Great Smokies Medical Center of Asheville

Archive for the ‘0603’ Category

What’s For Dinner?

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

What’s "right" to eat seems to change as quickly as the next diet book hits the bookstores. GSMC physicians use the following basic guidelines when determining what to eat. These recommendations are further individualized for specific medical conditions.

* The optimal diet is: vegetables, vegetables, vegetables, protein, and fat.
* Eat foods that can rot and eat them before they do. Eat fresh.
* Minimize sugar intake.
* Buy local free-ranging or organic, grass fed meats and eggs.
* Use butter, and cold pressed olive, nut, safflower, or sunflower oils.
* Drink at least two quarts of pure water daily between meals.
* Cook at home to control the quality of your diet.
* Avoid processed foods with chemical preservatives and additives, artificial colors and flavors, artificial sweeteners, sodas and designer drinks, excess caffeine, processed or damaged fats, fast food, deep fried foods, and known allergic foods.

Pesticides Linked With Infertility and Parkinson’s Disease

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

Pesticides have actions that interfere with the way hormones work and are thus called endocrine disruptors. Wildlife studies of infertility and physical abnormalities of gulls, deer, terns, fish, frogs, whales, porpoises, alligators, and turtles link environmental contaminants with disturbances in the production or action of sex hormones.

Humans have not escaped the effects of pesticides in the environment. People who contact pesticides don’t go belly up like insects only because they are bigger than insects and don’t get a fatal dose. But they are maimed.

In 1999, the Lancet reported on a study that looked at infertile couples seeking in-vitro fertilization (IVF), more commonly known as test tube fertilization Sperm from men with high on-the-job pesticide exposure had a 78 percent decline in in-vitro fertilization success rates when compared with sperm from men without occupational pesticide exposure. In comparison, men having a history of moderate on-the-job pesticide exposure had a 48 percent decline in sperm production.

A study at Stanford University’s School of Medicine looked at 496 people who were newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Those who had been exposed to pesticides in the home (where they disintegrate less quickly than outdoors) were found to be 70% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than people who did not have pesticide exposures.

As reported in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, women with breast cancer were more than five times as likely to have detectable levels of DDT as the healthy women. Farmers also have a higher incidence of prostate cancer than the general population. More research is needed to understand the cause and effect between pesticide use and reproductive cancer.

It is prudent to avoid contact with pesticides, especially indoors. You can read about safer solutions to bug problems in many books and websites including the site www.beyondpesticides.org and click on Info Services and Living Healthy in a Toxic World, by David Steinman, et al.

Trans Fats: Facts and Fallacies

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

Trans fats occur naturally in very small amounts in animal meat such as beef, pork, and lamb, and occur in very large amounts as a result of the conversion of vegetable oils into margarine and shortening. To avoid a complicated biochemical definition, suffice it to say that trans fat molecules are straight in shape and are a danger to human health–the opposite of the naturally curved, healthy “cis” fat molecule. Trans fats are found in margarine and shortening, which are “hidden” in manufactured baked goods such as crackers and cookies. Trans fats are called partially hydrogenated oils on food labels. Like plastic, trans fats decay or turn rancid slowly, so foods that contain trans fats have a long shelf life at the grocery store.

Much confusion exists around which fats are healthy and which are unhealthy. And that confusion is not surprising, as the oil industry has created confusion by shifting the media focus from the danger of trans fats to the alleged danger of saturated fats, including cholesterol.

Fallacy: High dietary fat intake contributes to cancer.
Fact: Diets high in trans fats contribute to cancer.

Dr. Mary Enig, PhD, a highly credentialed nutritionist and researcher with a career-long interest in the impact of fats on human health, challenged the speculation concerning the relationship of dietary fat and cancer causation in 1978. Her report is as valid today as it was then. Enig studied the increase in dietary fat intake and total cancer mortality over a sixty-year period. She found that total fat and vegetable fat intake contributes to cancer, but found that animal fat intake is associated with decreased cancer occurrence. This finding can be difficult to understand after years of being fed a steady diet of media based misinformation that is fueled by the economic interests of the oil industry. Americans eat too much “bad” trans fat and not enough “good” essential fatty acids (EFAs) found in raw nuts and seeds and their oils, and in oilier ocean fish and fish oil (EPA and DHA) supplements.

Fallacy: Fat is bad for you.
Fact: Fat is essential to health.

All hormones are made from fat, the brain is 60 percent fat by weight, fat is an important energy source, and all cells are protected by a membrane that is made of fat and protein. Long-term low fat diets can weaken the protective cell membrane and thereby increase cancer risk.

Minding Our Own Business

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

In an effort to provide the service to which GSMC patients are accustomed, we want to remind our patients of policies that help us continue to provide that service.

The NC Medical Board’s standards of practice states that physicians must assess and examine patients in person prior to treating them. Despite requests to do so, we do not treat patients who have not been seen in person by our GSMC doctors.

We are happy to help patients obtain special-order nutritional supplements. Special orders are nonrefundable and non-returnable.

Because physicians’ knowledge and expertise are their stock in trade regardless of whether it is delivered in person or by phone, physician phone consultation time in excess of five minutes is billed at the same rate as an in-office visit with your GSMC physician. Most requests can be efficiently handled by our nurses, medical assistants, and receptionists. Phone appointments are available if you find it necessary to consult with your physician.

Are You Oxidizing?

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

Oxidation is a process in nature by which matter decays when exposed to oxygen: car paint dulls, newspapers yellow, apples turn brown when cut, and iron turns to rust. Scientists are now aware of the many roles oxidation plays in human diseases. It has been said that we don’t age, we rust.

Oxidation plays a role in virtually all diseases, notably heart disease, diabetes, cancer, cataracts, arthritis and other inflammatory illnesses. Antioxidant levels can be boosted by eating fresh vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables, and taking antioxidant vitamins and supplementation.

We find that many of our patients who have lived past age 90 have done so with the benefit of excellent antioxidant protection. It is now possible to measure levels of antioxidant protection through a blood test that is partially covered by Medicare. Ask your GSMC physician if you could benefit from antioxidant testing.

How to Decrease Cancer Risk

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

Dr. Wilson and Dr. Wright recently attended the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) conference titled Cancer: Complementary and Conventional Approaches to Prevention and Treatment. Startling statistics pointed both to the extent of cancer occurrence and to solutions to reduce cancer risk.

In 1990, three percent of deaths in the United States were from cancer. Today that number is 24 percent and growing. Not even counting skin cancers, 42 percent of Americans will develop cancer in their lifetime.

Nutritionist Patrick Quillin, PhD spoke on nutritional therapies to improve outcomes in cancer treatment. Quillin believes the wrong question is being asked when researchers ask how to kill more cancer cells. He thinks they should be asking why cancer grows here, how we can make a patient healthier, and how cancer growth can be discouraged.

Quillin states that the two most effective dietary interventions to both prevent cancer and slow cancer growth is the reduction of dietary sugar and the reduction of "bad" trans fats.

Cancer cells have a big sweet tooth. Cancer cells use three to five times more glucose (sugar) than healthy cells to support their rapid growth. Americans are estimated to eat and drink between 140 and 200 pounds of sugar per person per year. That number has increased from only 10 pounds 225 years ago. Eating sugar results in excess insulin which, in turn, results in accelerated cell growth.

Though thought to play a role in all cancers, studies have identified sugar as a major risk factor for breast and colon cancer. Animals with breast cancer survived longest on low sugar diets.

See “Trans Fats: Facts and Fallacies” for more information on cancer risk from trans fats and learn which fats actually deter cancer.

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