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Pile of Refined SugarExtra, extra…! Sugar found to be deadly to people with heart disease. So says a recent study published in the latest JAMA Internal Medicine (published online February 03, 2014). Not only are most Americans consuming more than the safest amounts of daily sugar, but 1 in 10 are taking in twenty five percent or more of their daily calories from the sweet stuff. And the results showed that those people taking in the most sugar have an increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The study, a prospective cohort of a nationally representative sample of US adults taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of 1998-2010, looked at the diets of more than 30,000 American adults aged 44 on average, and did fifteen years of follow up to analyze death risk as it related to sugar and CVD. The results, according to Lead author Quanhe Yang of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, were “sobering”.

Study participants were divided into five groups according to sugar intake, from less than 10 percent of daily calories—the safest amount—to more than 25%. As sugar intake increased so did the risk of dying from heart disease, and it did so significantly.

Cocaine sugar drugs heart diseasePeople getting more than 25% of their daily calories from sugar had a nearly three times increased risk of dying from CVD when compared to people getting the least amount.

For those who got more than 15%—equivalent to about two cans of soda out of 2,000 calories daily—the risk was almost 20% higher than the safest level. If you don’t know, a 12-ounce can of non-diet soda contains about 9 teaspoons of sugar or about 140 calories. US government dietary guidelines issued in 2010 say “empty” calories including those from added sugars should account for no more than 15% of total daily calories. Despite this, there is no universal consensus on how much sugar is too much.

Researchers focused on sugar added to processed foods or drinks, or sprinkled in coffee or cereal. Many “regular” foods have added sugar, including many brands of packaged bread, tomato sauce and salad dressing. Naturally occurring sugar, in fruit and some other foods, wasn’t counted.

“Too much sugar does not just make us fat; it can also make us sick,” said Laura Schmidt, a health policy specialist at the University of California, San Francisco. And says Dr. Jonathan Purnell, a professor at Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cardiovascular Institute, that while the research doesn’t prove “sugar can cause you to die of a heart attack”, it adds to a growing body of circumstantial evidence suggesting that limiting sugar intake can lead to healthier, longer lives.

sugar damageYes I will step out on limb here and say that sugar might be one of if not the major factor in the high incidence of CVD in western society. Heart disease has risen right along with the prevalence of adding sugar to everything from snacks to “staples,” and my observation in doctor school was that, along with tobacco and alcohol, sugar led to the greatest damage to human physiology. Not just heart disease, but diabetes, vascular disease, liver damage, ocular disease, kidney disease…and the list goes on and on.

We have been chasing one dead end after another when it comes to causes of heart disease, including the current favorite: elevated cholesterol. But despite a few modest improvements, heart disease remains the number one killer in the US. Well can we please start looking a little harder at sugar now, then? Duh—even with regard to the obesity epidemic, sugar is not taken as seriously as some other far reaching theories like genetics and hormones. C’mon

drugs cocaine

Drugs cocaine and sugar equally hard to kick

Listen, many of us that think about health regularly have suspected sugar as major detriment to health for a long time. I can tell you from my own experience that significantly reducing sugar from my diet (I’m not 100%)—which I did almost five years ago—was harder than quitting smoking or drugs/alcohol. The stuff is mega-addictive! Processed foods with massive amounts of hidden sugar are some of the most popular dishes in America, so it isn’t too hard to see why most are getting unhealthy amounts of sugar in their daily intake (the average American consumes forty four pounds of sugar per year).

And don’t think cold hard cash isn’t a factor in our delayed approach to looking at sugar, either. The sugar cartel is huge and powerful. You don’t get embedded into the world food supply at random. So really no surprises there…but really you don’t have to be another casualty. If you didn’t know before, you do now—sugar is a killer. Give it up today (or mostly, like me), and I can almost guarantee that by tomorrow (okay maybe over the next few months) you won’t miss it at all.


Surprise, surprise…Americans are getting just as many calories from booze as they are from soda. And being of the “empty” variety, calories from both booze and soda add to the girth without adding to energy stores. A government study released today has implicated alcoholic beverages for 5% of the average American’s daily caloric intake, while sodas make up 6%. But what’s the big deal? None really…except that overweight or obese Americans now make up over 60% of the population!

Think about that–being overweight or obese is the norm in the U.S. And while many heads are pounding trying to figure out one extravagant reason or another, it’s really no big mystery to me, as I’ve written extensively about it in this blog. In my 2008 book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, I described the role booze plays in weight gain,

With alcohol providing about seven calories per gram, one might mistake it for a great energy source. However, alcohol is metabolized far too slowly for it to be an efficient fuel; and therefore, it is simply converted to fat and stored. Alcohol is also very high in calories compared to carbohydrates and proteins (four calories per gram apiece), which makes it nothing more than an excellent source of weight gain. Unfortunately alcohol has no nutritional value whatsoever–no vitamins, no minerals, nothing—so the pounds it provides come without the added benefits found in food…as a dietary staple, alcohol provides little by way of nutrition.

The study found:

  • On any given day, about one-third of men and one-fifth of women consumed calories from beer, wine or liquor.
  • Averaged out to all adults, the average guy drinks 150 calories from alcohol each day, or the equivalent of a can of Budweiser.
  • The average woman drinks about 50 calories, or roughly half a glass of wine.
  • Men drink mostly beer. For women, there was no clear favorite among alcoholic beverages.
  • There was no racial or ethnic difference in average calories consumed from alcoholic beverages. But there was an age difference, with younger adults putting more of it away.

For reference, a 12-ounce can of regular Coca-Cola has 140 calories, slightly less than a same-sized can of regular Bud. A 5-ounce glass of wine is around 100 calories.

Now let me make something perfectly clear here, something I have also been very open about in this blog: I do not advocate the government placing restrictions on the sale or consumption of either alcohol or soft drinks, as New York has done. In fact, I find it ludicrous. When people need their government to step in and prevent them from becoming fat…well, that’s just pathetic. People need to wake the eff up! I’m telling you right now that booze puts on weight without any nutritional benefit. Sure, getting a buzz on is fun, but if you do it anything more than occasionally, expect to get fat, simple as that. The younger you are, the stronger the illusion of this not happening to you. I promise you with all certainty that if you drink more than occasionally, and you do it for long enough, you will wake up fat one day. G’head…prove me wrong. You’ll lose.

But, no, governments shouldn’t be stepping in and mandating smaller drinks any more than they should have done with sodas. But you might just see this become a new controversy, because as Americans continue to blow up, the powers that be will grasp for anything to try and slow it down. So drink sizes in New York may be next—you may be drinking draft beer out of shot glasses (for $20 a pop) before you know it. Just pointing out the absurdity of regulating what people do with their own bodies, that’s all.

In the end, it’s up to you. Starts with information, so now you know. Booze adds empty calories and anything more than an occasional buzz-up will lead to fatness. Your choice. But don’t cry later and demand the government abolish everyone’s’ rights to drink to fatness, because you knew. Okay that’s all, folks…

One of the biggest messages I try to put forth in this blog is that human beings are amazing self-healing, self-regulating life forms.  We operate under the laws of the universe, and as such, by obeying some very fundamental principles regarding life, our ability to experience great physical health and well-being is magnified.  It doesn’t matter whether you have any particular genetic, anatomic or physiologic disposition–you can experience great health, as well as a fulfilling life, by observing basic principles.

This is as true for the “normal” individual as it is for the ADD-labeled person.  Whenever somebody comes to me with this or that problem, my first investigation as a doctor is to find out if they are observing the basics.  So that’s what I want to finish off with regarding ADD.  It’s of mega-importance that your ADD-labeled child is practicing the healthiest lifestyle possible.  But take note, and do not mistake this very crucial point: What I discuss here is NOT a treatment regimen for ADD.  I do NOT believe that an attention deficit is a disorder, therefore nothing needs treating, especially as we would think in a mechanistic sense.  Instead, what I put forth here will allow any child to thrive physically and mentally, because these are fundamental health principles.

There are no absolutes when it comes to health.  No one practice is more important than another–let’s just get that straight right from the beginning.  Instead, health is like a puzzle, and each practice is a piece to that puzzle.  I will for brevity’s sake only touch upon each puzzle piece.  If you want more, then I highly recommend reading my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health.  In it you will find most of these points discussed in full detail, along with tips on how to best implement and maximize each practice.

First and foremost is diet and nutrition.  It should go without saying that good nutrition is paramount to a healthy functioning body, but I wonder sometimes.  Too many parents feed their children foods that are, well…suspect.  Here is a basic: foods should be whole and natural.  I’m not saying organic or hormone free or anything like that.  If that’s what you prefer, awesome!  But what I mean is “not processed”.  Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats and dairy, wholesome grains, minimal sugar, minimal fast food (or none at all, like my kids), and definitely, with no exception: NO SODA!

Soda consumption should be the biggest no-no for an ADD-labeled child.  No, I don’t think soda causes ADD.  Soda is garbage for anybody, and that much sugar consistently cannot be conducive to mental sharpness.  Sad fact is that many parents will have to kick their own liquid garbage habit, too, if they want to keep their kids off it.

Next is exercise*.  Kids need to spend time playing and moving!  Period.  It is a standard recommendation for ADD-labeled kids to exercise often, and I couldn’t agree more.  Get your kids moving everyday–that’s what our bodies (and all life forms) are meant to do.  Don’t try operating outside of universal laws and then also expect good health. *Check out this interesting article on children, exercise balls, and focus.

Next, bodywork.  If you haven’t taken your ADD-labeled child to see a chiropractor, then you are doing them a great disservice.  Subluxations (misaligned and stuck vertebrae) are extremely disruptive to the nervous system and the mind.  I have seen hundreds of children go into a state of ease and calm following a chiropractic adjustment.  Time to learn more about chiropractic and give it a try if your knowledge and experience are limited.

**Throughout these posts, a regular reader and friend, has been kind enough to share her understanding and insight of primitive movement patterns and neurological development.  I am so fascinated and intrigued by this field of study that I intend to investigate it further.  She swears by its benefits, and I respect her knowledge and judgment.  I will keep you informed as I learn more.  Thank you K.O.

Sleep is next.  But we could just as well call this rest and recuperation.  If your child is not sleeping properly, then they are aging faster and breaking down more quickly.  Sleep is essential to life.  Many metabolic and regenerative processes occur while we sleep.

And don’t discount dreaming.  Although we still understand little about this ubiquitous function, I believe it has an important role in our mental brain states (no, I do not think dreams are symbolic).

If your ADD-labeled child is on Ritalin, then I would expect his or her sleep to be disrupted, particularly deep and REM sleep.  Think about that–it’s just another way that these dangerous drugs can hurt your child.  If they are also hopped-up on soda…(sigh) heaven help them.

Next is minimizing toxins.  Lot’s of things are toxins, but the ones I find most prevalent and damaging are…drum roll pleaseprescription and over-the-counter drugs.  Nothing wrong these meds periodically when needed, but as a society, Americans are way too over-medicated.  Just look at the Ritalin numbers: 90% consumed in the U.S.  Sad.

Finally is the mental health.  When it comes to your ADD-labeled child, they want what every child (and every person, for that matter) wants–love and acceptance for who they are.  So, again, help them find what they love–they know what it is, because they do it all the time.

Be it sports, be it music, be it socializing, be it fashion–find it, nurture it, and help them be inspired by it.  Pressuring your kid–directly or passively–is not going to help.  When a child senses that you are worried, frustrated, or disappointed, they know it; and trust me this only will add to their stress and inability to perform.  Let them know you love, honor and support them in whatever they love doing, and they will reward you by excelling.  No, they may never excel in school, but plenty of people live amazing lives that were not the result of traditional schooling.

There you have it–like pieces to a puzzle.  Each one important, but neither more-so than any of the others.  In fact, they work synergistically, but I’ll leave that topic for you to read in my book.

Once again, I sincerely hope I’ve helped people facing some tough decisions regarding their own ADD-labeled child.  If I can have helped you see your beautifully unique and gifted genius in a new light, then I am pleased.  If I’ve influenced you to reject the dangerous chemical poisons that the ADD establishment wants to numb your child on, then I am honored.  If I’ve given you some ideas on how to inspire your child to be all that they can be, then I am utterly grateful that I could contribute.

Thank you for reading.

Too many kids are having to be treated for chronic constipation.  Gastroenterologists at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center report a 30% rise in these cases from 2008-2009, leading the center to open a new clinic to provide medical and behavioral therapy for children with the condition.

Constipation in children can be from poor diet and lack of activity, but the most likely cause, particularly as it relates to the current increases, is drinking too little water.  As I have pointed out previously in this blog, proper water intake is important for a multitude of metabolic processes, one being digestion and elimination.  Remember, the human body is highly intelligent; provide it with insufficient material and it will shunt what it needs, taking from one area to give to another.  Take in too little water and watch your body steal from your colon to give to other, more vital, regions.

Why are children not drinking enough water?  Gotta ask the parents.  But one thing I know for sure, being one of the most soda-consuming nations, the U.S. has plenty of children who get their fluids from liquid sugar.  Oh well.  Gotta wise up, folks; there’s always a price to pay.  Drink soda, your kid will drink soda.  Your kid drinks soda, he or she will probably bypass drinking water.  Bypass drinking water, say hello to constipation.  Cause, effect.  Your choice.

Signs of constipation in children is very often missed by parents, and it can lead to a severe or chronic case.  Things to look for are abdominal bloating and a feeling of fullness; straining with bowel movements; lumpy or hard stools and/or small pellet-like stools, accompanied by a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bowels.  Children with serious constipation may also refuse to go to the toilet for fear it will hurt; they may hide to go in a private place, or experience underwear soiling and bedwetting.  Knowing these signs can help you figure out if your child is suffering.

Finally, make sure your kid is drinking plenty of water.  Dump the soda (for yourself, too) and make water your drink of choice.  Or deal with chronic constipation if that’s what you’d prefer.

Good job America, you’re on the road to hyperglycemia–yes diabetes–and you’re doing it right.  According to officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes by 2050.  Awesome!  Eat more sugar, eat more processed junk food, you’ll get there soon enough.  Stay focused people…FOCUS!

Ten years ago, experts at the CDC estimated that as many as 39 million Americans could have diabetes by mid-century, but today they say it could be in the 76 million to 100 million range.  Nice America, don’t you love exceeding expectations?

Here’s what you can expect from your diabetes, folks:

So keep drinking them sodas, peeps; diabetes will not be far off.  I know, I know it’s tough.  Temptations lay all around us.  The inability to practice discipline in the face of desire is a human enigma that has baffled great thinkers for millennia.  But remember you do have a choice in the matter: Type 2 diabetes represents 90-95% of all diagnosed cases, and it is lifestyle related.

Those who have high levels of physical activity, a healthy diet, do not smoke, and consume alcohol in moderation have an 82% lower rate of diabetes. When a person is of  normal weight, the rate is 89% lower.  Obesity contributes to approximately 55% of type 2 diabetes cases.

So it’s up to you, folks: Want to be in the group of people without diabetes in 2050, or you want to be a 1/3er?  Got to make the choice and changes now.

Yo kid, whatcha drinkin’?  Not water, that’s for sure.  A recent study to be published in the October issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that children in the U.S. are drinking far too little water.  Since water makes up the bulk of the human body weight, getting sufficient amounts is vital.  And since we can’t store water for the long term, running on a water deficiency can wreak havoc on the health.

According to the study conducted by the Queens College of the City University of New York and the U.S. National Cancer Institute, American children drink far less than the minimum amount of water recommended by the U.S. Institute of Medicine.  The study looked at the water intake of 3,978 boys and girls, aged 2 to 19 years, who had been included in a national nutrition study from 2005 to 2006.  They found that only 15-60% of boys and 10-54% of girls, depending on age, drink enough water.  Instead, children are primarily drinking…yup, you guessed it, sugary drinks like sodas.

The study found that most kids drank sweetened beverages with meals and not plain water.  Yecchh!  And girls overall drank less water than boys.  The good news is that as children age, they start to drink a bit more water, but not enough to preserve good health.  Let’s go over some points on the importance of proper hydration:

  • Human beings cannot live without water for a few days
  • We lose approximately two liters of water per day through sweat, urine, tears, saliva and the breath, among other processes
  • Caffeinated drinks–sodas, iced tea, coffee drinks–are diuretics, which make us urinate more, thus increasing the need for water
  • Insufficient water levels lead to
  • fatigue
  • increased hunger
  • muscle weakness
  • headaches
  • dry mouth
  • heat stroke and other maladies

Furthermore, high consumption of sugary drinks leads to…yes, right again, obesity (along with other illnesses like diabetes).  And you heard childhood obesity is due to the common cold virus, now, didn’t you?

Listen, adults in the U.S. aren’t doing much better.  Sodas are still the number one consumed beverage in America.  And kids learn from their parents, so if you are a soda junkie, don’t expect less from junior.

Simple solution: stop buying soda! If you have younguns at home, don’t give them any of that crap, period.  My girls have never tasted a soda in their lives, and they won’t ever in our house.  Yes, I’m on a soapbox on this one, and I’m not getting off anytime soon.  That garbage is killing people, and I’ll keep screaming it till people listen.

Water is the elixir of life, and if you or your child are not getting enough, then you’re playing with fire.  Play with water instead, give your kids good ol’ H2O to drink and watch them flourish.  It’s in your hands parents–do the right thing.


Last post I discussed the difficulty some parents have with guiding positive change in their children’s behavior with regard to health. For instance, when facing the task of limiting television time, many parents of overweight and obese children lack confidence in laying down the law.

I believe that uncertain parents simply lack a strategy, so last post I outlined a practical strategy for limiting T.V. time for children. It’s fair, and it’ll work if parents can stick to their guns. But like I pointed out in the post, it might be harder to implement with teenagers, as poor habits get harder to break the older kids get.

As promised, I’m posting some tips on establishing healthy eating habits for families. This was another area parents of overweight and obese kids lacked confidence in implementing. Some basic rules apply* when it comes to eating well, and they are:

  • Eat primarily whole, natural foods–real food; not processed. Fruits, vegetables, real dairy (yes, butter), real meats, and low-glycemic carbs.
  • Eat primarily at home. Eating out, no matter how healthy it seems, is still inferior to cooking at home. Believe that.
  • Cut out soda–worst damn crap you can put into your body.
  • Minimize the desserts–I know this is hard with kids, but you’ve got to keep the portions small. Two cookies (small to medium size) three times per week, and something more involved (cake, ice cream, whatever) one time per week is plenty to excessive. If you can avoid developing the habit from the start, even better. My daughter Delilah gets a small cup of ice cream once a week–that’s it; she doesn’t know any different.
  • Keep portions moderate–it’s my opinion that massive portions are the greatest contributor to obesity. Most Americans don’t need half the food they are consuming. Bring it down, big boy.

That’s it. Simple. But, as I’ve said before, this will be much harder to implement with teenagers. Teens have enough independence to make their own food choices throughout the day. This one simple fact may make it impossible to completely change their bad eating habits–the same one we’ve all had at that time in our lives.

But it’s the little kids we can influence. They may still move toward unhealthy diets as teenagers, but I guarantee you by the time they go to college they’ll remember what you’ve taught them as children, and return to eating that way. Guaranteed.

So that’s a lot of responsibility you have parents. You can be soft and uncertain, or you can be firm and certain that you are teaching your children good habits which will last them a lifetime. Your decisions now, as well as your challenges, will shape their future. They’ll thank you for it one day. I’m certain of that.

*For a more comprehensive list of healthy eating tips, read my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health.

Thems conductin’ um toof study up in ‘em Appalachian mountains: See how many Mountain Dews it takes to lose a tooth. Awesome.Caught the latest 20/20 segment on the A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains about the kids in Central Appalachia. Mountain Dew is the drink of choice in them thar hills, so much so that dentists in the area have coined a term Mountain Dew mouth. MD mouth describes the rotten teeth that owe their condition to the sweet corrosion of excessive sugar and acid contained in each can of Dew. As teeth dissolve away, poor people in the region often have to extract their own dents using wire; the region has been rated #1 in toothlessness–not a distinction to be proud of. The addiction to Dew is so bad that mothers have been known to put MD in their babies bottles, and it is not uncommon for children to have more than ten cavities in their baby teeth.

We may as well pay close attention to this news here in the flat lands, as soda consumption among city slickers is astronomical. Yes, Mountain Dew is higher in sugar than regular sodas (19 tsp. sugar to the typical 10); and it causes 2-5x more corrosion from its high acidity. But this doesn’t make Coke and Pepsi benign. On the contrary, all soda is garbage; so let’s not lose the lesson hidden in the Appalachian soda experiment. If you are pounding the liquid sugar every day, or worse, several times a day, then get ready for them dentures, sonny, ‘cuz you’re jacking up your teefasis a’plenty.

Watch the vid on Mountain Dew mouth and get grossed out.

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