Diets and Weight Loss, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Weight Loss and Health Benefits of Soup



Weight Loss and Health Benefits of Soup


Our lives are complex; your meals don’t have to be. A simple way to eat a nourishing, nutritious meal is by making a vegetable bean soup. Soups are healthy, filling and very simple to make at home. There is no need to purchase a processed soup when a homemade soup is so easy to prepare and delicious to eat. And best of all, soups can be made in a large batch ahead of time and eaten over the course of a few days.



A vegetable soup can keep up to five days in the refrigerator. The flavors blend together and deepen over time.


In my own home, I tend to make a huge pot of vegetable bean soup every Sunday. That way I have something quick and reliable to eat for the rest of the week. And if I don’t want to eat the same soup several nights in a row, soup freezes well, so by making my soup on Sunday I can have a hearty lunch or dinner for a couple of days as well as stock my freezer with a few extra servings, too.


Soups are great because they can be a main meal or a side dish. Soups, along with salads, are an easy way to eat healthfully – and they add extra vegetables and beans to your daily diet.


Soup Made Simple

To begin making soups, consider soaking beans the night before and then rinse and add them to your soup pot with enough water to generously cover, on a low flame as your first step.  After the beans have started to cook, I make the rest of the base which usually contains carrot juice.


I juice 5 pounds of organic carrots which yields about a quart and a half of delicious carrot juice. I use that as the chief base ingredient in soups and stews since it amps up the nutrient value and adds a great flavor. I also use or add celery or tomato juice or no-salt added vegetable broth.


Carrots are rich in carotenoids, such as alpha- and beta-carotene, and tomatoes are rich in the carotenoid, lycopene.



Higher levels of these health-promoting nutrients in the body are linked to longer life.. Then take your onions, scallions and leeks as well as your leafy cruciferous greens and blend them until smooth using a a high powered blender. Blending onions and cruciferous vegetables before they are cooked releases disease-fighting phytochemicals, making the soup even more nutritious.  Then add the other vegetables you decide to chop in, such as parsnips.  I also like to use a variety of chopped mushrooms. Then, instead of salt, I further season with herbs and spices such as dill, rosemary, parsley, black pepper, vinegar or lemon. For creamier soups, instead of milk or cream, pulverize some nuts in a high-powered blender and add to the broth. It will give the soup a pleasant creaminess.


Eat Soup, Lose Weight

Soups are perfect for those who want to escape the daily chore of cooking because they can be cooked in bulk and eaten over a few days. They are an effective weight-loss food because soups help slow your rate of eating and reduce your appetite by filling your stomach – this has been shown in scientific studies.



Starting your evening meal with a bowl of soup is a tool you can use to maintain a healthy weight;  it’s important because weight is not just a cosmetic concern.  In fact, the BMI (Body Mass Index) cutoffs for normal weight, overweight, and obese were chosen to reflect the health risks associated with excess fat. Waist circumference has also been found to be an indicator of lifespan, and weight gain is associated with shorter telomere length.


Soup doesn’t leave you hungry and since soup is gently simmered in a liquid base, the nutrients are retained and some are made more absorbable. Many nutrients, like B vitamins, niacin, folate, and a range of minerals, are water soluble. Normally, with water-based cooking, like boiling, water-soluble nutrients are leached into the cooking water and discarded. However, with soups, the liquid and the water-soluble nutrients are retained and consumed.


Soup is Super Healthy

Additionally, soup is easy to digest. Cooking soup heats, moisturizes and softens vegetables and beans, which dramatically increases the potential digestibility and absorption of the certain nutritious compounds contained within them. Recent studies confirm that the body absorbs more of the beneficial anti-cancer compounds, carotenoids in particular, especially lutein and lycopene, from cooked vegetables as compared to raw vegetables. Scientists speculate that the increase in absorption of these antioxidants after cooking may be attributed to the destruction of the extracellular matrix or connective bands to which these compounds are bound.


Healthy cooking need not be complicated. Make a pot of soup and you will be hooked on the ease and affordability of the dish and the convenience of having a hot nutritious meal on-hand for the rest of the week.


Health and Wellness Associates


Dr Sarah Dillon

Dr Joel Furhman



Foods, Uncategorized

Should You Be Eating Tomatoes



Why Should You Be Eating Tomatoes


I live in New Jersey, and one of the seasonal foods I look forward to the most each summer is Jersey tomatoes. Not only are they delicious (my state is known to grow some of the tastiest tomatoes), but tomatoes are one of nature’s most perfect foods.


I grow lots of tomatoes each spring and summer, starting the plants indoors in March.  I freeze all the tomatoes we can’t eat each week, and then make lots of homemade tomato sauce with onions, and some garlic and basil in a big pot.



I do not remove the skins and seeds, but just blend them in, and then leave some of the tomatoes only coarsely chopped so the sauce has an uneven texture.  Letting it cook a long time, like 6 to 8 hours on a very low flame to cook out all the extra water, is what gives it that great taste. It keeps for weeks in the fridge because the acid from the tomato is a natural preservative, but I make so much that we usually use half and freeze half for the winter.


If you can’t grow your own, you can also buy big bushels of organic tomatoes cheaply at local farms, when in season, and make great homemade sauce without oil and salt. Then you can make dressings and dips from this sauce by just mixing in a little vinegar and nut butter.


Amazing Anti-aging Benefits

Tomatoes are packed with lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid, and carotenoids (a family of more than 600 phytochemicals) help protect against the oxidative damage caused by free radicals which contribute to chronic disease and aging.

The  carotenoid levels in your body can be an important indicator of your overall health because, in general, the levels parallel the levels of plant-derived phytochemicals circulating in your body. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants and these non-caloric nutrients are vitally important to your health.



In fact, I believe that carotenoid levels are so important that I track my patients’ levels using a non-invasive skin testing method as they adopt a high-nutrient diet. In a study of more than 13,000 American adults, low blood levels of carotenoids were found to be a predictor of earlier death.  Lower total carotenoids, alpha-carotene and lycopene in the blood, were all linked to increased risk of death from all causes. And of all the carotenoids, very low blood lycopene was the strongest predictor of mortality.


A Superfood

So, now you see why I think the tomato is a superfood. Overall, those with very low levels of carotenoids are at risk of autoimmune disease, headaches, fatigue, and of course, cancer.   As the signature carotenoid of the tomato, lycopene protects against prostate cancer, (lycopene’s protective effects are found concentrated in the male reproductive system), skin cancer  (in the skin, lycopene helps prevent UV sun damage), and cardiovascular disease.


For example, many observational studies have made a connection between higher blood lycopene and lower risk of heart attack.



A study in men found that low serum lycopene was associated with increased plaque in the carotid artery and triple risk of cardiovascular events compared with higher levels. In a separate study, women were split into four groups according to their blood lycopene levels. Women in the top three quartiles were 50 percent less likely to have cardiovascular disease compared to the lowest quartile.


A 2004 analysis from the Physicians Health Study data found a 39 percent decrease in stroke risk in men with the highest blood levels of lycopene. Data from an ongoing study in Finland has strengthened these findings with similar results.


Vary Your Diet

About 85 percent of the lycopene in the American diet is derived from tomatoes. Lycopene is also more absorbable when tomatoes are cooked—one cup of tomato sauce contains about ten times the lycopene as a cup of raw, chopped tomatoes—so enjoy a variety of both raw and cooked tomatoes in your daily diet. Of course, lycopene is not the only important nutrient in tomatoes. They are also rich in vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and flavonol antioxidants, in addition to many others.


Antioxidants usually exert their protective effects in concert with each other. It is the interactions between phytochemicals that is responsible for their health effects, something that we cannot replicate in a pill. Out of all the carotenoids, lycopene has the most potent antioxidant power, but combinations of carotenoids are more effective than any single one. They work synergistically. And summer is the perfect time to get many of these vital micronutrients. Carotenoids are abundant in green and yellow-orange vegetables and fruits. So, enjoy those tomatoes as part of a in a varied nutrient-rich, plant-based diet.


Call us to help you plan your healthcare plan, or help you reverse a diagnosis or prevent a negative health condition.


Health and Wellness Associates


Dr Sarah Dillon

Dr Joel Fuhrman


Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Sugar Industry Paid Off Scientist


50 Years Ago, Sugar Industry Quietly Paid Scientists To Point Blame At Fat


In the 1960s, the sugar industry funded research that downplayed the risks of sugar and highlighted the hazards of fat, according to a newly published article in JAMA Internal Medicine.


The article draws on internal documents to show that an industry group called the Sugar Research Foundation wanted to “refute” concerns about sugar’s possible role in heart disease. The SRF then sponsored research by Harvard scientists that did just that. The result was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1967, with no disclosure of the sugar industry funding.


The sugar-funded project in question was a literature review, examining a variety of studies and experiments. It suggested there were major problems with all the studies that implicated sugar, and concluded that cutting fat out of American diets was the best way to address coronary heart disease.


The authors of the new article say that for the past five decades, the sugar industry has been attempting to influence the scientific debate over the relative risks of sugar and fat.


“It was a very smart thing the sugar industry did, because review papers, especially if you get them published in a very prominent journal, tend to shape the overall scientific discussion,” co-author Stanton Glantz told The New York Times.



In the article, published Monday, authors Glantz, Cristin Kearns and Laura Schmidt aren’t trying make the case for a link between sugar and coronary heart disease. Their interest is in the process. They say the documents reveal the sugar industry attempting to influence scientific inquiry and debate.


The researchers note that they worked under some limitations — “We could not interview key actors involved in this historical episode because they have died,” they write. Other organizations were also advocating concerns about fat, they note.


There’s no evidence that the SRF directly edited the manuscript published by the Harvard scientists in 1967, but there is “circumstantial” evidence that the interests of the sugar lobby shaped the conclusions of the review, the researchers say.


For one thing, there’s motivation and intent. In 1954, the researchers note, the president of the SRF gave a speech describing a great business opportunity.


If Americans could be persuaded to eat a lower-fat diet — for the sake of their health — they would need to replace that fat with something else. America’s per capita sugar consumption could go up by a third.


But in the ’60s, the SRF became aware of “flowing reports that sugar is a less desirable dietary source of calories than other carbohydrates,” as John Hickson, SRF vice president and director of research, put it in one document.


He recommended that the industry fund its own studies — “Then we can publish the data and refute our detractors.”


The next year, after several scientific articles were published suggesting a link between sucrose and coronary heart disease, the SRF approved the literature-review project. It wound up paying approximately $50,000 in today’s dollars for the research.


One of the researchers was the chairman of Harvard’s Public Health Nutrition Department — and an ad hoc member of SRF’s board.


“A different standard” for different studies


Glantz, Kearns and Schmidt say many of the articles examined in the review were hand-selected by SRF, and it was implied that the sugar industry would expect them to be critiqued.


In a letter, SRF’s Hickson said that the organization’s “particular interest” was in evaluating studies focused on “carbohydrates in the form of sucrose.”


“We are well aware,” one of the scientists replied, “and will cover this as well as we can.”


The project wound up taking longer than expected, because more and more studies were being released that suggested sugar might be linked to coronary heart disease. But it was finally published in 1967.


Hickson was certainly happy with the result: “Let me assure you this is quite what we had in mind and we look forward to its appearance in print,” he told one of the scientists.


The review minimized the significance of research that suggested sugar could play a role in coronary heart disease. In some cases the scientists alleged investigator incompetence or flawed methodology.


“It is always appropriate to question the validity of individual studies,” Kearns told Bloomberg via email. But, she says, “the authors applied a different standard” to different studies — looking very critically at research that implicated sugar, and ignoring problems with studies that found dangers in fat.


Epidemiological studies of sugar consumption — which look at patterns of health and disease in the real world — were dismissed for having too many possible factors getting in the way. Experimental studies were dismissed for being too dissimilar to real life.


One study that found a health benefit when people ate less sugar and more vegetables was dismissed because that dietary change was not feasible.


Another study, in which rats were given a diet low in fat and high in sugar, was rejected because “such diets are rarely consumed by man.”


The Harvard researchers then turned to studies that examined risks of fat — which included the same kind of epidemiological studies they had dismissed when it came to sugar.


Citing “few study characteristics and no quantitative results,” as Kearns, Glantz and Schmidt put it, they concluded that cutting out fat was “no doubt” the best dietary intervention to prevent coronary heart disease.


Sugar lobby: “Transparency standards were not the norm”


In a statement, the Sugar Association — which evolved out of the SRF — said it is challenging to comment on events from so long ago.


“We acknowledge that the Sugar Research Foundation should have exercised greater transparency in all of its research activities, however, when the studies in question were published funding disclosures and transparency standards were not the norm they are today,” the association said.


“Generally speaking, it is not only unfortunate but a disservice that industry-funded research is branded as tainted,” the statement continues. “What is often missing from the dialogue is that industry-funded research has been informative in addressing key issues.”


The documents in question are five decades old, but the larger issue is of the moment, as Marion Nestle notes in a commentary in the same issue of JAMA Internal Medicine:


“Is it really true that food companies deliberately set out to manipulate research in their favor? Yes, it is, and the practice continues. In 2015, the New York Times obtained emails revealing Coca-Cola’s cozy relationships with sponsored researchers who were conducting studies aimed at minimizing the effects of sugary drinks on obesity. Even more recently, the Associated Press obtained emails showing how a candy trade association funded and influenced studies to show that children who eat sweets have healthier body weights than those who do not.”

As for the article authors who dug into the documents around this funding, they offer two suggestions for the future.


“Policymaking committees should consider giving less weight to food industry-funded studies,” they write.


They also call for new research into any ties between added sugars and coronary heart disease.


Health and Wellness Associates