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    New York Times articles

    Mediterranean Diet Shown to Ward Off Heart Attack and Stroke



    By Mac William Bishop, Ben Werschkul, Lisa Desai, Channon Hodge and Pedro Rafael Rosado
    The Benefits of Olive Oil: The Times’s Gina Kolata on a study looking at a Mediterranean diet.


    By GINA KOLATA

    Published: February 25, 2013 974 Comments



    About 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, and even drink wine with meals, a large and rigorous new study has found.

    Recipes for Your Mediterranean Diet

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    The findings, published on The New England Journal of Medicine’s Web site on Monday, were based on the first major clinical trial to measure the diet’s effect on heart risks. The magnitude of the diet’s benefits startled experts. The study ended early, after almost five years, because the results were so clear it was considered unethical to continue.
    The diet helped those following it even though they did not lose weight and most of them were already taking statins, or blood pressure or diabetes drugs to lower their heart disease risk.
    “Really impressive,” said Rachel Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. “And the really important thing — the coolest thing — is that they used very meaningful endpoints. They did not look at risk factors like cholesterol or hypertension or weight. They looked at heart attacks and strokes and death. At the end of the day, that is what really matters.”
    Until now, evidence that the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of heart disease was weak, based mostly on studies showing that people from Mediterranean countries seemed to have lower rates of heart disease — a pattern that could have been attributed to factors other than diet.
    And some experts had been skeptical that the effect of diet could be detected, if it existed at all, because so many people are already taking powerful drugs to reduce heart disease risk, while other experts hesitated to recommend the diet to people who already had weight problems, since oils and nuts have a lot of calories.
    Heart disease experts said the study was a triumph because it showed that a diet was powerful in reducing heart disease risk, and it did so using the most rigorous methods. Scientists randomly assigned 7,447 people in Spain who were overweight, were smokers, or had diabetes or other risk factors for heart disease to follow the Mediterranean diet or a low-fat one.
    Low-fat diets have not been shown in any rigorous way to be helpful, and they are also very hard for patients to maintain — a reality borne out in the new study, said Dr. Steven E. Nissen, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
    “Now along comes this group and does a gigantic study in Spain that says you can eat a nicely balanced diet with fruits and vegetables and olive oil and lower heart disease by 30 percent,” he said. “And you can actually enjoy life.”
    The study, by Dr. Ramon Estruch, a professor of medicine at the University of Barcelona, and his colleagues, was long in the planning. The investigators traveled the world, seeking advice on how best to answer the question of whether a diet alone could make a big difference in heart disease risk. They visited the Harvard School of Public Health several times to consult Dr. Frank M. Sacks, a professor of cardiovascular disease prevention there.
    In the end, they decided to randomly assign subjects at high risk of heart disease to three groups. One would be given a low-fat diet and counseled on how to follow it. The other two groups would be counseled to follow a Mediterranean diet. At first the Mediterranean dieters got more intense support. They met regularly with dietitians while members of the low-fat group just got an initial visit to train them in how to adhere to the diet, followed by a leaflet each year on the diet. Then the researchers decided to add more intensive counseling for them, too, but they still had difficulty staying with the diet.
    One group assigned to a Mediterranean diet was given extra-virgin olive oil each week and was instructed to use at least 4 four tablespoons a day. The other group got a combination of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts and was instructed to eat about an ounce of the mix each day. An ounce of walnuts, for example, is about a quarter cup — a generous handful. The mainstays of the diet consisted of at least three servings a day of fruits and at least two servings of vegetables. Participants were to eat fish at least three times a week and legumes, which include beans, peas and lentils, at least three times a week. They were to eat white meat instead of red, and, for those accustomed to drinking, to have at least seven glasses of wine a week with meals.
    They were encouraged to avoid commercially made cookies, cakes and pastries and to limit their consumption of dairy products and processed meats.


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    A version of this article appeared in print on February 26, 2013, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Mediterranean Diet Shown to Ward Off Heart Attack and Stroke.






    How many more studies will it take before the American dietary establishment concedes that the low-fat, carbohydrate-rich diet it has been pushing for the last 40 years is a tragic mistake? There is nothing magically protective about olive oil, fish and nuts. What improves heart attack risk is probably simply the replacement of some starches and grains with some fats and proteins. Cut the carbs and death rates go down.


    This study proves what has been evident so long--based on lower rates of heart disease and deaths due to heart attack and stroke in many European populations, including the French.

    Strict adherence to artificial low fat diets, an obsession with a BMI between 19 and 25 aren't the deciding factors.

    It's what you're eating--and real food.

    I hope this study changes the way we eat, and more important, shifts our obsession from "risk factors" to changes that actually modify clinical outcomes
    Last edited by Lampada; March 24th, 2013 at 01:09 AM.

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    Mediterranean Diet Shown to Ward Off Heart Attack and Stroke

    Published: February 25, 2013 974 Comments

    (Page 2 of 2)

    To assess compliance with the Mediterranean diet, researchers measured levels of a marker in urine of olive oil consumption — hydroxytyrosol — and a blood marker of nut consumption — alpha-linolenic acid.

    Recipes for Your Mediterranean Diet

    A sampling of Mediterranean-style recipes from The New York Times.







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    The participants stayed with the Mediterranean diet, the investigators reported. But those assigned to a low-fat diet did not lower their fat intake very much. So the study wound up comparing the usual modern diet, with its regular consumption of red meat, sodas and commercial baked goods, with a diet that shunned all that.
    Dr. Estruch said he thought the effect of the Mediterranean diet was due to the entire package, not just the olive oil or nuts. He did not expect, though, to see such a big effect so soon. “This is actually really surprising to us,” he said.
    The researchers were careful to say in their paper that while the diet clearly reduced heart disease for those at high risk for it, more research was needed to establish its benefits for people at low risk. But Dr. Estruch said he expected it would also help people at both high and low risk, and suggested that the best way to use it for protection would be to start in childhood.
    Not everyone is convinced, though. Dr. Caldwell Blakeman Esselstyn Jr., the author of the best seller “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure,” who promotes a vegan diet and does not allow olive oil, dismissed the study.
    His views and those of another promoter of a very-low-fat diet, Dr. Dean Ornish, president of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute, have influenced many to try to become vegan. Former President Bill Clinton, interviewed on CNN, said Dr. Esselstyn’s and Dr. Ornish’s writings helped convince him that he could reverse his heart disease in that way.
    Dr. Esselstyn said those in the Mediterranean diet study still had heart attacks and strokes. So, he said, all the study showed was that “the Mediterranean diet and the horrible control diet were able to create disease in people who otherwise did not have it.”
    Others hailed the study.
    “This group is to be congratulated for carrying out a study that is nearly impossible to do well,” said Dr. Robert H. Eckel, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado and a past president of the American Heart Association.
    As for the researchers, they have changed their own diets and are following a Mediterranean one, Dr. Estruch said.
    “We have all learned,” he said.

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    Почтенный гражданин capecoddah's Avatar
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    Eat less, exercise more.

    6' 4" (193.04cm), 180+ lbs (81.6466 Kg), 36 in (91.44cm) waist.
    I've been 39 years of age for a while now. My waist expanded 3 years ago. Metabolism is slower. I eat less.

    I am active in the summer and sedentary in the winter. I adjust my caloric intake accordingly.
    12 Cokes a week, not 24. 24 beers a week, not ∞. 1 batch of cookies/ brownies every 2 weeks. Potato chips + dip ONLY after shoveling snow/ raking leaves. 1/3 pizza not 1/2. Captain's/King's Cut to Mate's/Queen's Cut Prime Rib..

    You get the idea.

    Best exercise is Push Away From The Table and Say "No Thank You",
    I'm easily amused late at night...

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    If I remember correctly, the peak of Mediterranean Diet hype was in late 1990's - early 2000's. It's funny that New York Times published this exciting "new" information this year. Slowpokes?

    As for my opinion, I think that any diet involving healthy food in moderate quontities is great, but I doubt anyone can recreate the "mediterranean effect" just by eating more nuts and fish, or whatever. I believe that any "healthy" or "unhealthy" effect is a combination of local (fresh!) food, climate, national lifestyle (sedate or active), even mentality.

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    Shuffleboard? Oh, Maybe Let’s Get High Instead Michael F. McElroy for The New York Times
    Cher Neufer of Akron, Ohio, started smoking marijuana at 21 and still indulges with her friends. “It’s just a social thing,” she said.

    By ALYSON KRUEGER

    Published: March 22, 2013



    For Cher Neufer, a 65-year-old retired teacher, socializing with friends (all in their 60s) means using marijuana. Once a week they get together to play Texas Hold ’Em poker “and pass around a doobie,” Ms. Neufer said.


    Vickie Hoffman is organizing a Missouri chapter of Grannies for Grass.


    When company stops by her home in Akron, Ohio, she offers a joint, and when it’s someone’s birthday, a bong is prepared. She even hosts summer campfires where the older folk listen to the Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles; eat grilled steaks and hot dogs; and get high (not necessarily in that order).
    “It’s nice,” Ms. Neufer said. “It’s just a social thing. It’s like when people get together, and they crack open their beers.”
    Statistics suggest that more members of the older generations, like Ms. Neufer, are using marijuana.
    The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported in 2011 that 6.3 percent of adults between the ages of 50 and 59 used the drug. That number has risen from 2.7 percent in 2002.
    And anecdotal evidence points to much of this use being sociable rather than medical.

    When 70-year-old Robert Platshorn, a marijuana activist who was jailed for three decades after dealing the drug, moved into a gated community in West Palm Beach, Fla., three years ago, he said he “met people in my development who were looking strange at me.” Now, he said, couples invite him to their condominiums to get high together (Mr. Platshorn insisted he never accepts these offers).

    Moms for Marijuana International, a pro-marijuana group that brings people together to socialize and learn about the positive aspects of the plant, has received so many queries from older people over the past year that it is creating chapters called Grannies for Grass in Illinois, Ohio and Missouri.
    “There are groups out there that have trivia night and they have get-togethers,” said Vickie Hoffman, 46, a grandmother of three and a former bartender who is organizing the Missouri chapter. “It is fun, and it’s a group of great people.”
    Mason Tvert, the communication director of the Marijuana Policy Project, a group that works to change marijuana laws, said he started consuming marijuana about two years ago with his grandparents, Helen and Leo Shuller, who are 82 and 88. Now, when they get together, they “have a little bit off the vaporizer,” he said, either before or after dinner, and enjoy the effects.
    The dinners aren’t “centered around using marijuana, like a little invitation with a leaf on it,” Mr. Tvert hastened to point out. “There just happens to be marijuana available.”
    It makes sense that the baby boom generation and people a little younger might be more casual and open about marijuana use; after all, they grew up in the ’60s and ’70s, when getting high was the norm. According to Richard J. Bonnie, the author of “Marijuana Conviction: A History of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States,” in 1971 a national commission on marijuana drug use even recommended decriminalizing the drug, something that, for many people, was “recognized as a perfectly sensible proposal,” he said.
    Some pot smokers of decades ago simply never stopped indulging with their friends. Indeed, Ms. Neufer, a self-proclaimed hippie (“I will be forever in my heart, and in my mind,” she said), started smoking at 21 and has been growing pot in her backyard and organizing drug-fueled sing-a-longs ever since.
    She pointed out that those who have moved on from corporate work might feel more comfortable revealing and sharing their marijuana use.
    “Most of us are either retiring or are retired,” Ms. Neufer said. “You don’t have to worry about your job knowing, so it’s a little easier for us. I don’t care if you use my name, I don’t care if they know!”


    Though, she added, “I know a lot of professional people who still have high-level jobs are still very nervous about it.” (In Ohio, possessing or using small amounts of marijuana is a minor misdemeanor.)

    It also helps, perhaps, that most are empty nesters, no longer concerned with setting a good example for their children or having drugs within reach of minors. Many grandparents “are at a stage in their life where it doesn’t make a difference,” said Diane-Marie Williams, executive director of administration of Moms for Marijuana International and a grandmother herself. “They’ve raised their families, they’ve done their careers, and at this point I think they are saying, ‘O.K., I’m not jeopardizing my family.’ ”

    Marijuana’s legal strides have also made it a lot easier for people to publicize or at least not hide their drug use.
    “It did so much good having Washington and Colorado legalize, having 18 states that have medical, and 14 more states that have decriminalized,” Mr. Platshorn said. “That helps people come out of the closet.”
    Mr. and Ms. Shuller, for example, made it clear that they use marijuana only with their family when they are in states where it is decriminalized or legal for medical reasons.
    “That’s maybe something they would find troubling,” Mr. Tvert said about his grandparents. “To break the law.”
    And the drug’s therapeutic effects, which have been more accepted by the medical world in recent years, offer further incentive.
    Ms. Hoffman, who lives in Grubville, Mo. (population about 100), has Crohn’s disease and other medical problems. She said she barely has the energy to socialize without the drug.
    “Me getting around is a little bit rough,” she said, but after using marijuana, she feels healthier. “I can do more things. We play croquet. We do things out in the yard, and if I don’t have it I can barely walk across the floor. It’s a big pick-me-up.”
    Ms. Shuller, who has arthritis in almost every part of her body, said she loves how pot relieves her pain without leaving her with the negative side effects of painkillers or alcohol.
    “I had never tried it before,” she said of her first time consuming the drug two years ago, “and it didn’t bother me at all. It felt good, and it’s certainly better than alcohol, which is draggy and sometimes leaves you sick.”
    So many older people value how the drug makes them feel, Ms. Williams said, that they even cook with the cannabis, putting it on salads or in the tea they drink before they go to bed. They also exchange recipes online through the Moms for Marijuana International Web site.
    Ms. Hoffman said, “All my friends are as educated on the subject as I am, and if they aren’t, I keep trying to make them.”
    Ms. Neufer added: “It’s like as you get older, it’s not something you do all the time, but you still do it. It’s still something you like. It still makes you feel good.”

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    The Scientific 7-Minute Workout - NYTimes.com



    " This column appears in the May 12 issue of The New York Times Magazine.

    Exercise science is a fine and intellectually fascinating thing. But sometimes you just want someone to lay out guidelines for how to put the newest fitness research into practice.
    An article in the May-June issue of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal does just that. In 12 exercises deploying only body weight, a chair and a wall, it fulfills the latest mandates for high-intensity effort, which essentially combines a long run and a visit to the weight room into about seven minutes of steady discomfort — all of it based on science.

    “There’s very good evidence” that high-intensity interval training provides “many of the fitness benefits of prolonged endurance training but in much less time,” says Chris Jordan, the director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla., and co-author of the new article.

    Work by scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and other institutions shows, for instance, that even a few minutes of training at an intensity approaching your maximum capacity produces molecular changes within muscles comparable to those of several hours of running or bike riding.

    Interval training, though, requires intervals; the extremely intense activity must be intermingled with brief periods of recovery. In the program outlined by Mr. Jordan and his colleagues, this recovery is provided in part by a 10-second rest between exercises. But even more, he says, it’s accomplished by alternating an exercise that emphasizes the large muscles in the upper body with those in the lower body. During the intermezzo, the unexercised muscles have a moment to, metaphorically, catch their breath, which makes the order of the exercises important.

    The exercises should be performed in rapid succession, allowing 30 seconds for each, while, throughout, the intensity hovers at about an 8 on a discomfort scale of 1 to 10, Mr. Jordan says. Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done. "

    Comments!!!

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/he...anted=all&_r=1&


    No Benefit Seen in Sharp Limits on Salt in DietBy GINA KOLATA

    Published: May 14, 2013 306 Comments


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    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/ma...iome.html?_r=0


    Some of My Best Friends Are Germs Hannah Whitaker for The New York Times. Prop stylist: Emily Mullin.



    By MICHAEL POLLAN

    Published: May 15, 2013 165 Comments

    I can tell you the exact date that I began to think of myself in the first-person plural — as a superorganism, that is, rather than a plain old individual human being. It happened on March 7. That’s when I opened my e-mail to find a huge, processor-choking file of charts and raw data from a laboratory located at the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder. As part of a new citizen-science initiative called the American Gut project, the lab sequenced my microbiome — that is, the genes not of “me,” exactly, but of the several hundred microbial species with whom I share this body. These bacteria, which number around 100 trillion, are living (and dying) right now on the surface of my skin, on my tongue and deep in the coils of my intestines, where the largest contingent of them will be found, a pound or two of microbes together forming a vast, largely uncharted interior wilderness that scientists are just beginning to map. ...






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    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/op..._20130610&_r=2


    Opinion

    Don’t Take Your Vitamins

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