Saturday, September 27, 2008

Challenging Food Beliefs

So I told a few people recently that I'd read that there was a study done that showed people who ate peanut butter every day had a lower risk of diabetes. I was met with scoffs and comments about low sample size. But! I found the study--and it's a valid one--the Nurses' Health Study conducted by Harvard and published in Jama.

In this large prospective cohort study of women, we found that consumption of nuts and peanut butter was inversely associated with risk of type 2 diabetes, independent of known risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including age, obesity, family history of diabetes, physical activity, smoking, and dietary factors. The inverse association with nuts persisted in all subgroup analyses.
See Nut and Peanut Butter Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women from Vol. 288 No. 20, November 27, 2002

And all they ate was 1 T a day.

I can't say I've been as successful finding studies that compare milk sources--cow's, soy, almond, and rice.

Trainer D is trying to get me off cow's milk because she says it is all fat and adults don't need it. I can't say the idea set well with me. I don't think I have anything against almond or rice milk (I'll get to soy in a minute), but it just seemed like kind of an extreme start. And I know VEGANS do it, so it probably is healthier on some level, but is the switch really going to help me lose weight? (I did find a study that showed no difference between cow and soy milk for losing weight. . . but I haven't gotten to my issues with soy yet.)

And isn't weight loss my first goal? Still, D gave me food for thought about picking only the healthiest foods for myself. . . but before I could really ponder this and give it serious consideration and think it all through.. . I told hubby and PhD. They quickly made it known that their vote was with my other hand (not that I had had a chance to show them my other hand yet). And that is, the big red flag about giving up food groups. . .

Drinking soy milk I'm pretty sure about. It's a "no." First of all, it tastes sweet to me, so it doesn't work as a milk substitute. What's more is the ongoing controversy about whether it reduces your risk of breast cancer or can increase the risk in women who have estrogen-sensitive cancers. (Not that I've had cancer, but I have lots of fat, and fat stores estrogen.)

Studies show the amount Asian women eat seems to be OK. I'm assuming they eat mostly tofu. I guess the next thing I need to study is whether they drink soy milk.

But you see what I mean about this getting me off task? Still, there is a draw to eating only healthy things. Like D, I'm aware that you can follow plans like Weight Watchers and not necessarily get your nutritious needs a day. . . say if you always eat low-fat chips and packaged snacks and desserts and puddings instead of eating fruits and vegetables--and milk!

I like the idea of eating vegetarian meals, and they look so pretty. Not that I want to eat only vegetarian. And I like the idea of getting off sugar substitutes--I mean what have they really done for me? I'm been eating sugar substitutes since I was 7; they aren't exactly making me thin! But, as hubby points out, I don't really like the natural taste of things. . .still, I think I could make some transitions and eliminations. Like I could sweeten plain yogurt with a bit of jelly or jam as well as fruit.

And then there's the fat free stuff. . . probably harder to live without because it's harder to live with the smaller amounts of the full fat stuff. . . like sour cream and ice cream . . .

So much to consider. But as PhD says, you try one thing and if it doesn't work, you switch. And that's what I'm paying her for I guess--to make sure I switch versus quit.


  1. I really like the idea of using jam to sweeten things like plain yogurt -- not that I eat yogurt -- but the idea is beautifully positive.

  2. All very positive! Who are you and what have you done with my wife?

  3. Thanks for commenting on our blog - and the follow. I didn't even know we could do that. *L*

    I really enjoyed this post. There's a great deal of health misinformation out there. We've only recently realized how dangerous soy is, ourselves. :-(

    Have you discovered junkfoodscience yet? It's a great one for finding out what actual studies have said, vs. what the media reports. It's become one of my sanity-saver sites. *L*


  4. I wouldn't dream of telling you what to do, but as a vegan I lost 50lbs and haven't found it in 7+ years! You're right though a reliance on soy is not healthy, just like any other food item.

  5. It's me, Tisha. I'm still backstalking. YOu're in my head. These are things I ponder as well. I happen to like soy, but only to replace milk in my Starbucks lattes. I like what Trainer D advises about eating healthy things. It's something I try to do, but convenience most times wins. Have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy your blog? Your writing style? The fact that I feel the same as you in many, many instances?


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