Stay stronger by saying “soy-onara” to soy

I’ve been warning my patients—and you—for years that soy is bad news. It’s one of the world’s most genetically engineered crops, thanks to Monsanto (the company I believe has singlehandedly contributed to more death and illness than any other).

But aside from that, it’s just not the “healthy” alternative to animal protein people think it is. In fact, a new study showed that dairy actually offered more benefits in terms of strength and overall health than soy.

The study noted that, when matched in total protein, fat, and carbohydrate content, dairy- and soy-based meals result in very similar blood glucose and insulin responses.

But here’s where dairy pulled ahead: It resulted in a more sustained branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) concentration. That means the amino acids—the building blocks for protein— stayed in the body longer and the body was able to utilize them more. In other words, dairy did a better job at preserving and building muscle mass. Which helps keep you stronger, longer.

There is a reason why we are not meant to be plant-based organisms.  Our bodies require food from animals. (Sorry, PETA.)

One of my favorite sources of dairy is whey protein. I’ve talked about its benefits before. First of all, it helps fill you up and keep you satisfied much longer than other so-called “meal replacements,” But, as this study indicates, it can also help you maintain the muscle mass and strength you need to stay active and lean well into your golden years.  Soy just doesn’t cut it here.

But the other interesting thing about this study was that it included men with metabolic syndrome. (By now, I’m sure you know what that is, but just in case, here’s a quick refresher of the symptoms: excess weight—especially around the midsection, hypertension, and extreme blood sugar swings). The syndrome has been linked to increased risks of both type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

And unfortunately, men with metabolic syndrome got no benefit to their muscles from dairy. I bring this up to underscore the importance of reigning in metabolic syndrome. As this study shows, if you’re overweight and your blood sugar is off kilter, you’re limiting the benefits of the healthy choices you ARE making. So getting it under control should be No. 1 on every priority list.

The good news is, beating metabolic syndrome is simple—if you’re making the right choices.

Stick with whole, natural, healthy foods—not processed, genetically modified, nutritionally devoid products. Not only will you keep your weight and blood sugar in check (and head metabolic syndrome off at the pass), but you’ll also reap all the other benefits these nutrient-rich foods have to offer.

The bigger your dinner date, the bigger your appetite

Ever head out to dinner with great intentions only to end up home, 3,000 calories later wondering what went wrong? Well, a new study (at the illustrious Cornell University, no less) has pinpointed one reason people tend to overeat at restaurants.

The study noted that some elements of restaurant dining rooms actually prime you to eat more food. But chief among those factors?The weight of those dining with or near you.

Researchers found that the body type of your dining partner, or of those dining nearby, may actually influence how much you order and how much you eat.

Even though part of me wants to blast a study like this as obvious, the methodology of it honestly fascinates me.

The researchers recruited 82 undergraduate college students to eat a lunch of spaghetti and salad.

They also hired an actress to wear a 50-pound prosthesis, which made her appear overweight. Each of the students was randomly placed in one of four scenarios featuring the actress:

1)     the actress served herself healthfully (more salad and less pasta) while wearing the fat suit

2)     she served herself the same healthy meal without the suit

3)     she served herself less healthfully (more pasta and less salad) while wearing the fat suit

4)  she served herself the same less healthy meal without the suit

Participants in each scenario viewed the actress serving herself and then served themselves pasta and salad.

The results were fascinating: Researchers found that when the actress wore the fat suit, the participants served themselves—and ate—31.6 percent more pasta.Regardless of what the actressserved herself.

In fact, when she wore the fat suit and served herself more salad, the participants actually served and ate 43.5 percentless salad.

In other words, what she ate meant zilch. Her weight, however, meant everything.

Here’s what’s so sad about this study: With 70 percent of Americans obese or overweight, seeing overweight people in a restaurant is an exceptionally likely scenario.

This could partially explain why somepeople who follow my New Hamptons Health Miracle to a “T” at home have a harder time doing it at restaurants. Plus the fact that you don’t always get to choose where you’re eating and almost always get portions twice the size of your head. It’s hard to stay on track. I get that. But it’s up to you to break the cycle.

If it’s an unhealthy restaurant, skip it. If you’re not sure, stick with the staples: lots of fish, lean meats, tons of veggies, and avoid the sugary glazes and sauces.

And, I know this sounds odd, but never go to a restaurant when you’re extremely hungry (unless that restaurant serves nothing but salmon and avocado). It’s the same as going to a grocery store on an empty stomach:You’re bound to make unhealthy choices in regards to both what you eat and how much.

Simple solution: eat some nuts before you go. They’ll provide you with plenty of energy and lots of good fats, to keep you from feeling famished—and subsequently ordering the most tantalizing (and least healthy) item you see on the menu. I’m especially big on walnuts, almonds and macadamia nuts, but you can also go with Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts and pistachios.

As long as you don’t overdo it—20 nuts max—when eaten just before meals, nuts can help you skip that second helping … or say “no” when the waiter asks the $64,000 question: “Would you like to see our dessert list?”


“Muscle p70S6K phosphorylation in response to soy and dairy rich meals in middle aged men with metabolic syndrome: a randomized crossover trial. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2014; 11: 46.

In good company. The effect of an eating companion’s appearance on food intake.” Appetite, 2014; 83: 263

“The larger your friends the larger your appetite, study shows.” ScienceDaily, 10/2/14 (