Dr. Katz Founds the True Health Initiative

Did you know that 80% of all chronic diseases can be prevented simply by adopting a healthful lifestyle? If this is so, then why do unacceptably high levels of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and other chronic diseases still persist on a global scale? According to Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center Director Dr. David Katz, MD, the general public lacks clear and consistent advice about the role of lifestyle medicine in promoting health. Competing voices, profit-driven motives, and conflicting media messages have left many people confused about how best to improve their health.

To cut through this noise and educate the public about proven principles of lifestyle medicine, Dr. Katz has put together a coalition of world-renowned health experts as part of a True Health Initiative. These experts all agree on 6 core principles of healthy living that could add years to lives, and life to years:

  1. Consuming minimally-processed, mostly plant-based foods
  2. Adopting a physically active lifestyle
  3. Avoiding toxins such as tobacco and excess alcohol
  4. Getting plenty of sleep
  5. Reducing psychological stress
  6. Cultivating supportive relationships and social bonds

Their vision is a world where all people live long and healthy lives, free of preventable chronic disease. Their goal is to speak as one voice to help people achieve this vision. Health care professionals, health promotion organizations, and health-conscious citizens are invited to sign up to be part of this global consensus. For more information, please visit http://www.truehealthinitiative.org.

Dr. Katz Serves as Senior Advisor to VeryWell

In May 2016, About.com launched VeryWell.com, an online resource for reliable, understandable information on hundreds of health and wellness topics. Dr. David Katz, MD, the current president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, has been appointed to serve as its first Senior Medical Advisor. He will also provide content for the website’s Disease Prevention section. Verywell takes a human approach to health information, delivering accessible content by top specialists in their fields. Its content team consists of 120 health experts, including doctors, dietitians and health professionals.

Study Findings: Walnut Ingestion in Adults at Risk for Diabetes

Walnuts are a rich source of omega-3 fats and other healthful nutrients. Prior research has found that eating them on a regular basis can lead to health benefits. Research has also found that eating walnuts regularly for a few weeks at a time – despite their relatively high calorie content - has not seemed to lead to weight gain. This might be due to their fiber and fat content, which could contribute to a sense of satiety or fullness.

Dr. David Katz, MD and his team at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center wanted to explore the effects of eating walnuts regularly for an even longer time frame on diet quality, body composition, weight, and measures of cardiovascular health. As part of a study that they recently conducted, they recruited a group of adults at risk for Type 2 diabetes, which in turn raised their risk for cardiovascular disease. They asked these adults to follow their usual diets, with the exception of eating 2 ounces of walnuts (providing approximately 350 calories) per day during one 6-month period, and not eating any walnuts during another 6-month period. They randomly assigned half of this group to receive dietary advice to adjust for the calories from the walnuts, and the other half to not receive any dietary advice.

Their study findings showed that 6 months of a walnut-included diet (whether calorie-adjusted or not) could lead to significant improvements in diet quality, waist size, vascular function, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol in adults at risk for diabetes, compared to a walnut-excluded diet. Their body mass index (BMI), visceral fat, blood pressure, and fasting blood glucose did not improve while following the walnut-included diet (whether calorie-adjusted or not). Their body weight remained stable while eating the walnuts, regardless of whether they were advised to adjust for the calories from the walnuts. This lack of impact on walnuts - despite their relatively high caloric content – on body weight seems to confirm findings from previous studies. More details on this study have been published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care

Funding for this study was provided by the California Walnut Commission. More research is needed to see if these findings can be replicated.