To Your Health: New Food Facts and an Update on Lyme Disease

A diet allegedly eliminates cholesterol without sacrificing red meat and dairy products; a study on how the way one eats affects digestion; links between caffeine and infertility, between soy protein and reduced stomach acid, and smoking and cholesterol levels; plus an experimental drug treatment for osteoporosis.

| July/August 1989

  • Vegetable Organs
    Research has made the old adage, "You are what you eat" seem to be much more than a tired cliché.

  • Vegetable Organs

Recent research has made that old adage, "You are what you eat," seem to be much more than a tired cliché. Here are just a few items from the food front (as well as the latest update on Lyme disease), as reported by the editors of American Health, a magazine that stays on top of the latest in medical research, separates fad from fact and helps you preserve and improve life's most precious gift—your good health.

The Eat-More Diet

Can you actually lower your cholesterol level without giving up red meat, dairy foods or eggs? "Yes," says Rita Dougherty, R.D., of the USDA's Western Human Nutrition Research Center in San Francisco. Chances are that you'll lose weight, too, while getting more vitamins and minerals than ever before.

For 40 days, seven men with an average blood cholesterol of 218 and an average blood pressure of 135/85 (both higher than ideal) were allowed to eat the same number of calories as they normally did, but instead of getting between 40 and 44% of those calories from fat and downing an average of 600 mg of cholesterol a day, they got only 25% of the calories from fat and only 300 mg of cholesterol. To accomplish this, fat was trimmed from all meats, skin was removed from all fowl, margarine replaced butter, skim milk replaced whole, and vegetable oil was used instead of animal cooking fats. Since carbohydrates and proteins have less than half the calories of fat, the men ate more food to keep calories the same, but it was in the form of grains, vegetables and fruits. By the end of the study, their average blood cholesterol dropped to 185 and average blood pressure to 124/79.

A Cup of Infertility

A study recently completed by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences indicates that women who consume more than one cup of coffee daily (or its caffeine equivalent) are only half as likely to get pregnant per menstrual cycle as those who drink less. The good news is, the effects may be quickly reversed. Only caffeine consumed during the three months before the study began was found to be a factor in its results.

Dr. Allen Wilcox, the epidemiologist who headed the study, noted that genetic differences in metabolizing caffeine could also lead to differences in susceptibility: "There were women in our study who were very heavy caffeine drinkers and yet conceived right away." Other women, he says, might be adversely affected by far smaller amounts. His advice? "If a woman has been trying to get pregnant for several months, she ought to know that scientists have noted some connection between caffeine and fertility. Then she should make her own judgment."

Tofu for Tummies

In preliminary studies at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Dallas, researchers have found that when healthy people eat soy protein, they produce 30 to 40% less stomach acid than when they eat the same amount of beef protein. It's too early to tell whether this effect holds true for a real world mixed meal, but the results are intriguing enough to encourage the scientists to continue their work.

7/11/2014 2:19:54 AM

I had no idea coffee is linked to infertility, I like to drink it on a daily basis so perhaps this is the reason why I couldn't conceive so far. I'll make sure to stop drinking it for a while and see what happens, but if I still can't get pregnant then the solution I found on might be my last chance to have a baby.


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