Fun Food Fact Friday

Events That Led to The Obesity Crisis

The obesity crisis was not caused by a single factor. Unfortunately, like the perfect storm, many events come together in sequence to result in this  health emergency tidal wave;  Such is the #ObesityCrisis.

To date, the obesity crisis and our lack of understanding has destroyed the quality of life of millions of Americans.  The lack of:

  • Nutrition education – What the body needs and gets from different foods – energy, macronutrients, and micronutrients
  • Biological functions – How the body works to achieve homeostasis – energy balance.

This lack of knowledge makes it difficult to achieve a healthy weight for the long term.  Don’t take my word for it, review the scientific evidence of @KevinHall, PhD. Kevin is a senior investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK).  What is significant about Kevin is he is the Section Chief of Integrative Physiology Section, Laboratory of Biological Modeling.   @BonnieLiebman, MS is an author, and Director of Nutrition at the #CenterForScienceInThePublicInterest (CSPI).  Bonnie interviewed Kevin and published in the #NutritionActionHealthLetter (a publication of CSPI) – How Did We Get Here? July/August 2018 Volume 45 No. 6; pg. 3 – 5 print.

The Basic Science of Human Weight Management

Normally, 2 key hormones work against each other to control our weight:

  • Leptin (the starvation hormone) – Main function is long-term regulation of the body’s energy supply. Leptin signals the brain to stimulate or suppress appetite and alter the burn rate of stored energy. When we lose body, fat leptin stimulates appetite and reduces stored energy burn rate. Weight gain triggers the opposite series of events (eat less burn more).
  • Ghrelin (the hunger hormone) – signals the brain when to start and when to stop eating. It is released by the stomach, and other glands.  #LeptinVsGhrelin

The Calm Before the Storm (Before 1970):

  • Leptin and ghrelin went about their business of cooperating to control our body weight
  • Families ate at home more than at restaurants and at other eateries; additionally high food prices and family size prevented excessive eating
  • Families were more physically active (work & play – virtually no access to computers)

The Storm is Energized by Key Players (1970):

  • President Nixon became aware of complaints about the rising cost of food. Consequently, he directed the USDA to fix the problem.
  • The USDA initiated policy to subsidize farming to stimulate yield of basic foods like corn and soybeans.
  • The farmers subsequently increased the production of corn, soybean, and other crops. This caused a drop in the price of basic foods that became major ingredients in the processed food supply.
  • The manufacturers of processed foods employed food scientists, and engineers to develop ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup to enhance “Ultra-Processed” food products that were:
    • Great tasting – Food scientists are better cooks than mom and granny; they mastered the ideal combination of salt, sugar, fat, and flavor additives to increase flavor, (and unfortunately calories). This development triggered a super-normal appetite.  #BlissPoint
    • More Stable – The addition of extra salt, high-fructose corn syrup and other technologies helped foods last longer in unrefrigerated settings like store shelves and homes.
    • Cheaper – Consumers enjoyed more food at lower prices, and consequently began to eat more meals away from home.
    • More Convenient – Less cooking required. Heat and serve made busy lives more manageable.


  • Powerful Food Advertising That Target Children – Drove consumption of unhealthy foods high in carbs/sugar, salt, and fats resulting in consumers:
    • Eating the foods that are most profitable”. #WeightOfTheNation
    • Eating more at restaurants, and dining halls
    • Buying more heat and serve food products.
    • Snacking more on delicious high calorie food products
  • Physical activity continues to be inadequate in burn off the significant increase of calories consumed.

The Abyss of Overweight and Obesity

Overweight, and obesity  significantly increases the risk for preventable  illness, disability, and premature death:

  • 34 million people of all ages (9.4%) had diabetes in 2015
  • 1 million people (33.9%) were estimated to have prediabetes
  • 2 million suffered from cardiovascular disease – coronary heart disease, Stroke, heart attack, etc. in 2015. (CDC)
  • 40% of all cancers diagnosed are associated with overweight and obesity. (CDC)

What About Dieting, Exercising, and Wishing?

The casual observer may interpret Kevin Hall’s weight loss research as leptin and ghrelin appearing to have gone rogue. But, in actuality, these two hormones have not deviated from their mission:  To prevent our bodies from quickly losing weight. However, the super tasty and fragrant food products have given rise to our super-appetites.  To counter the weight gain brought on by our super-appetites, we continue trying a variety of weight loss programs.  Unfortunately, as we work to lose extra fat pounds, leptin and ghrelin work against our goals.  So, as our fat level drops, leptin level drops and ghrelin level rises. Also, leptin helps to decrease the rate at which we lose weight (burn fat;, pausing at the dreaded ‘plateau’Spoiler alert: Hunger is a tough sensation to ignore.

Kevin Hall’s experimentation and modeling revealed that, “when people were losing body fat weight, their appetites increased by about 45 calories per day (above baseline) for every pound of weight that they lost”. To make weight loss more difficult, leptin reduces the rate at which a person burns fat weight.

Again, Kevin cites that, “the number of calories that they were burning went down by between 10 and 15 calories per day for every pound of weight they lost”.  This means if you lost 10 pounds, the average person would burn 100 to 150 less calories per day. Keep in mind that burning 3500 calories equals 1 pound lost. It is going to take time to lose weight. Prepare your mind for this reality.

Climbing Out From the Abyss

Currently, there are no miracles for achieving persistent weight loss. Losing weight and keeping it off is difficult for most mortals.  There are many suggestions, products, and practices on the internet that promise to help us easily lose weight.  Sadly, many of these plans are not based on scientific evidence. Consequently, most are doomed to failure, and may harm the individual. Search the WEB for ‘fen-Phen’ heart valve crisis.

Some uncontrollable factors that drive weight gain and obesity.

  • Genetics
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Prescribed medications

But, for those of us who are lucky enough to carry excess fat weight that we can shed; must work at it (plan-do-measure-repeat). We must learn to eat differently for a lifetime.  We must sacrifice a little or a lot due to our eating traditions, habits, and the uncontrollable factors. Some of us must suffer to some degree, depending on our level of obesity.

Sustained self-managed weight loss requires persistent commitment that ranges from eating differently to experiencing gastric by-pass surgery and its potential complications. And, even then post-surgery patients must eat differently before and after the surgery or suffer consequences. We must understand that healthy eating requires that we provide our bodies all the macro and micronutrients it needs to function properly. #PortionControl

Failure to persist in losing excess weight [based on body mass index (BMI)] and keeping it off increases the risk of developing debilitating diseases like:

  • Type 2 diabetes (leading to cardiovascular disease)
  • High blood pressure (leading to stroke)
  • Types of cancers

To fight obesity, all of us who are committed to community health have a crucial role to play in empowering consumers to follow effective and sustainable weight loss strategies.  At the same time, consumers need to hold themselves responsible to attempt only evidence-based strategies to achieve self-managed weight control.

Let us all continue the conversation to help:

  • Alert public awareness to the forces driving #overeating and #obesity
  • Reduce the increasing rate of obesity in the USA, and the world

Health Quiz: 80% of Americans are Deficient in This Vital Mineral.

Take this quiz to determine if you are too!

There is a single mineral that most American’s are very deficient in, causing a long list of health issues. Mildred Seelig, an expert researcher, called this mineral, “the silent guardian of our hearts and arteries…necessary for life.”  Being deficient can wreak havoc in your body, opening doors to many unwelcome symptoms and diseases, such as arthritis.

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Best and Worst Protein Sources for Arthritis

With July being National Juvenile Arthritis month, we’re going to honour the young ones who endure daily pain and discuss various foods that help and hurt this particular condition.

Whether you or a loved one have this condition, another disease, or are considered healthy, it is vital to eat as healthy as possible. Of course this includes reducing or eliminating:

  • Processed foods
  • White sugar products
  • White flour products
  • Soda’s, fruit juices, and juice crystals

A typical healthy diet consists of eating a variety of natural foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grain carbohydrates, and proteins. This variety helps both children’s bodies and minds, as well as our own, become healthy and vibrant.

But of course, not everyone enjoys optimum health with this condition being one of the fastest and largest conditions that is affecting more and more American’s every year. The Arthritis Foundation noted that juvenile arthritis affects 300,000 children throughout the United States!

Where’s the Beef?

Red meat has long been noted as one protein source that should be avoided by those with arthritis. Studies have linked red meat to significantly worsen inflammation and joint pain due to the saturated fats, cholesterol, and salt it contains. Meats to steer clear of are:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Poultry skin
  • Deli meats

Instead you can choose lean cuts. Ask your butcher for grass fed cuts of pork and beef plus skinless chicken and turkey breasts and you’ll be feeding your body with healthy, lean proteins while not causing an increase in inflammation.

Top Protein Sources!

The best source of protein for anyone with arthritis is fish. It is complete an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids to lube joints and reduce inflammation.

The American Heart Association recommends 3-4 ounces twice per week. This will give the body an excellent supply of omega-3 fatty acids which are proven to fight inflammation and reduce joint swelling. This can provide relief from morning stiffness or daily battles of pain.

The best options of fish with the highest amounts of omega-3’s are:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Halibut
  • Cod
  • Snapper
  • Bass
  • Sardines
  • Herring
  • Anchovies
  • Scallops

Since our bodies do not make omega-3 fatty acids for us, we need to consume it to reap the benefits. For those who don’t care to eat fish, taking omega-3 supplements has been found to provide similar benefits. Studies have found that arthritic patients should consume 600-1000 mg of fish oil daily in order to alleviate joint swelling, stiffness, and inflammation.

This week, we offer a recipe for inflammation-reducing salmon. Side with vegetables of your choice and enjoy!

Lemon Salmon

(serves 2)


  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 salmon fillets, boneless and skinless
  • Coarse salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Arrange half of the lemon slices on a baking dish; layer with 2 sprigs of rosemary and top with salmon fillets
  3. Sprinkle salt on salmon and layer with remaining rosemary sprigs and lemon slices; drizzle with olive oil
  4. Bake for 20 minutes in oven or until fish flakes easily with fork.





Sip Your Way to Health with These Powerful Anti-Cancer Drinks!

We’re going to switch things up this week for Fun Food Fact Friday and discuss some super-drinks that are proven to prevent and fight cancer, a disease that almost every American family has encountered.

Hooked on Java?

Hot or cold, coffee can be a very beneficial drink so ensure you enjoy a cup each day! Antioxidants found in coffee may be effective in reducing the risk of skin cancer, as per a study published in Cancer Research.

Harvard Medical School also performed a study where they found people who consumes at least 3 cups of caffeinated coffee every day had the least amount of skin cancer risk. The caffeine is strong enough to destroy UV-damaged cells! Along with preventing strokes, dementia, type 2 diabetes, and depression you can feel confident drinking your daily cup…but remember not to have more than 5 cups as this can become unhealthy, not to mention your sleep patterns may decline.

If you’re not a fan of coffee but still want the caffeine benefits, you don’t have to sabotage your healthy diet by grabbing handfuls of dark chocolate. Green tea is another favorite among millions for its multitude of health benefits as it’s packed full of antioxidants. And since it does not need to be highly processed to consume, unlike other teas on the market, the minerals contained in green tea are still active to combat melanoma.

Not only can it help prevent this disease but it is also powerful at destroying existing tumors. While not many studies have been performed on green tea versus existing diseased cells, one study used melanoma patients who consumed green tea during a trial and one-third of the patients showed a significant reduction in diseased cells. Very promising!

The Perfect Nightcap!

Do you enjoy a glass of red wine with your dinner? Perfect! It has been found that people who frequently drink a glass of red wine have the lowest cancer occurrences. Once prescribed as a-drink-a-day to improve heart health is now used to fight this disease. Study after study has proven that red wine contains resveratrol which blocks the cancer-causing results which can often occur from consuming alcohol.

A study performed by the University of Colorado Cancer Center, was published in the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology journal. It explained that the more alcohol one consumes, the greater DNA damage results. But, the resveratrol in red wine actually destroys the damaged DNA cells which have the highest risk of becoming cancer.

Although this isn’t the “cure-all” fix nor is it a doctor’s approval to consume as much red wine as you like, remember to drink in moderation – a simple glass at dinner and you’ll increase your chances of preventing melanoma cells from taking form!

New Studies are Promising.

One specific, delicious antioxidant juice is pomegranate juice. Over the past few years, it became a huge health-craze as people drank it up to reap its antiaging and well-being effects. But now, this juice is shown to effect breast and prostate cancer as it slows the diseased cell growth. While more studies need to be done, this juice does have potential to become a great factor in the fight against this deadly disease.

This week’s recipe is a fruity, anti-cancer tea that you can enjoy cold…on a hot summer afternoon.

Mango Green Tea

Mango Green Tea

Mango Green Tea

(serves 30 – can cut down recipe for smaller portions)

**Please note, cut the mango and ginger root 1 day ahead of when you plan to make the tea!


  • ½ hard mango or 1 peach
  • 2” piece of ginger root
  • 1 cup green tea leaves
  • 2 tbsp. dried calendula flowers (a Marigold variety), crumbled


  1. Peel mango and slice crosswise into 1/8” slices
  2. Slice ginger root into 1/8” slices
  3. Place both on racks and dry at room temperature until brittle (24 hours)
  4. Cut mango into ¼” long pieces
  5. In a bowl, combine dried mango, ginger, tea leaves, and calendula
  6. Spoon into a bag or airtight jar.

Common Fruit Shown to Destroy Cancer Cells!

The University of Texas’s, MD Anderson Cancer Center, noted that research found up to one-third of the 1.4 million cases of cancer which occur every year within the United States may be prevented by making healthier choices with meals.

Eating the right foods has more than proven an effective means to lower your risk of cancer. And with so many delicious, anticancer choices, one specific, powerful, protective fruit tops the charts…and there are over 600 varieties of this single fruit!

Strawberries. Deliciously sweet, fragrant, and colorful, they are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and help not only to prevent cancer but also:

  • Protect against heart disease
  • Boost cognitive abilities
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Help regulate blood sugar levels

Can They Really Stop Cancer in Its Tracks?

A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found strawberries to contain plenty of quercetin which causes cancer cells to self-destruct during the process of “apoptosis.” Quercetin dramatically reduced cell capability up to 80% after only eighteen hours of treatment using a strawberry extract!

Strawberries have been scientifically proven to have a huge impact on cancer cells within the colon. They also contain flavonoids that stop enzymes which are linked to lung cancer and damage your DNA. The American Institute for Cancer Research has found this fruit may even prevent cancer of the:

  • Mouth
  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Ovarian
  • Breast
  • Leukemia

The anticancer properties found in strawberries boost up certain enzymes that terminate cancer-causing elements while slowing tumor growth.

The fiber and antioxidants like vitamin C, found in strawberries are an excellent and easy way to protect your body from cell damage which can lead to various cancers, especially the esophagus, colon, and breast.

Ellagic acid is also a strong component found in this berry which is also known to help prevent various cancers as it uses many combating methods to fight cancer at one time.

With these results, it is safe to say that strawberries should be in everyone’s diet to take action preventing cancer.

One Small Berry = Endless Health Benefits

By consuming sweet strawberries frequently, you can help your body:

  • Prevent cancer
  • Combat cancerous cells
  • Eliminate damaged cells
  • Hydrate skin
  • Combat aging
  • And so much more!

There are many easy ways to add more of these low glycemic index berries into your diet such as adding them to yogurt or cereal for breakfast, making strawberry smoothies, and even bake them into bran muffins!

And by topping healthy food choices off with regular exercise and not smoking can boost your prevention actions farther.

Here is a thick, delicious, anti-cancer smoothie that you can enjoy anytime!

Strawberry Smoothie

Strawberry Smoothie

Strawberry Smoothie

(makes 2 x 8 ounce glasses)


  • 4 large strawberries
  • ¼ cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1 medium banana
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. honey


  1. Remove strawberry stems and wash
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Top Healthy Fats for Fighting Cancer!

June celebrates National Cancer Survivor’s and there are literally thousands of heart-warming stories of how they became survivors. Some went through traditional treatments, others alternative; some laughed and some turned their diet and lifestyle inside out.

Research has found that certain healthy fats may help fight and prevent cancer…and they are delicious! Not only are healthy fats essential for our heart health but they also can manage inflammation.

Slash Cancer Risk by 41% with Omega 3’s!

One of the top fats that should be consumed is Omega 3 fatty acids. Research has shown it manages genes to lower the risk of cancer. Omega 3 fats are those such as:

  • Wild salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Flaxseeds
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds

Walnuts are packed with phystosterols which Dr. Elaine Hardman, PhD, an associate professor at Marshall University School of Medicine in West Virginia, says walnuts have been shown to block estrogen receptors in regards with breast cancer cells – and walnuts may slow the cell’s growth!

When consuming more omega 3 fats, specifically from fish, the risk of colorectal cancer is slashed by a whopping 41%, as per a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Another study in the same journal showed that those who consumed the most omega-3 fats lowered their risk of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 40% more than those who ate less of these fats.

Meant for More than Guacamole…

Avocados are another top healthy fat as it’s loaded with monounsaturated fats (MUFA’s). They are shown to help prevent cancer, protect the heart and balance blood sugar. Other MUFA’s consist of:

  • Olive oil
  • Macadamia nuts (and oil)
  • Avocado oil

Many researchers agree that MUFA’s were a large source of our ancestor’s diets – who were disease-free!

Blocks All 3 Stages of Cancer!

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is commonly known for its fat-burning abilities but did you know that CLA combats cancer risk? CLA’s are found in:

  • Milk
  • Grass-fed meat

Nutrition and Cancer published a study in which women slashed their risk of breast cancer by consuming higher amounts of CLA via grass-fed meats and dairy. Other studies have shown that CLA can actually block all three stages (initiation, promotion, and metastasis) and is effective when fighting tumors and skin, breast, prostate, and colon cancers.

Dr. Josh Axe advises changing “bad fats” for “good fats”. He classifies bad fats as causes of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and many other health issues. Anything hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, trans fats, canola oil, soybean oil, and vegetable oils are ones to steer clear of.

Instead, choose good fats that protect your body, aid hormone production, anti-inflammation, and weight loss!

Below is a delicious recipe using multiple healthy fats. Your taste buds will rejoice for while your body is being protected against cancer.

Roasted Salmon with Pesto Vegetables

(serves 4)













  • 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices bread, torn
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4×6 ounce skinless salmon fillets
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup pesto


  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss peppers, onion, and bread in olive oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Nestle salmon fillets into mixture and season with ¾ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper.
  4. Roast until salmon is opaque and vegetables are tender, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Top with pesto and serve.