New Remote Job Openings at NutritionFacts.org

Even as of this week, 20 months after publication, How Not to Die is in the top 50 best-sellers list on Amazon and back on the New York Times Bestsellers list.

I figured the book would sell well at first. I’m honored to have so many people out there (like you!) who appreciate my work, and who themselves have friends and family they might want to keep around for a while. So I expected an initial surge in interest, but the fact that it’s now going into its 14th printing suggests it’s becoming more of a mainstream cultural phenomenon. So now I’m not just reaching the subset of NutritionFacts.org viewers that also like books, but reaching the masses who might never even find themselves on a nutrition website.

That is why I have to write more books.

I want to write one on optimal weight control (How Not to Diet), one on what to eat for maximum longevity (How Not to Age), one on eating to starve cancer, and one on diet and mental health. Each of those are monstrous research projects. (There are hundreds of thousands of papers on obesity alone, with about 100 new ones published every day.) To immerse myself in the research I’m going to need help with the website, hence these new positions:
 

New Job Openings

Are you interested in joining the NutritionFacts.org team? I need someone (or even better someones—plural) to help research and write future video scripts.

If you have a knack for finding, reading, and analyzing academic journal articles and are a skilled writer, consider applying here.

Please note, though, the application process involves intensive days-long skills testing, so please carefully check the requirements to make sure you might be a good fit.
 

New NutritionFacts.org Swag

If you missed our previous Booster donation drives, we’re now offering NutritionFacts.org t-shirts (and soon tote bags) year round due to popular demand. Check out the new stuff here.

All proceeds go to keep NutritionFacts.org alive and thriving.

 

Balanced Launches Their First Campaign

Balanced.org has just launched their first campaign to make cafeterias around the country healthier. They are asking Aramark, the largest US food service provider, to live up to its “Health for Life” initiative by not just switching from fried chicken to baked chicken, but considering something even healthier, like baked beans.

You can take action and sign their petition here. For more about the campaign, check out their site.

Audio and Video Podcasts

If you’re looking for something to listen to while you’re on your morning run or driving home from work, don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast!

We also recently had to update our iTunes video feed so if you were subscribed to get NutritionFacts.org videos right to your iTunes account, you’ll need to resubscribe here.

 

Live Q&A’s today!

Every month I do Q&As live from my treadmill and this month, today (July 27th) is the day!

Facebook Live: At 1:00pm ET today go to our Facebook page to watch live and ask questions.

YouTube Live Stream: At 3:00pm ET today go here to watch live and ask even more questions! 

You can sign up to receive notifications every time I go live on YouTube by “Ringing the Bell” next to the subscribe button on our YouTube channel.

And you can also follow us on Pinterest to get Daily Dozen recipe ideas.

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Flax Seeds: Powerful Medicine

There is one amazing little seed that you should really know about. You have probably already heard about it but may not know the extent of its benefits. I am talking about flax seeds. Flax seeds have been considered a health food since the time of Hippocrates. They are one of the richest plant sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids but are especially set apart by their lignan content. Lignans are present in other plant foods but are 100 times higher in flax seeds. Many people think of other sources of omega-3 fatty acids as interchangeable with flax seeds, such as chia seeds. But while chia seeds have significant omega 3, no food comes close to flax seeds as a source of lignans.

So what are lignans? Lignans are phytoestrogens than can decrease the effects of the body’s own estrogen.They are first line medical therapy for menstrual breast pain according to the Canadian medical society. Lignan intake is associated with significantly reduced breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women. Studies have shown decreased precancerous changes in women taking flaxseeds and also increased breast cancer survival by making the breast cancer less aggressive.

High lignans are found in the prostate fluids of men in regions with low rates of prostate cancer. Lignans are found to slow the growth of prostate cancer and increase cancer cell clearance. A study of men with prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia PIN which is a precancerous state showed significant drop in PSA and decreased tumor proliferation with the addition of ground flax seed to the diet.

You may be aware of the hormonal benefits of flax seeds but are you aware that flax seed also lowers blood pressure? One double blinded placebo controlled trial showed lower blood pressure after the addition of dietary flax seed. This was only a 15 point systolic and 7 point diastolic drop, but this translates to 46% fewer strokes and 29% less heart disease. Standard drugs such as calcium channel blockers (such as Cardizem and Norvasc) only resulted in a drop of 8 systolic points and 3 diastolic points. ACE inhibitors (such as Lisinopril) resulted in a 5 systolic points and 2 diastolic point reduction. So ground flax seeds work 2-3 times better than these standard medicines without harmful side effects. They also have been shown to control cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, and successfully treat constipation.

With such an amazing food, I encourage all of my patients to add flax seed to their diet, at least one tablespoon per day. I discourage the use of flax seed oil since it is not so shelf stable. The best approach is to buy the whole flax seeds and grind in a coffee grinder no more than the amount you would use in about four months as it is shelf stable that long. I keep mine in the door of the refrigerator and grind about a months worth at a time. The good news is that you can cook with them without damaging their lignans or omega-3 fatty acids. In our house we add flax seeds to our daily green smoothie. You could also put them on cereal, in muffins, and ground flax seed also makes a great egg replacer: one tablespoon of ground flax seed plus 3 tablespoons of water mixed together and allowed to sit for about 5 minutes will form a gel like consistency.

So, add this little powerhouse seed to your daily diet. It is more powerful than common blood pressure medications and improves breast and prostate health with no negative side effects. Food really is the best medicine!

References

How Not to Die. Greger, MD, Michael. p. 134-135, p. 193-195, p. 220-221 Super Immunity, Fuhrman, MD, Joel.

Big Sugar Flexes its Muscles

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends we reduce our consumption of salt, trans fats, saturated fats, and added sugars. Why? Because consumption of such foods is the cause of at least 14 million deaths every year from chronic diseases.

“Several decades ago, it was heresy to talk about an impending global pandemic of obesity.” Today, we’re seeing chronic disease rates skyrocket around the world. The Western diet has been exported to the far reaches of the planet, with white flour, sugar, fat, and animal-based foods replacing beans, peas, lentils, other vegetables, and whole grains.

In order to understand the reasons underlying this trend toward greater consumption of animal products, sugar, and oils, and reduced consumption of whole plant foods, we need to begin by understanding the purposeful economic manipulations that have occurred since World War II relating to agricultural policies around the world. For example, since early in the last century, the U.S. government “has supported food production through subsidies and other policies, resulting in large surpluses of food commodities, meat, and calories. In this artificial market, large food producers and corporations–Big Agriculture and Big Food–became very profitable.” Their profitability may be part of the problem.

Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, gave the opening address at the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion. One of the biggest challenges facing health promotion worldwide, she said, is that the efforts to prevent our top killers “go against the business interests of powerful economic operators.” It is not just Big Tobacco anymore. “Public health must also contend with Big Food, Big Soda, and Big Alcohol. All of these industries fear regulation and protect themselves by using the same tactics…front groups, lobbies, promises of self-regulation, lawsuits, and industry-funded research that confuses the evidence and keeps the public in doubt.”

And the World Health Organization should know. In 2003, the organization released a draft report that outlined a global strategy to address issues of diet. Although many of the WHO’s recommendations were rather tame, a remarkable series of events was spurred by six words in the report: “limit the intake of ‘free’ sugars” (added sugar). Within days, the sugar industry, through the Sugar Association, enlisted the support of officials high in the U.S. government and led a vigorous attack on both the report and the World Health Organization itself, culminating in a threat to get Congress to withdraw U.S. funding to the WHO. The WHO, the organization that “deals with AIDS, malnutrition, infectious disease, bioterrorism, and more, threatened because of its stance on sugar.” At the same time, the U.S. went to bat for American tobacco companies and led the charge against the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

As discussed in my video, Big Sugar Takes on the World Health Organization, the threat from the sugar industry was described by WHO insiders as worse than any pressure they ever got from the tobacco lobby. As revealed in an internal memo, the U.S. government apparently had a list of demands. These included deletion of all references to the science that WHO experts had compiled on the matter and the removal of all references to fat, oils, sugar, and salt.

The threats failed to make the WHO withdraw their report. Entitled “Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Disease,” it “concluded that a diet low in saturated fat, sugar and salt and high in fruit and vegetables was required to tackle the epidemic rise in chronic diseases worldwide.” They did end up watering it down, though. Gone was reference to the comprehensive scientific report, and gone was its call for its recommendations to be actually translated into national guidelines.

History has since repeated. At the last high-level United Nations meeting to address chronic diseases, representatives from some Western countries, including the United States, helped block a consensus on action after lobbying from the alcohol, food, tobacco, and drug industries. When asked why Michelle Obama’s successful childhood obesity programs in the U.S. should not be modeled around the world, a U.S. official responded that they might harm American exports.

If sugar is bad, then what about all the sugar in fruit? See If Fructose Is Bad, What About Fruit? and How Much Fruit Is Too Much?.

For more on the corrupting political and economic influences in nutrition, see videos such as:

And because of that, check out a couple of my introductory videos: Why You Should Care about Nutrition and Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Health

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations: