winter phenomena that affects many people, affects serotonin levels which control food intake.  People who suffer from SAD have an almost compulsive attraction to carbohydrates.  They are also often isolated at home eating more with less activity.  When I worked in Canada some of my SAD patients would gain 30 pounds over the winter and only lose about 10 pounds over the summer.  In 10 years, that is a 200 pound weight gain.3

Leptin Effects With The Cold Weather And Appetite

Leptin, a well known body weight regulator, has been clearly shown to drop when women were exposed to cold.4   When leptin levels drop, your body thinks you are starving and you eat more.

It has been clearly shown that people who swim in cold water get much hungrier than people who swim in warmer waters.5

In the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was clearly shown that people gained about 1 to 2 pounds per winter and ate an additional 86 calories per day.This might not sound like much but in a 6 month winter, that’s over 15,000 calories or about 4.5 pounds.  Over 10 years that adds up to 45 pounds.  So guess what?  Most people gain their weight over the winter months.

Beside the holidays, which I call the danger zone between Halloween and New Year’s, there are many biological reasons that people gain weight.

References

  1.  Donahoo, W.T., Jensen, D.R., Shepard, T.Y. & Eckel, R.H.  2000.  Seasonal variation in lipoprotein lipase and plasma lipids in physically active, normal weight humans.  Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 85, 3065-3068.
  2. Walker, B.R., Best, R., Noon, J.P., Watt, G.C. & Webb, D.J.  1997.  Seasonal variation in glucocorticoid activity in healthy men.  Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 82, 4015-4019.
  3. Krauchi, K., Reich, S., Wirz-Justice, A., Compr. Psychiatry.  1997 Mar-Apr;38(2):80-7.  Eating style in seasonal affective disorder: who will gain weight in winter?  Psychiatric University Clinic, Basel, Switzerland.
  4. Ricci, M.R., et. al.  Acute cold exposure decreases plasma leptin in women.  Metabolism 49(4):421-423.  2000.   Rutgers University, Department of Nutritional Sciences.  New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.
  5. White, L.  Increased caloric intake soon after exercise in cold water.  Int J Nutr Exer Metab, 15:38-47, 2005.
  6. Ma, Y., et. al.  Seasonal variation in food intake, physical activity, and body weight in a predominantly overweight population.  European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  April 2006; 60(4):519-528.  University of Massachusetts, Division of Preventive ad Behavioral medicine.

Brain Shrinking, Overeating and Weight Loss

Overeating and Weight LossIn an overeating and weight loss study done at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, Department of Neurology,  (LONI) has shown that people with body mass index (BMI) in the obese range have a shrinking of brain size in older age of about 8%.  People who are just overweight have a 4% decrease in size later in life.

Although these changes are measured later in life, the changes begin in midlife.  This association was also seen with people who had type 2 diabetes.  It is important to note that it has been reported that overweight people have a higher frequency of cognitive pathology later in life.

Overeating and Weight Loss Comparisons

I urge all of you who are overweight and obese to realize what your habits are doing to your brain.  I am also worried that we will see a similar affect in our obese children but at much younger ages, possibly a shrinking of 10% by the age of 45 if the child was obese starting at age 10, for example.

This study, which has been largely ignored by the media, was well done and very relevant, in my opinion, but the media would rather talk about the latest celebrity scandal.  I urge the media to talk about this study and sensitize the public to this very important fact.

I have had many clients tell me they feel depressed and less sharp when they are having overeating and weight loss  struggles.  Remarkably many patients tell me they  “think “ better when they lose weight and eat healthier.

Lose weight.  Save your brain

Dr. Sass Moulavi
M.D., LMCC, ABBM
Medical Director
888-799-2622

Don’t Spend The Holiday’s in the Emergency Room

Emergency RoomIf you are overweight, you are at risk of spending your holidays in the emergency room.

Many people who overindulge during the holidays get the following symptoms:

Chest pain:  You will never know if it is a heart attack until you go to the ER for an EKG and blood work.  But you will spend at least 12 hours at the ER worrying about whether you are dying or not.  And don’t forget, the family at home who will stop celebrating and start worrying.

Abdominal pain:  It could be gallstones–another common reason for ER visits.  You will spend 4 to 6 hours waiting for blood work and an ultrasound.  If you do have gallstones, you will be enjoying a side of surgery with your Thanksgiving turkey.

Gout:  Also known as a dreaded, painful disease.  If you are lucky, you will spend just 2 to 3 hours getting a prescription for medication. The pain will surely ruin your appetite for any desserts for at least a day or two.

 When I worked at the ER, the holidays always brought these kinds of cases in.  I remember one case where a 40-year old, overweight man came in with his wife because he was suffering from chest pain.  It ended up just being gas, but it surely destroyed their holiday.  The amazing part was that his older brother was having the dessert in the waiting room!  The brother also developed chest pain and ended up having a real heart attack.  Thankfully it was mild and he survived.  Are these the memories you want to remember for your family holidays?

Keep in mind that a big meal requires a lot of blood to be diverted to your intestinal system for digestion.  This puts stress on your heart, which substantially increases the risk of a heart attack.

 Take home message – if you do not want a side of ER with your holiday dinner, follow these simple guidelines:

 1)    Eat a small amount of food; stop when you are no longer hungry.

 2)    Teach yourself self-discipline and do not overeat the one food you really enjoy.

 3)    Do not drink more than 2 alcoholic drinks.

 4)    Eat slowly over time and drink lots of water

 5)    If you are overweight, you are at risk.  Be extra careful.

 6)    Learn to say “NO, THANK YOU.”

 7)    Instead of lounging on the couch, get the family active with a walk around the block, a game of catch or even charades to keep the body moving.

Have a great holiday, enjoy your families and make memories you want to have for years to come.

Dr. Sass
Sasson Moulavi, M.D., LMCC, ABBM
Medical Director
Smart For Life Cookie Diet

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