Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

18 Tammuz 5764 - July 7, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Home and Family

Your Medical Questions Answered!
by Joseph B. Leibman, MD

Diplomate, Board Certification of Emergency Medicine

Recently, the Mayo Clinic Proceedings discussed diets, in an article called The Search for the Perfect Heart Healthy Diet. Despite recent advances in defining diabetes, sugar intolerance, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and diets that emphasize these issues, Westerners are getting fatter and fatter due to larger calorie intake and less physical activity.

This kind of problem causes fringe diets to appear and that is the current problem. One extreme is the Dean Ornish Diet which is very low in fat. The Atkins Diet is high fat and low starch. Both of these fringe diets do not require restricting calories.

The former is obviously very good for the heart, but the low carbohydrate of the Atkins diet causes the body to make a starvation substance that causes lack of appetite. As such, this diet, while being high in fat -- eggs, red meat, and cheese -- still doesn't affect the heart as much as one would have expected.

The problem is that these diets have not been well-studied and long term effects are unknown -- not only because they haven't been around too long but also because many patients can't stick to these diets.

The Atkins diet does not allow a lot of fruit and vegetables and that is my problem with it. As such, it increases homocyteine concentrations and CRP levels, which are two substances that are a sign of increased risk of heart attack.

The authors of the Mayo study believe that the Mediterranean diet is best. This diet includes a lot of olive oil, fruits and vegetables. However it also includes a lot of carbohydrates which may not be as safe.

Israeli fruit is so good, that you should raise your children on this. Do not forget the other side -- exercise.

Last, reject unproven and extreme solutions -- even if it worked for your neighbors this means nothing. Write me in care of the Yated.

A message from GlaxoSmithKline, sponsor of this column. Lamactal allows seizure suffers to live normal lives. While it isn't usually the first drug used, it is the solution to hard-to-control problems. It can succeed where all others do not.


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