1. "Shocking" study finds the key to weight loss

    "Shocking" study finds the key to weight loss

    I don't have the numbers handy, but I think it's safe to say that the diet industry in this country is a multi-billion dollar a year concern. Low carb diets. No carb diets. Salmon diets. Fruit diets. Diet for zones and diets for flat bellies. If you were to sit down and dream up the wackiest diet imaginable - let's say "the ice cream diet" - chances are, it already exists.

    But though diet fads come and go, there's one simple truth about dieting that seems to get overlooked in all the hype: the most important part of a diet is not what you eat, but how much you eat. And finally, there's a new study that's been published in no less than the New England Journal of Medicine that states the less you eat, the more likely you are to lose weight.

    Yes. It's that easy.

    Dr. Frank Sacks, a professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at Harvard School of Public Health, and his team examined put more than 800 overweight participants on one of four typical diet plans: high-fat/high protein, high-fat/average protein, low-fat/low protein, and low-fat/high protein. And after six months, the average weight loss in all four groups was 13 pounds. There was no difference between them at all!

    "On average, no one diet was better than another," Dr. Sacks said. Regardless of the kinds of food that each of these diets contained, the one constant was the fact that they all strictly regulated caloric intake. And in the end, that's the trick.

    And Americans also have the attention span of an over-caffeinated Chihuahua, and so rarely follow ANY diet with any consistency.

    This may all be true, but no one's talking about the most important point of all: Just because you lose a few pounds on a particular diet doesn't mean it's good for you. Your jeans might look great, but if you're a walking time bomb, what difference does it make?

    In the April issue of The Douglass Report, I discuss my simple, 3-step plan for healthy weight - and a healthy body.

    Click here to sign up for The Douglass Report today!

    The secret to getting kids to eat their veggies

    We humans have a tendency to favor things that sound easy or even improbable - especially when it comes to food. And it turns out that parents could be able to turn this to their advantage.

    When Cornell University researchers found out that four-year-olds were twice as likely to eat "X-ray vision carrots" than just plain old "carrots." Chalk one up for the power of suggestion, huh?

    "Whether it be 'power peas' or 'dinosaur broccoli trees, giving food a fun name makes kids think it will be more fun to eat," according to study author Brian Wansink says.

    As the author of the book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, Wansink has examined peoples' relationship with food before.

    But before you think that adults are immune to this sort of thing, keep in mind the above discussion about fad diets (doesn't the "Flat Belly Diet" sound better than just the "Lose Weight Diet?"), and another restaurant study which found a "Succulent Italian Seafood Filet" sold 28 percent better than the "Seafood Filet."

  2. Flu shots fall short…again

    Flu shots fall shortagain

    Remember that shot you got in the arm at the beginning of last winter to ward off the flu? Well, turns out it didn't work (which was no shock to me - I think all vaccinations are both needless and potentially dangerous). According to reports, this year's flu season was the worst in three years - and they're saying it's because the virus that so many people had injected into their systems was completely ineffective against the flu.

    So you had some strange flu virus injected into your system for no reason at all. That should make you feel great, huh?

    The last time the flu season was this bad was the winter of 2003-2004, which was also blamed on the fact that the inoculation addressed the wrong virus. What's more disturbing is that a flu season is graded on the number of adult deaths from flu or pneumonia throughout the country. And this year, flu and pneumonia accounted for a whopping 9 percent of all reported deaths in early March.

    But the CDC doesn't see failure even when it's staring them in the face. Even though the deputy director of the CDC's influenza division, Dr. Dan Jernigan, was forced to admit that this year's vaccine was "not a good match," he chose to look at the bright side that it "still offered 44% protection overall."

    Yep. "Protection" for less than half of the millions who received the vaccine, with a spike in deaths in early March. Even with sorry stats like that, the CDC and the healthcare community will surely plough ahead with their support of vaccine programs.

    The CDC's big fear in all this? Not that the vaccine didn't work, but that people could potentially "lose faith" in the flu vaccine and skip it all together next year. I, for one, fervently hope that's exactly what happens. If the public perception of failure can help gain more anti-vaccination converts, I'll consider that a victory.

    My favorite nutrient gets another boost

    I've long been a fan of folic acid. Decades ago, I was singing the praises of this health- boosting nutrient. And now a new study is once again making me look like a genius who is way ahead of his time (because, let's face it: I am!). Researchers in the United Kingdom and Korea have discovered that a folate deficiency could make you over three times more likely to develop dementia.

    This research is of particular importance since many experts believe that the incidence of Alzheimer's could actually quadruple by the year 2047. Alzheimer's already affects over 13 million people worldwide. Quadruple that number, and it's equivalent of giving Alzheimer's to the entire population of Italy. Sobering stuff. If that's not an international health crisis in the making, I don't know what is.

    But reducing the risk of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia is just the beginning. Folate has more benefits than you can shake the proverbial stick at. It helps combat heart disease since it decreases the circulating level of homocysteine, an amino acid that occurs naturally in the blood and can lead to dangerous blood clots. It also helps prevent strokes. Plus, diets high in folate have also been associated with decreased incidence of colorectal cancer. Should I go on, or are you already converted?

    Best of all, folate comes in tasty, natural packages - and some of the most commonly consumed foods. In fact, you'd probably have to go out of your way to dodge folate intake. Rich sources of folate include leafy veggies like spinach, lettuce, and turnip greens.

    Just make sure you don't overcook those veggies. When you boil them, you end up pouring most of the folate down the drain. Eating raw spinach is OK, but you get four times as much folate when you eat sauted chicken livers served pink.

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