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Foods that can suppress appetite, aid weight loss

(CNN)Whether it’s turning to supplements, juices or new challenging workouts, it seems everyone is looking for the magic weight loss bullet. But sometimes, losing weight may just be a matter of tweaking your diet — and eating foods that work for you, not against you.

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Why Some Plant-Based Diets Are Healthier Than Others

Eating a plant-based diet is good for your health — but some plant-based diets are better than others, a new study that spanned nearly three decades finds.

Most previous research that has looked at the health benefits of plant-based eating has defined a plant-based diet simply as one that leaves out all or most animal-based foods, according to the study. And that research, along with the new study, has shown that eating less meat — and more fruits, veggies and whole grains, for example — can help reduce a person’s risk of heart disease.

But the new study found that eating less meat, but also eating more refined carbohydrates, and sticking with the sugar-sweetened beverages, can have the opposite effect. [7 Tips for Moving Toward a More Plant-Based Diet]

In the study, published today (July 17) in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the researchers first described three possible versions of a plant-based diet, then looked to see how well people’s actual diets lined up with each version, and how their health fared over time. The first version focused on eating any plant-based foods and simply reducing animal-food intake. The second focused on eating healthy plant-based foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables; and the third diet was focused on unhealthy plant-based foods, such as refined carbs, potatoes and sugary drinks.

In the study, the researchers analyzed diet data from more than 166,000 women who were participating in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Nurses’ Health Study II, and more than 43,000 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. All three are long-running studies that gather information on people’s health, diet and lifestyle. The new analysis was led by Ambika Satija, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health.

During the follow-up period, which lasted for up to 28 years, more than 8,600 people developed heart disease.

The people whose diets were closest to the general plant-based diet were 8 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those whose diets were least similar, the researchers found.

And when people’s diets were most similar to the healthy plant-based diet, the heart-health benefit was greater: These individuals were 25 percent less likely to develop heart disease, compared with those whose diets were least like the healthy plant-based diet, the researchers found.

The unhealthy plant-based diet, however, had the opposite effect: Those whose diets matched this pattern the most had a 32 percent increased risk of heart disease, compared to people whose diets differed the most from this way of eating.

Simply put, the findings suggest that it’s best to eat a diet that not only emphasizes plant-based foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts, but also one that avoids unhealthy plant-based foods such as sweets, refined carbohydrates and sugary drinks.

The researchers noted that the study had limitations; for example, because the data on people’s diets was self-reported, it may not have been completely accurate.

Originally published on Live Science.

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Eat Better, Live Longer? Small Food Changes Make a Difference

Need an incentive to eat healthier? A new study suggests that people who make even small tweaks in their diet to make it healthier over time may live longer.

Researchers found that a 20-percentile increase in people’s diet-quality scores was linked with an 8 to 17 percent reduction in a person’s risk of death from any cause over a 12-year period, according to the findings published online today (July 12) in The New England Journal of Medicine. A “20-percentile increase” in diet quality means, for example, that a person had an increase of 22 out of a possible 110 points in one of the objective diet scores used in the study.

In practical terms, a 20-percentile increase in diet-quality score can be achieved by swapping out just one serving of meat, which is 4 ounces of red meat or 1.5 ounces of processed meat, for one daily serving of nuts (about a handful) or legumes (about one tablespoon of peanut butter), said Mercedes Sotos-Prieto, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of food and nutrition science at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. [How to Eat Healthy in 2017 (and Cut Sugar, Salt and Fat)]

These results are in line with the findings from previous studies that showed a connection between higher diet-quality scores and a 17 to 26 percent lower risk of death from any cause over a given period.

But not everybody is motivated to change his or her eating habits. The data also revealed that when participants’ diet quality worsened over the study period, they were 6 to 12 percent more likely to die over the 12-year period than participants whose diet quality did not change.

The results underscore the concept that modest improvements in diet quality over time could meaningfully decrease the risk of death, said Sotos-Prieto, who is also a visiting scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Conversely, worsening diet quality may increase mortality risk, she said.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from about 48,000 women, ages 30 to 55, and about 26,000 men, ages 40 to 75. The women were all participants in the Nurses’ Health Study, and the men were enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Both are long-running studies investigating the risk factors for chronic diseases.

All of the participants completed a comprehensive questionnaire at the start of the study and every four years afterward during a 12-year period. This questionnaire asked each participant to indicate how often, on average, they ate certain foods during the past year.

The researchers compared the data from each participant’s questionnaire to see how it stacked up against three healthy eating plans recommended by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. They calculated three diet scores using this information, with higher scores indicating that a person’s diet more closely conformed to the foods recommended by each eating pattern. [5 Diets That Fight Diseases]

One of the plans evaluated was the Alternative Healthy Eating Index, which is composed of foods and nutrients that could reduce chronic disease risk. A second was the Alternative Mediterranean Diet, a style of eating that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, grains, fish and olive oil. The third was the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which is recommended for reducing blood pressure.

Previous studies have established that following any of these three healthy-eating patterns is associated with health benefits, but none of those earlier studies looked at what happens when people changed the quality of their diet over time, regarding their subsequent risk of death, Sotos-Prieto told Live Science.

According to the findings, about 6,000 of the women and about 4,000 of the men in the study died over the 12-year period.

The researchers then examined the relationship between changes in the three diet-quality scores they calculated for each participant and the risk of death. But they took into consideration other factors that could influence a person’s health, such as age, weight, smoking, physical activity and medical history.

The analysis also found that participants who maintained a high-quality diet over all 12 years had a 9 to 14 percent lower risk of dying, compared with participants who had consistently low diet scores over this period.

Among the three healthy eating plans, no one pattern emerged as a better plan for reducing mortality rates. However, while the Alternative Healthy Eating Index and the Alternative Mediterranean Diet were linked with a 7 to 15 percent reduction in the risk of death from heart disease and stroke, the DASH diet was not linked with any reduction in these risks, the study found.

The researchers suspect that unlike the other two eating patterns, the DASH diet does not include recommendations to include fish or other foods rich in omega-3 fats or a moderate alcohol intake, two strategies that may reduce cardiovascular disease.

It’s not necessary for people to conform to a single dietary plan to achieve a healthy eating pattern, Sotos-Prieto said. The essential elements of a healthy diet include higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans, and lower intakes of red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and highly refined grains, like white rice and flour, she said.

Originally published on Live Science.

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Houston man with 84 food allergies takes control of his diet

Houston man with 84 food allergies takes control of his diet

Young Houstonian with 84 food allergies takes control of his diet

July 8, 2017



Nicholas Chrysanthou has over 80 food allergies. in Houston, TX, June 21, 2017. (Michael Wyke / For the Chronicle)Nicholas Chrysanthou talks about his allergies and the effects on his life, as his wife Sasha plays with their sons Nicholas Jr., age 3, and Caspian, age 1, at their home in Houston, TX, June 28, 2017. (Michael Wyke / For the Chronicle) less

Photo: Michael Wyke, Freelance


Nick Crysanthou has spent much of his life battling food. As a kid, he wanted to chug mini cartons of chocolate milk with his friends. But they always made him feel ill.

“My mom would tell me, ‘Stop doing that. You have a milk allergy,’ ” says Crysanthou, who is 28.

Back then – in middle school – milk and peanuts were his only big concerns. But when he was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at age 15, he learned that his digestive system was extra fragile, and that he could experience excruciating flare-ups at any time.

He tried to control it, but the flare-ups worsened shortly after his wedding three years ago. He found himself in and out of the hospital, sometimes for a week at a time. He lost his job, and had to go on disability.


He continued searching for answers. And in December, he found them – 84 to be exact.

That’s how many allergies he reportedly has, according to his most recent test results.

“I think over time, I developed more allergies,” he says from his Houston home. “Initially, I probably started off with just a few. Maybe the peaches, or the more serious ones, like the peanuts and the almonds. And I think over time, I started to add more allergies.”

He pauses, then cracks a joke: “Just to see what it would be like, I guess.”

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He laughs. But he knows it isn’t funny. With a list of 84 no-go ingredients, there are only a few things he can safely ingest. Mostly, he’s turned to fruit-and-vegetable smoothies, stocked with supplements to make sure he’s getting the nutrients his body needs. Some nights, he’ll eat salmon. But for the most part, he sips on a smoothie while his wife and two young sons eat a separate dinner.

His wife, Sasha, doesn’t mince words about how this affects their family life.

“It’s stressful,” she says. “But researching all these things, it’s like a lifelong thing, and you have to adjust to it – in case our kids have it, too.”

And with a genetic link in many food allergies, his kids are more likely to have dietary restrictions in their future than children whose parents don’t have allergies.

It seems as though food allergies are becoming more common across America as a whole.

“Certainly surveys throughout the country have shown an increasing prevalence of food allergies over the past many years,” says Eric Sandberg, a doctor at the Kelsey-Seybold clinic, who specializes in allergy and immunology.

But there’s a catch. While surveys report larger numbers of people suffering with allergies, Sandberg says, “scientific surveys have been unable to confirm a lot of this increase.”

There is one area where scientists are in agreements that there’s been a massive increase. “Most people believe that in the last 20 years, peanut allergies have probably tripled in frequency,” Sandberg says.

These days between 1 to 2 percent of American children have a peanut allergy, up from less than 1 percent 20 years ago, he says. It’s still a small share of the American public, but scientists are unsure how to battle the allergy. For Crysanthou, living with allergies has forced him to be conscious of what he’s ingesting at any given moment.

“My initial reaction when I found out about all these allergies was, ‘Oh my goodness! All these years, I’ve been eating this stuff and it’s been contributing to the disease I already have,’ ” he says. “So I had to adjust my thought process to accommodate a lifestyle change. I’ve added positive behaviors.”

Now, he’s begun growing some of his own food in a fledgling backyard garden. There are tomatoes and oranges. Blackberries and limes. When the bounty grows, his harvests will provide him with food. But in the meantime, they’re a stepping stone to peace of mind.

“Watching things grow, I think, is probably the number one thing,” he says as he kneels near his scrappy little orange tree. “You have kids, your relationship with your wife, plants. And watching these things grow and develop is what has helped focus and center me on a good path.”

Less restrictive elimination diet effective in children with EoE

Amir F. Kagalwalla, MD, MBBS

A less restrictive four-food elimination diet was almost as effective as a six-food elimination diet for treating children with eosinophilic esophagitis, according to new research.

In the prospective study, more than 60% of children achieved remission after avoiding cow’s milk, wheat, egg and soy for 8 weeks. In comparison, the standard six-food elimination diet approved to treat EoE — which also excludes peanuts and tree nuts, fish and shellfish — has been previously shown to induce remission in 58% to 81% of children and adults with EoE. Other studies have since suggested that the foods excluded in the four-food elimination diet are those most likely to cause inflammation in EoE.

“Excluding many foods from a child’s diet is a major challenge for families,” Amir F. Kagalwalla, MD, MBBS, co-director of the Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Diseases Program at the Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and associate professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a press release. “Our study shows that we can achieve nearly the same results with four instead of six foods that children with EoE need to avoid initially. Also, it takes much less time to reintroduce the foods and fewer endoscopies to determine which foods truly need to be avoided to maintain remission. These are huge benefits.”

Kagalwalla and colleagues evaluated 78 children with EoE (67% boys; mean age, 9.01 years; 83% white; 90% atopic) who adhered to the four-food elimination diet for 8 weeks, after which single foods were reintroduced in responders. All participants also received a PPI twice per day and underwent clinical, endoscopic and histologic assessments at baseline, after the dietary intervention, and again after food reintroduction to assess for disease recurrence.

The study met its primary endpoint with 64% of patients achieving histologic remission after 8 weeks of adhering to the diet. Participants also showed significant clinical and endoscopic improvements.

“All symptoms resolved in 36% of respondents and symptom score decreased in 91%,” Kagalwalla and colleagues wrote. Abdominal pain, poor appetite, vomiting, food impaction, choking or gagging, regurgitation, and pocketing or spitting out food all resolved in a significant number of responders.

Food reintroduction showed cow’s milk (85%) was the most common trigger of histological inflammation, followed by eggs (35%), wheat (33%) and soy (19%). Recurrent inflammation was induced by a single food trigger in 62% of patients, and cow’s milk was the single trigger in most of them (88%).

“The high percentage of children for whom milk was a trigger provides the basis for investigating a milk-only elimination diet approach,” Kagalwalla noted in the press release.

The investigators concluded that the four-food elimination diet induced “clinical remission in nine out of 10 histological respondents,” and histological remission “in more than six out of 10 children, which is nearly identical to remission with [the six-food elimination diet] but with a diet that is less stringent.”

These results show this diet “can be offered to children in preference to [the six-food elimination diet] and as an alternative to topical corticosteroid refractory patients for the treatment of EoE,” they wrote. – by Adam Leitenberger

Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

9 Things to Know If You’re Thinking About Starting a Raw Food Diet This Summer

Raw is all the rage

Courtesy Fiona TappThe raw food diet is the hot new trend in wellness and health circles. If you’re curious about this approach, you can try eating raw for a day with these recipes. The movement has grown steadily as an extension of veganism. Raw food advocates believe that processing and cooking food reduces its nutritional benefits; followers find they eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and claim that this approach has physical and mental benefits.

Melanie A. Albert is an intuitive cooking expert, author, and speaker, who is passionate about good, wholesome, and healthy foods. She has been a leader in wellness, integrative medicine, and nutrition for over 15 years, and her sprightly energetic vibe is a walking advertisement for the foods she promotes.

I met her in the Arizona desert for an intuitive cooking class where she showed me how to make fresh, delicious foods from locally grown ingredients. By local, I mean they were grown steps from where we cooked!

Albert talked about how she has become more interested in alternatives to cooking lately and has actually just taken a course on becoming a professional raw gourmet. She explained how the natural properties of food in its original grown state can be very appetizing, especially on warm summer days.

“Raw food makes sense in our diets especially when the weather is hot and our bodies naturally crave cool foods. When you think about it, foods that cool naturally grow when the weather is warm. In the hot summer, it’s all about melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, which are all full of water and very hydrating.”

As I prepared Albert’s recipe of dinosaur kale, fresh veggies, and nuts in the heat of the Arizona sun at The Farm at South Mountain, just 15 minutes from downtown Phoenix, I had to agree this type of cuisine certainly suits the warmer weather!

If you are intrigued by this trend read on to see what you need to know…

Raw lets you relax

Courtesy Melanie A. AlbertEating food this way seems to take a little more time—you have to chew more thoroughly. This forced the group to slow down and actually enjoy our meal. As we sat at a long communal table chatting and enjoying the lunch we had made under Albert’s tutelage, my companions and I all agreed with Albert’s directive that food should be enjoyed intentionally. She asked us to go around the table and say something we had learned during this class and that we intended to implement once back home with our families.

Check out these tips for fitting mindfulness into your busy life.

Raw focuses on local organic produce

Courtesy Fiona TappWhen following a raw eating plan, you must ensure that the food you are eating is as close as possible to its natural state. That means opting for locally grown food and choosing organic to cut down on pesticides.

Here’s what you need to about when buying organic food.

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Raw is exciting

Courtesy Melanie A. AlbertSome people think going raw means that you’re stuck with plain vegetables like carrot and celery sticks. That would be awful, and that’s not how the raw diet works. Albert points out that many delicious combinations can be created with raw ingredients.

“Some of the key ingredients in this diet include vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, herbs, spices, and even edible flowers which can be prepared into beautiful, tasty food,” she says.

Raw has benefits

Courtesy Fiona TappAdherents claim that raw eating improves the appearance of your skin, gives you better mental focus, help you to lose weight, and boost your energy levels.

Melissa Eboli, a nutritional chef and wellness counselor believes it’s because “uncooked food naturally has enzymes in it—when you cook food, enzymes are typically depleted. Enzymes help with digestion and assimilation of your food. When you are properly assimilating your food you are absorbing all of the nutrients that stem from it, in return increasing your energy.” While going raw is definitely a healthy move, research is less clear on claims that raw is always nutritionally superior: A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that a cancer-fighting enzyme in broccoli can wilt when you cook the florets; however, another valuable anti-cancer enzyme forms only when you light a fire under broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower. Heat-sensitive nutrients like vitamin C will be higher in raw produce, but you must cook tomatoes to get significant amounts of the antioxidant lycopene. A German study revealed that while raw foodies have higher levels of heat-sensitive beta-carotene than the general population, they had much lower levels of lycopene. Cooking helps break down plant cell walls, releasing more of the antioxidant for you to digest. The take home? If a raw food diet increases your intake of produce, your health will benefit. Just don’t believe all the hype.

The best raw foods are awesome

Courtesy Melanie A. AlbertAlbert’s recommendations include: Vegetables like carrots, beets, tomatoes, peppers; fruit such as berries, apples, pears, avocados, lemons, limes; nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds; and superfoods like goji berries and raw cacao.

Albert explains how raw food diet recipes can be made to taste richer and more indulgent by making delicious nut milks, salad dressings, soups, and sauces that elevate the base ingredients to haute cuisine.

“It’s fun to create unique combinations of foods, and it’s always important to plate our foods beautifully, because, as the saying goes ‘we eat with our eyes’ first,” she says.

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Food safety is simple

Courtesy Fiona TappSure, the heat of cooking often destroys harmful bacteria, but keeping your raw food free of pathogens is relatively easy. Here are some key tips you need to know about food safety and produce, along with Albert’s specific food safety tips:

  • Thoroughly wash all food as it might pick up bacteria on its way from the farm to your kitchen.
  • Wash your hands constantly when preparing food, and after touching your face or hair.
  • Refrigerate nuts and seeds as they contain plant fat that can turn rancid.
  • Keep in mind any allergic reactions or sensitivities you might have to specific foods, such as gluten in wheat, barley or rye, or tree nuts such as almonds and cashews.

You don’t have to go raw all the time

Courtesy Fiona TappEating food in its natural state automatically boosts your intake of nutrient rich fruits and vegetables—and that’s good for your heart and overall health. That’s why dipping in and out of the raw approach is encouraged: According to Lynn Anderson, PhD, naturopathic doctor and yoga therapist, “It is not so much that we should all eat a raw diet as it is that we should all try to get natural foods into our diet every day.”

She encourages her clients to eat a salad every day as part of their meal, with the aim being to increase their consumption of natural produce.

Raw recipes are a breeze

Courtesy Melanie A. AlbertAlbert has created a cookbook of recipes called A New View of Healthy Eating: Simple Intuitive Cooking with Real Whole Foods. Here’s one of her favorites:

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Albert recommends “making this when tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers are in season in the summer.” She also advocates experimenting. “With the soup we can intuitively mix-and-match the ingredients to create a beautiful refreshing cold soup. If we’re lucky we can use unique cucumbers, such as lemon cucumbers or Armenian cucumbers. The key is to have fun intuitively creating a beautiful, tasty cold tomato gazpacho. ”

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