To detox or not to detox? That is the question I had for Gerard Mullin, MD of Johns Hopkins University as he spoke about nutritional detoxification at the 2013 Food & Nutrition Conferences and Expo a few weeks ago.
Dr. Mullin said that toxins are everywhere – in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the things we touch.
Bisphenol A (BPA), a carcinogen, is in plastics, dental sealants, canned food linings, and cash register receipts.
Phthalates, other carcinogens, are found in fatty milk, butter and meats, along with personal care products, detergents, children’s toys, printing inks, and more.
Heavy metals, like arsenic, mercury and lead, are in food, batteries, paints, plastics, and fertilizers.
For the most part, toxins are “endocrine disruptors” that change the way our hormones regulate bodily functions. In animal studies, endocrine disruptors are linked to cancers, birth defects, diabetes, and other diseases. What is worse is that, when they work together, the sum of their actions is greater than the whole, and they are stored practically forever in body fat. Whether or not an individual develops a problem depends on genetics, level of exposure, and the quality of nutrients in the diet. (more…)
I’ve been doing a lot of driving the last few weeks. With my brother visiting from out of town, I’ve taken a couple of road trips to show him around Northern California. And when the eyes started to get heavy after a few hours on the highway, I made a B-line for the next gas station to pick up an energy drink or coffee.
I usually prefer the perks of coffee, but once in a while when I need a little pick-me-up to avoid nodding off behind the wheel, I’ll hit the energy drink section of the gas station’s freezers to peruse the colorfully packaged legalized uppers.
While energy drinks are largely unregulated and safe for most people, that doesn’t mean they are harmless.
A study by the American Heart Association found that healthy participants who drank two energy drinks daily experienced blood pressure and heart rate increases. That alone isn’t necessarily alarming, as healthy adults can usually handle a momentary spike in blood pressure. But, for people with cardiac issues, or if normally healthy people drink too much, there could be dangers.
A moderate amount of caffeine, about 2-3 cups of coffee a day, isn’t dangerous for healthy adults. But when you start creeping up to about 500-600 mg of caffeine, or between 4-7 cups, you run the risk of side effects such as anxiety, irritability, sleeplessness, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and abnormal heart rhythms.
So, experts at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are calling for regulations requiring energy drink makers to label their products with a list of its caffeine levels, and to warn of the potential for caffeine intoxication.
The American Beverage Association objects, stating that a 16oz. brewed cup of coffee contains 320 mg of caffeine, compared to 160 mg for a “mainstream energy drink.”
The key sticking point is that energy drinks are marketed as supplements, which don’t have caffeine limits enforced by the FDA. Experts would like to at least have the drinks labeled to show how much caffeine people are going to ingest if they purchase the product.
“It is a striking inconsistency that, in the U.S., an over-the-counter stimulant medication containing 100 mg. of caffeine per tablet must include [labeling]… whereas a 500 mg. energy drink can be marketed with no such warnings and no information on caffeine dose amount in the product,” wrote researchers.
“What we’d like to see is a label clearly stating how much caffeine is in fact in one of these energy drinks, perhaps a warning label,” said Dr. Chad Reissig of Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Wayne Andersen, the Medical Director of Medifast and the chief architect of Take Shape for Life, joins us again this week as a featured guest blogger. His book, Habits of Health (releasing this month), provides the knowledge and support needed to achieve optimal health. He also manages his own health-minded blog. You can see Dr. Andersen here at DietsInReview.com every Tuesday during July! If you missed last week’s post about Optimal Health, view it now.
I am a firm believer in using the portion-controlled meal replacements. It is crucial to eat every three hours, and portion-controlled meal replacements (PCMRs) make this process a lot easier.
In my upcoming book “Habits of Heath,” I talk about PCMRs being the “Healthy Fast Food for the Twenty-first Century.” Our lives are so busy that is it often difficult to actually sit down and plan meals. Most of us just go, go, go until we are so hungry and hypoglycemic that we make the impulse decision to pull over and grab some McDonalds.
This is the same mentality that’s given rise to the fast food phenomenon and the “Golden Arches,” which is now a $129 billion a year business. Look at it this way, if you were driving your car on a long road trip, wouldn’t you make sure your gas tank was full before you started your journey? Well, then why do so many people get in such a hurry that they make the decision to skip breakfast, or worse, call grabbing a Starbucks Coffee and pastry eating breakfast?
We can’t afford to wait to fuel our bodies until they are screaming for food and then make the decision to fill up at an unhealthy fast-food fueling station. This is where PCMRs come in, a convenient alternative to support my “Habits of Health” program.
Medifast makes the PCMRs that I use successfully, the company I am currently medical director for. With nearly thirty years of efficacy and safety, Medifast’s meal are backed by research studies from prestigious institutions such as Johns Hopkins.
Here are a few of the reasons I am an advocate of PCMRs:
· They help you control calories.
· They offer plenty of variety.
· They’re cost effective.
What are your experiences with PCMRs?
We often look for better living through chemistry. There are plenty of instances when we need to medicate ourselves to remedy health issues. But, we often overlook the fact that food is a pretty darn good medicine in and of itself. The obvious remedies are of course preventing heart disease, diabetes, and any other number of obesity-related ailments. But now researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine are finding that eating an Atkins-like diet can help people with epilepsy control their seizures. It’s still a mystery as to why it works.