Exercise Once Again Linked to Avoidance of Dementia

The NYT’s Well blog has the details. The brain’s hippocampus is a critical center for memory. Alzheimers disease is associated with a gene called apo-E4. Carriers of that gene who exercise regularly have less shrinkage of the hippocampus than non-exercisers. 

To PROVE that regular exercise prevents dementia-related shrinkage of the hippocampus, you’d have to force some folks to exercise and stop others who wanted to exercise. A couple years later, scan their brains and compare the two groups. That study may never be done. 

The Mediterranean diet also seems to prevent or forestall dementia.

QOTD: J. Stanton on Exercise and Weight Loss

Exercise is not important because it burns calories! Exercise without calorie restriction is a remarkably ineffective weight loss intervention, because it usually makes us hungry enough to replace the calories we burn. Exercise is important because it restores your ability to oxidize fat—both when fasting and after meals. And we can tie this in with mitochondrial dysfunction by noting that exercise is proven to increase mitochondrial volume.

J. Stanton

Riddle Me This: What’s Pure, White, and Deadly?

The answer is sugar, according to John Yudkin and Robert Lustig, among others. The Age has the details. A quote:

[Robert] Lustig is one of a growing number of scientists who don’t just believe sugar makes you fat and rots teeth. They’re convinced it’s the cause of several chronic and very common illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. It’s also addictive, since it interferes with our appetites and creates an irresistible urge to eat.

This year, Lustig’s message has gone mainstream; many of the New Year diet books focused not on fat or carbohydrates, but on cutting out sugar and the everyday foods (soups, fruit juices, bread) that contain high levels of sucrose. The anti-sugar camp is not celebrating yet, however. They know what happened to Yudkin and what a ruthless and unscrupulous adversary the sugar industry proved to be.

In 1822, we in the U.S. ate 6.2 pounds of sugar per person per year. By 1999, we were up to 108 pounds.

An occasional teaspoon of sugar probably won't hurt you

An occasional teaspoon of sugar probably won’t hurt you, even if you have diabetes

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that added sugars provide 17% of the total calories in the average American diet.  A typical carbonated soda contain the equivalent of 10 tsp (50 ml) of sugar.  The average U.S. adult eats 30 tsp  (150 ml) daily of added sweeteners and sugars.

On the other hand, Fanatic Cook Bix found a study linking higher sugar consumption with lower body weight, which you might think would protect against type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

Read the rest at The Age. It’s mostly about John Yudkin.

Steve Parker, M.D.

h/t Jamie Scott

Dark Chocolate Helps You Walk If You Have Peripheral Arterial Disease

Milk chocolate won’t do it, though. MedPageToday has the details. It’s a small study and may not be reliable.

Recipe: Turkey Tomato Bowl + Macadamia Nuts

paleobetic diet, low-carb

This Turkey Tomato Bowl is low-carb

This is what I did with some of our leftover Thanksgiving turkey last Novermber. If you don’t have leftover turkey, I bet leftover chicken or steak would be  fine substitutes. Heck, I’m tempted to try it with salmon or canned tuna or chicken. In addition to the flavor, what I like about this meal is that it’s crazy quick.

Ingredients:

6 oz (170 g) cooked turkey chunks, light meat (or 8 oz (225 g) if you’re starting raw and planning to cook it)

5 oz (140 g) raw tomato (2 small roma tomatoes, for example), cut into chunks

2 tbsp (30 ml) balsamic vinaigrette

black pepper to taste

1 oz (30 g) roasted macadamia nuts

paleobetic diet, low-carb, diabetes, diabetic diet, paleo diet

These roma tomatoes were amazingly flavorful for late Fall in the northern hemisphere. Before cooking, my wife injected the bird with olive oil, massaged periodically over 30 minutes, then popped it in the oven.

Instructions:

Toss the turkey and tomato chunks in a bowl, splash on the vinaigrette, then microwave for 60-80 seconds. Pepper as desired. Drink the leftover juice right out of the bowl. Enjoy with macadamia nuts for dessert and you’ve got a full meal.

Discussion:

paleobetic diet, low-carb, diabetes, diabetic diet

Use commercial dressing if you’re in a rush

I was lazy when I made this so I just used a commercial salad dressing rather than making my own vinaigrette. Wish-Bone Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing “with extra virgin olive oil.” Here are the top ingredients, in order: water, balsamic vinegar, soybean oil and extra virgin olive oil (sic), sugar, salt, spices, etc. So the oil could have been soybean oil with only one drop of olive oil for all I know. Olive oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acid, so you might be able to calculate how much EVOO was in the dressing if I tell you there were five grams of fat per two tbsp (30 ml) serving, of which 1.5 grams were monounsaturated. That serving also has three grams of carbohydrate (all sugar) and only 60 calories. Right there on the bottle is says gluten-free and “no high fructose corn syrup.” I bet it had HFCS in it three years ago and there would be no mention of the trendy “gluten-free.”

I don’t know any home cooks who add water to vinaigrettes. They are essentially oil and vinegar (in a ratio of 3:1) and spices (or not). The ones I make have quite a bit more than 60 calories per two tbsp (30 ml); more like 220 cals. All of the oils you would use have about 120 calories per tbsp all from fat. If you make this recipe with home-made vinaigrette, add 150 calories to the nutritional analysis below. It won’t affect the carb count.

Note that of the common vinegars, balsamic has the most carbohydrates—some vinegars have zero. If you use typical amounts of balsamic vinaigrette, you shouldn’t need to worry about the carbohydrates unless perhaps you’re on a strict ketogenic diet and limited to 20-30 grams of carb daily.

Servings: 1

Advanced Mediterranean Diet boxes: 1 vegetable, 2 protein, 1 fat

Nutritional Analysis:

58% fat

7% carbohydrate

35% protein

620 calories

11.5 g carbohydrate

3.7 g fiber

8 g digestible carbohydrate

743 mg sodium

877 mg potassium

Prominent features: High in protein, vitamin B6, iron, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.

paleobetic diet, low-carb, diabetic diet, paleo diet

Bonus pic! Java, one of the horses at the Parker Compound. He’s an old-style Morgan.

Recipe: AMD Vinaigrette

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

Try this vinaigrette on salads, fresh vegetables, or as a marinade for chicken, fish, or beef. If using as a marinade, keep the entree/marinade combo in the refrigerator for 4–24 hours. Freshly seasoned vinaigrettes taste even better if you let them sit for several hours after preparation.

I’ll warn you, this is pretty spicy and tangy. If you prefer less flavor (is that the right word?), either use less of it, or reduce these particular ingredients by half: lemon juice, salt, pepper, paprika, and mustard.

This recipe was in my first book, The Advanced Mediterranean Diet from 2007; hence, “AMD vinaigrette.”

Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves (6 g), minced

juice from 1 lemon (40–50 ml)

2/3 cup (160 ml) extra virgin oil olive

4 tbsp (16 g or 60 ml) fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 tsp (5 ml) salt

1 tsp (5 ml) yellow mustard

1 tsp (5 ml) paprika

4 tbsp (60 ml) red wine or apple cider vinegar

Preparation:

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk together. Alternatively, you can put all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously—my preferred method. Let sit at room temperature for an hour, for flavors to meld. Then refrigerate. It should “keep” for at least 5 days in refrigerator. The olive oil will solidify, so take it out and set at room temperature for an hour before using. Shake before using.

Number of Servings: 6 servings of 2 tbsp (30 ml). (In Australia and NZ, you guys say “serves” instead of servings, right mate?)

Nutritional Analysis:

98 % fat

2 % carbohydrate

0 % protein

220 calories

1.4 g carbohydrate

0.3 g fiber

1 g digestible carbohydrate

400 mg sodium

41 mg potassium

(You may see a slightly different nutritional analysis—2 g of digestible carb versus 1 g here—at one of my other blogs. That’s the difference between Fitday.com (here) and NutritionData, and rounding.)

Do Fruits, Vegetables, and Fiber Prevent Cancer?

It’s complicated. Here’s a snippet from a pertinent scientific article:

“The purpose of this article is to summarize the findings published thus far from the EPIC study on the associations between fruit, vegetable, or fiber consumption and the risk of cancer at 14 different sites. The risk of cancers of the upper gastrointestinal tract was inversely associated with fruit intake but was not associated with vegetable intake. The risk of colorectal cancer was inversely associated with intakes of total fruit and vegetables and total fiber, and the risk of liver cancer was also inversely associated with the intake of total fiber. The risk of cancer of the lung was inversely associated with fruit intake but was not associated with vegetable intake; this association with fruit intake was restricted to smokers and might be influenced by residual confounding due to smoking. There was a borderline inverse association of fiber intake with breast cancer risk. For the other 9 cancer sites studied (stomach, biliary tract, pancreas, cervix, endometrium, prostate, kidney, bladder, and lymphoma) there were no reported significant associations of risk with intakes of total fruit, vegetables, or fiber.”