Kids, Vegetables, Diet, and Rewards

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KIDS, VEGETABLES, DIET, AND REWARDS

My now 10 year-old daughter used to eat almost everything that we put in front of her when she was a toddler.  Lately, however, she has decided that all she wants to eat is macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes.  My now 7 year-old son, on the other hand, spent the years between age 3 and age 5 subsisting largely on “chicken nuggets” and multi-vitamins, and little else….  (The first time that I was able to persuade him to eat some broccoli, at age 5, after suggesting that he dip this much-maligned vegetable in ranch sauce and grated parmesan cheese, I was moved nearly to tears!)

Most kids are fussy eaters, and getting your child to eat a healthy, balanced diet can be a serious challenge, if not a perpetual struggle between parent and child.  As with most aspects of child-rearing, there are a number of recommended strategies to get Junior to eat his or her vegetables, and other healthy foods.  However, many of these strategies turn out to be utterly ineffective in practice.  Certainly, one of the most commonly recommended strategies is to offer reluctant young eaters various types of rewards for healthy eating (and which is, in my view, tantamount to bribery, but which has probably been resorted to by most of us parents during times of diet-related desperation, and with varying results).  (As I discuss in my bestselling evidence-based book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and reduced meat intake have all been associated with a reduced risk of developing both cancer and cardiovascular disease.)

Given the never-ending mealtime struggles in our own home, I came across an interesting new research study related to this very topic, and which appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  In this innovative little prospective, randomized, controlled clinical study, 173 children, ages 3 to 4 years, were divided into three groups.  All of these children were exposed to vegetables, 12 times per day, that they were known to dislike after these vegetables were first introduced.  The first group of children received a tangible reward (a sticker) each time after being served a vegetable that they had initially disliked.  The second group of children received praise as a reward upon being served vegetables that they too had disliked upon initial presentation.  Finally, a third group (the “control group”) was served vegetables that they had also initially disliked, but this group of children did not receive any rewards (i.e., no stickers and no praise).

The findings of this study, while not terribly surprising, offer parents a potential strategy to improve the diets of their (our) vegetable-hating kids.  Of course, the children who were repeatedly served disliked vegetables, and who received no stickers or praise, continued to refuse repeated servings of these vegetables.  However, the toddlers who were bribed with stickers (a material reward) significantly improved their intake of the offending vegetables over time, and this improvement in vegetable consumption persisted when the children were reevaluated 3 months later.  Importantly, the children in this “material reward” group were also significantly more likely to develop a liking for these same vegetables over time!   The third group of children, who received praise (a “social” reward) along with each serving of undesired vegetables, sadly, and somewhat unexpectedly, were no more likely to increase their consumption of these vegetables over time, or to develop a liking for these vegetables, than the kids who were in the “no reward” control group!

In this clinical study of toddlers, offering children a material reward (stickers, in the case of this clinical study) in conjunction with repeated introductions of initially disliked vegetables resulted in a significant improvement, over time, in the willing consumption of these vegetables, as well as in increased “liking” of these same vegetables.  Positive reinforcement through praise was, however, completely ineffective in getting these little tykes to eat (and like) their veggies.

In the case of my son, “the vegetable-hater,” the Broccoli Breakthrough occurred on an evening when I took him and his sister out for dinner.  In exchange for the privilege of the three of us playing a family card game during our meal, and as a result of my inspired suggestion that he combine two foods that he loved (grated parmesan cheese and ranch dipping sauce) with a food that he hated (the aforementioned broccoli), the miracle of witnessing my little guy downing several florets of broccoli coated in ranch sauce and parmesan cheese finally came to pass.  I was so overcome by that moment, two years ago, as was my daughter, that I remember it like it happened yesterday.  Moreover, knowing that my wife would almost certainly doubt my incredible claim that this event had actually occurred, I documented this miraculous development with my cell phone camera on the spot, and emailed it to her from the restaurant that night.  Nearly two years later, I am happy to report that while both of our kids still challenge us in our ongoing efforts to get them to eat a healthy, balanced diet, our son (and daughter) will still regularly eat that most despised vegetable among children, broccoli!

 


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 



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Meat Consumption and Colorectal Cancer Risk

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MEAT CONSUMPTION AND COLORECTAL CANCER RISK

As I discuss in my bestselling evidence-based book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, our dietary habits have an enormous impact on our risk of developing cancer, and particularly cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.  Colorectal cancer risk, specifically, has been directly linked to diets high in red meat, processed meats, grilled meats, and other animal-based fats.  However, the majority of research data linking these dietary factors to colorectal cancer risk, and the premalignant “adenomatous” polyps that precede the development of colorectal cancer, has been based upon one-time surveys and one-time clinical examinations performed on public health research study volunteers.  Because of the known limitations of such studies, more compelling research data is needed to show, convincingly, that these dietary factors are indeed associated with a greater risk of premalignant and malignant tumors of the colon and rectum.  Now, a newly published research study, which appears in the British Journal of Cancer, provides this higher-level data which, once again, confirms a link between meat-rich diets and colorectal cancer risk.

More than 17,000 volunteers participated in the prospective, giant Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCOCS Trial).  All of these clinically healthy volunteers underwent endoscopic examinations of the rectum and lower colon (proctosigmoidoscopy) both when they entered into the PLCOCS Trial and again during a follow-up examination.  Careful dietary records were also kept by all participants in this very large cancer screening trial.

A total of 1,008 research volunteers were found to have premalignant polyps (adenomas) of the lower colon and rectum during these two separate endoscopic colorectal examinations.  In this huge population of otherwise healthy research volunteers, the frequent consumption of grilled meat was associated with a 56 percent increase in the risk of developing premalignant colorectal adenomas, while increased intake of well- or very-well done cooked meat was associated with a 59 percent increase in the risk of colorectal adenomatous polyps.  Interestingly, despite the fact that the iron pigment in red meat (heme) has long been suspected of acting as a carcinogen within the colon and rectum, total dietary iron intake actually appeared to be somewhat protective against colorectal adenomas in this study; and study participants with higher levels of total iron intake were 31 percent less likely to develop colorectal adenomas.

This study, with its prospective design, its very large number of research participants, and its baseline and follow-up proctosigmoidoscopic exams, provides a more accurate view of the impact of meat intake on the risk of developing precancerous colorectal adenomatous polyps when compared to most previous similar research studies.  The findings of this huge clinical research study, therefore further confirm that precancerous colon and rectal adenomatous polyps are, indeed, strongly associated with meat intake in our diets.

 


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 



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Sweet Potato Greens and Prostate Cancer

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New research suggests that sweet potato greens may have a role in prostate cancer prevention and treatment.



SWEET POTATO GREENS AND PROSTATE CANCER

As I discuss in my bestselling evidence-based book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, even conservative clinical research assessments strongly suggest that at least 50 percent of all new cancer cases are linked to modifiable lifestyle and dietary habits.  Polyphenols, a group of powerful dietary antioxidant compounds that I extensively discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, have been extensively studied in numerous laboratory and clinical research studies as potential cancer prevention nutrients.  Now, a newly published study suggests that polyphenol-rich sweet potato greens may have significant anticancer activity against prostate cancer

In this new study, which appears in the current issue of the journal Carcinogenesis, an extract of sweet potato greens was first tested in the laboratory with human prostate cancer cells growing in culture.  Molecular studies were then performed, which revealed that sweet potato greens extract shut down important cell growth biochemical pathways in human prostate cancer cells, and accelerated cancer cell death through a mechanism known as apoptosis.  (Interestingly, and importantly, however, sweet potato greens extract appeared to have no adverse effects on normal human prostate gland cells.)

As it is well known that the results of laboratory-based studies often cannot be reproduced in animal or human studies, the authors of this study then implanted human prostate cancer cells into laboratory mice.  These same mice were then fed sweet potato greens extract (400 milligrams per kilogram per day), while another group of mice (the “control group”) did not receive any sweet potato greens extract.  At the end of the study, the scientists conducting this research discovered that the prostate cancer tumors growing in the mice who received the sweet potato greens extract were, on average, almost 70 percent smaller than the tumors growing in the control group mice!  (Once again, there also appeared to be no adverse effects on normal tissues and organs in the mice that received the sweet potato greens extract.)

This research study is the first study to identify significant anticancer effects against prostate cancer associated with sweet potato greens in both cancer cell cultures and in mammals.  The potent anticancer effects of sweet potato greens extract, as demonstrated in this very elegant study, and combined with the apparent lack of toxicity, suggest that this polyphenol-rich vegetable may have a role in prostate cancer prevention and, perhaps, prostate cancer treatment; although it will be necessary to repeat this laboratory study in humans to determine if sweet potato greens have similar anticancer effects in people.

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!


On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Orlistat (Alli or Xenical) Significantly Reduces Obesity

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New research suggests that the over-the-counter drug orlistat can significantly improve weight loss when combined with a low-fat diet.



ORLISTAT (ALLI or XENICAL) SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCES OBESITY

Approximately two-thirds of the population in the United States is overweight, while at least a third of all people are obese.  Excess weight has clearly been linked to serious illnesses, including high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, liver disease, gallstones, and arthritis, among other potentially life-threatening ailments.  As I note in my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, the extremely high concentration of fat and calories in modern processed foods, when combined with the sedentary lifestyles that most of us lead, almost guarantees a high level of obesity in our population.

Orlistat, which is available in both prescription and non-prescription forms, blocks the activity of lipase, an enzyme within the GI tract that breaks down dietary fats so that they can be absorbed.  Previous clinical research studies have shown that the addition of orlistat to a low-fat diet can significantly reduce body fat, and, in turn, can reduce the risk of illnesses that are associated with obesity.  Now that orlistat is available without a prescription, there have been concerns that this medication may be less effective, as it can now be purchased and taken without first having to enroll in a structured weight loss program.

A newly published study, which appears in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that non-prescription doses of orlistat (trade names Alli and Xenical) may still be an effective addition to the standard weight loss strategies of a healthy low-fat diet and exercise.  In this study, 27 obese research volunteers took over-the-counter orlistat (60 milligrams three times a day, with meals) for three months.  At the beginning and end of this study, the 27 volunteers were subjected to specialized imaging tests, including MRI scans, to measure the amount of fat in their bodies.  Blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol levels were also assessed.

In this clinical study, the use of over-the-counter orlistat, in combination with a reduced calorie, low-fat diet, was associated with a significant 11 percent reduction in body fat after 3 months.  Moreover, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate all decreased, as well, following three months of orlistat combined with a prudent diet.

The findings of this study suggest that even over-the-counter orlistat, in conjunction with healthy eating habits, can significantly reduce both body fat and at least some of the adverse health effects associated with obesity.

Now for the bad news… orlistat works by blocking the absorption of fat from the GI tract, which means that 25 to 30 percent of the fat consumed while taking orlistat will remain within the GI tract until it is eliminated in the feces.  Unfortunately, high levels of undigested fat in the stool can lead to some rather unsettling symptoms, including flatulence, greasy/oily stools, bloating, and in some patients, an urgent desire to have a bowel movement.  On the other hand, while these symptoms are very common during the first few months of orlistat use, they appear to improve over time, such that only about one-third of patients taking orlistat will still have these symptoms four years after starting the drug.  Moreover, in patients who conscientiously maintain a low-fat diet while taking orlistat, the incidence and severity of these GI tract side effects are even lower.  (Another potential complication of orlistat is the reduced absorption of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, although vitamin supplements will prevent significant deficiencies of these vitamins.)

While orlistat is associated with significant potential side effects, and thus should not be taken by everyone, the results of this small study do strongly suggest that orlistat is an effective option for obese patients who are able to both tolerate the drug’s side effects and remain compliant with a low-fat diet.  As always, however, I strongly recommend that you check with your primary physician prior to starting any new diet or medication, including orlistat.

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!


On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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