Archive for » March 13th, 2012«

All red meat is bad for you, new study says

Eating red meat — any amount and any type — appears to significantly increase the risk of premature death, according to a long-range study that examined the eating habits and health of more than 110,000 adults for more than 20 years.

For instance, adding just one 3-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat — picture a piece of steak no bigger than a deck of cards — to one’s daily diet was associated with a 13% greater chance of dying during the course of the study.

Even worse, adding an extra daily serving of processed red meat, such as a hot dog or two slices of bacon, was linked to a 20% higher risk of death during the study.

“Any red meat you eat contributes to the risk,” said An Pan, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and lead author of the study, published online Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Crunching data from thousands of questionnaires that asked people how frequently they ate a variety of foods, the researchers also discovered that replacing red meat with other foods seemed to reduce mortality risk for study participants.

Eating a serving of nuts instead of beef or pork was associated with a 19% lower risk of dying during the study. The team said choosing poultry or whole grains as a substitute was linked with a 14% reduction in mortality risk; low-fat dairy or legumes, 10%; and fish, 7%.

Previous studies had associated red meat consumption with diabetes, heart disease and cancer, all of which can be fatal. Scientists aren’t sure exactly what makes red meat so dangerous, but the suspects include the iron and saturated fat in beef, pork and lamb, the nitrates used to preserve them, and the chemicals created by high-temperature cooking.

The Harvard researchers hypothesized that eating red meat would also be linked to an overall risk of death from any cause, Pan said. And the results suggest they were right: Among the 37,698 men and 83,644 women who were tracked, as meat consumption increased, so did mortality risk.

In separate analyses of processed and unprocessed meats, the group found that both types appear to hasten death. Pan said that at the outset, he and his colleagues had thought it likely that only processed meat posed a health danger.

Carol Koprowski, a professor of preventive medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine who wasn’t involved in the research, cautioned that it can be hard to draw specific conclusions from a study like this because there can be a lot of error in the way diet information is recorded in food frequency questionnaires, which ask subjects to remember past meals in sometimes grueling detail.

But Pan said the bottom line was that there was no amount of red meat that’s good for you.

“If you want to eat red meat, eat the unprocessed products, and reduce it to two or three servings a week,” he said. “That would have a huge impact on public health.”

A majority of people in the study reported that they ate an average of at least one serving of meat per day.

Pan said that he eats one or two servings of red meat per week, and that he doesn’t eat bacon or other processed meats.

Cancer researcher Lawrence H. Kushi of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland said that groups putting together dietary guidelines were likely to pay attention to the findings in the study.

“There’s a pretty strong supposition that eating red meat is important — that it should be part of a healthful diet,” said Kushi, who was not involved in the study. “These data basically demonstrate that the less you eat, the better.”

UC San Francisco researcher and vegetarian diet advocate Dr. Dean Ornish said he gleaned a hopeful message from the study.

“Something as simple as a meatless Monday can help,” he said. “Even small changes can make a difference.”

Additionally, Ornish said, “What’s good for you is also good for the planet.”

In an editorial that accompanied the study, Ornish wrote that a plant-based diet could help cut annual healthcare costs from chronic diseases in the U.S., which exceed $1 trillion. Shrinking the livestock industry could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and halt the destruction of forests to create pastures, he wrote.

eryn.brown@latimes.com

AIJ’s Asakawa Declines Request to Speak to Diet Over Losses

AIJ Investment Advisors Co.
President Kazuhiko Asakawa declined a request to appear before a
parliamentary committee seeking answers over how the suspended
fund manager lost as much as $2 billion of pension money.

“Unfortunately I am unable to take up the offer,” Asakawa
said, according to a faxed statement read by Banri Kaieda,
chairman of the lower house financial committee, to reporters in
Tokyo today. Asakawa wrote that he is busy compiling information
requested by the government’s financial watchdog, Kaieda said.

Asakawa’s reply is his first statement to be made public
since the Financial Services Agency suspended AIJ on Feb. 24 for
a month to find out what happened to the 185.3 billion yen
($2.3 billion) of pension assets managed by his firm. The case
has prompted the regulator to embark on its widest investigation
of asset managers in the country and spurred politicians to
consider increased oversight of the industry.

The FSA’s investigative arm, the Securities and Exchange
Surveillance Commission, “is still continuing its inspection,”
Asakawa wrote, according to Kaieda. “I am busy as we are
preparing documents to detail the assets under management by the
March 23 deadline,” Kaieda quoted Asakawa as saying.

Tokyo-based AIJ told regulators that its assets under
management have dwindled to about 24 billion yen, including 4
billion yen in cash and deposits, a government official said
last week on condition of anonymity.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Takashi Hirokawa in Tokyo at
thirokawa@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Chitra Somayaji at
csomayaji@bloomberg.net;
Peter Hirschberg at
phirschberg@bloomberg.net

Overweight pet? Try a vet-approved diet plan

Question: I have a 4-year-old female Labrador retriever who weighs 85 pounds. My veterinarian told me she is overweight and needs to lose more than 10 pounds. What suggestions do you have to help her lose weight?

Answer:

Your Labrador is not alone. More of our pets are becoming overweight or obese. A recent veterinary survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats were classified as overweight or obese by their veterinarian.

Unfortunately, pet owners may not be aware that their pet is overweight, nor may they realize the potential health consequences.

Pet obesity is associated with several serious and debilitating health conditions including osteoarthritis and diabetes mellitus. It has been shown that overweight dogs have a decreased life span when compared with dogs who maintain a lean body condition. Reducing weight in overweight arthritic dogs improves mobility. It’s never too late to help your pet achieve a healthy weight.

For readers who are unsure if their pet is at an optimal weight, I would encourage you to ask your veterinarian. Your pet should have a waist that can either be seen or felt when viewed from above and you should be able to feel her ribs with just a slight fat covering. Find out what your pet weighed last year to see if she has gained weight.

One tip that will help with your dog’s weight-loss plan is to determine how many calories she is currently eating. If you are not already doing so, measure the amount of pet food you are feeding. You can contact the manufacturer to find out how many calories are in a cup or can of her food.

Treats, chews and table foods are often a major source of extra calories. All foods have calories and need to be counted in a weight loss plan. Pet food manufacturers can tell you how many calories are in the treats and rawhide chews that you might be feeding.

As a general guideline, treats, chews and table foods should not constitute more than 10 percent of your pet’s total daily calorie intake. Therefore feeding lower calorie treats such as green beans rather than higher-calorie fatty meats or rawhides may help. Also, give more “non-food” rewards such as a scratch on the head or a quick game of fetch so that the majority of your interactions are not food focused.

Ask your veterinarian to recommend a complete and balanced food that is formulated for weight loss. These diets deliver all the nutrition your pet needs with fewer calories. Many also have certain nutrients that can help your pet feel full while losing weight.

It’s very important that cats do not lose weight too quickly or they may develop a very serious condition called hepatic lipidosis; ask your veterinarian for guidance regarding feeding amounts.

The key to successful weight loss is monitoring. Weigh your pet every two to four weeks to make sure she is losing at an appropriate rate. The amount of calories your individual pet needs to lose weight may be very different from another pet, so the feeding amount will vary from pet to pet. Your veterinarian can help you develop an appropriate plan.

Low-impact exercise such as walking or swimming can be a great way to burn calories, but ask your veterinarian if your pet has any conditions that might restrict the amount or type of exercise. Cats may enjoy playing with you by chasing a laser pointer or using an interactive feeding toy so that they can “hunt” for their food.

Helping your pet achieve a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do for her overall health. As with diet plans in people, it takes commitment and determination, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

Ask the Vets is a weekly column published by The Record. This question was answered by Dr. Laura Eirmann of Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus, N.J.

Do you have a question about your pet’s health? E-mail it to pets@northjersey.com. Please include your name, address and phone number.

Done properly, juicing can play role in healthy diet

Yet, there are negatives to juicing, too, and juicing at the expense of eating real meals must be approached with caution and common sense.

When you think of juicing, the first thing to come to mind may be a healthy active lifestyle or an easy way to lose weight.

But when you give up the other foods your body needs on a daily basis, it can become harmful to your health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2010, 35.7 percent of the United States population was obese.

Such news often sparks a new flood of quick-and-easy diet schemes, many of them incorporating juicing or juice fasting.

“I think the term is used interchangeably,” said Heather Sylvester, registered dietician at Kennedy Hospital in Cherry Hill, N.J. “Both can mean a liquid diet of juice and water for a short period of time.”

There are people who should not juice fast, such as people undergoing chemotherapy, diabetics, those struggling with nutritional deficiencies such as iron depletion, and those with kidney disease.

According to Sylvester, juicing or juice fasting for those with diabetes could send blood sugar levels through the roof. For those with kidney disease, high levels of potassium and minerals can build up in the blood to hazardous levels. And for people undergoing chemo, juicing is not recommended because of high levels of antioxidants and low levels of protein.

But juicing for a short time, as opposed to an extended juice-only fast, may be used by otherwise healthy people. And, drinking juice in place of one meal to lose weight may work for those without health concerns, especially if it’s part of a balanced diet.

Of course, with juicing can come with loads of sugar. If you are looking to lose weight, but still want to include juicing in your diet, Sylvester advises limiting to just one meal.

“Breakfast or lunch is the easiest (meal to replace), but any meal works,” Sylvester said.

For breakfast, you could combine fresh fruits and vegetables with water or ice and no sweeteners. If you want it to be more balanced, turn that juice into a fruit juice smoothie by adding low-fat yogurt or skim milk.

This way, your breakfast is not only filling, but provides a well-balanced, healthy breakfast.

April Schetler, registered dietician at Virtua Health Wellness Center, points out that juicing eliminates much of the fiber that fresh fruits and vegetables carry. However, juicing does provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in fruits and veggies. It also hydrates.

“Juicing can be a great addition to a health diet when used in moderation, Schetler said by email. “Instead of reaching for a soda to beat the afternoon slump, a glass of freshly squeezed juice may be a better pick-me-up.”

Juicing has many positives when it is done in moderation as part of a healthy lifestyle, says Anthony Gentleski, owner of Animo Juice Burrito Bar in Haddonfield, N.J.

“If you allow yourself to eat whole, raw fruits and vegetables … it is more satisfying, and will likely allow you to stay with it for a longer amount of time,” Gentleski said.

Gentleski, his brother Joe and sister Maria created Animo with the aim of providing healthy, quick-serve foods and juices free of preservatives and synthetic ingredients.

Gentleski believes including juicing and whole fruits and vegetables in a diet along with exercise and no processed or artificial foods is the way to go.

At one point, Gentleski tried a three-day juicing diet. “Now I’m more likely to do a one-day juice fast once in a while to give my digestive system a break,” Gentleski said.

If you hate the taste of veggies, juicing vegetables with your favorite fruit will help you consume your daily intake of veggies, he says.

Slowly weaning your taste buds away from fatty foods and a mass amount of sugar will turn cravings toward healthier foods.

“Slowly, your body will adapt to your new, health-conscious way of eating, and you will begin craving fresh fruit and vegetable juice, instead of greasy, fat and sugar-laden foods,” Gentleski said.

When losing weight, make protein part of balanced diet

Q: My doctor told me I needed to eat more protein in order to help me lose weight. I thought protein was supposed to make you gain weight. Isn’t that why body builders eat lots of it?

Daryl Laws is a certified personal trainer and owner of Body Unlimited Inc., 325 Holly Hill Lane, Burlington, N.C. 27215. Contact him at daryllaws@att.net or call him at (336) 538-0012.

A: Too many people, especially women, have the misguided notion that eating protein will make them gain weight.

It is true that body builders eat protein in large quantities, from one gram of protein per pound of body weight to as much as three grams per pound of body weight.

You also have to consider that they are drinking one to one and a half gallons of water, as well. Muscle is composed of almost 70 percent water, about 25 percent protein and the rest is a mixture of a lot of different substances.

So it is true that ingesting large quantities of protein can be used to help gain muscle, although it’s not the protein itself that causes the growth.

The inverse also is true. If you are not getting enough protein, your metabolism tends to slow down slightly. Adding a high-quality protein source like tuna, lean beef, chicken, turkey or venison feeds your muscles, helping them to repair efficiently after exercise. The key point is high-intensity exercise.

The more you break down your muscles through training, the more protein you can use for repair. This stimulates your metabolism. Make protein a part of a balanced healthy plan that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well. God bless and keep training.

 

All red meat is bad for you, new study says

Eating red meat — any amount and any type — appears to significantly increase the risk of premature death, according to a long-range study that examined the eating habits and health of more than 110,000 adults for more than 20 years.

For instance, adding just one 3-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat — picture a piece of steak no bigger than a deck of cards — to one’s daily diet was associated with a 13% greater chance of dying during the course of the study.

Even worse, adding an extra daily serving of processed red meat, such as a hot dog or two slices of bacon, was linked to a 20% higher risk of death during the study.

“Any red meat you eat contributes to the risk,” said An Pan, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and lead author of the study, published online Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Crunching data from thousands of questionnaires that asked people how frequently they ate a variety of foods, the researchers also discovered that replacing red meat with other foods seemed to reduce mortality risk for study participants.

Eating a serving of nuts instead of beef or pork was associated with a 19% lower risk of dying during the study. The team said choosing poultry or whole grains as a substitute was linked with a 14% reduction in mortality risk; low-fat dairy or legumes, 10%; and fish, 7%.

Previous studies had associated red meat consumption with diabetes, heart disease and cancer, all of which can be fatal. Scientists aren’t sure exactly what makes red meat so dangerous, but the suspects include the iron and saturated fat in beef, pork and lamb, the nitrates used to preserve them, and the chemicals created by high-temperature cooking.

The Harvard researchers hypothesized that eating red meat would also be linked to an overall risk of death from any cause, Pan said. And the results suggest they were right: Among the 37,698 men and 83,644 women who were tracked, as meat consumption increased, so did mortality risk.

In separate analyses of processed and unprocessed meats, the group found that both types appear to hasten death. Pan said that at the outset, he and his colleagues had thought it likely that only processed meat posed a health danger.

Carol Koprowski, a professor of preventive medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine who wasn’t involved in the research, cautioned that it can be hard to draw specific conclusions from a study like this because there can be a lot of error in the way diet information is recorded in food frequency questionnaires, which ask subjects to remember past meals in sometimes grueling detail.

But Pan said the bottom line was that there was no amount of red meat that’s good for you.

“If you want to eat red meat, eat the unprocessed products, and reduce it to two or three servings a week,” he said. “That would have a huge impact on public health.”

A majority of people in the study reported that they ate an average of at least one serving of meat per day.

Pan said that he eats one or two servings of red meat per week, and that he doesn’t eat bacon or other processed meats.

Cancer researcher Lawrence H. Kushi of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland said that groups putting together dietary guidelines were likely to pay attention to the findings in the study.

“There’s a pretty strong supposition that eating red meat is important — that it should be part of a healthful diet,” said Kushi, who was not involved in the study. “These data basically demonstrate that the less you eat, the better.”

UC San Francisco researcher and vegetarian diet advocate Dr. Dean Ornish said he gleaned a hopeful message from the study.

“Something as simple as a meatless Monday can help,” he said. “Even small changes can make a difference.”

Additionally, Ornish said, “What’s good for you is also good for the planet.”

In an editorial that accompanied the study, Ornish wrote that a plant-based diet could help cut annual healthcare costs from chronic diseases in the U.S., which exceed $1 trillion. Shrinking the livestock industry could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and halt the destruction of forests to create pastures, he wrote.

eryn.brown@latimes.com