Welcome to the Dr. B Newsletter, a curated weekly healthcare email that cuts through the noise to deliver vetted reads on whole-body health. Albert Einstein posited that time is an illusion. January has brought way too much unfounded diet advice onto our screens. So indulge us in a bit of speechifying: The road to health is paved with delicious + healthy foods—not fad diets. Jumping off the soapbox, scroll on for new + trusted food findings that'll help fuel your 2023. Plus, healthcare updates + Covid-19 discoveries.
Health + nutrition experts don’t like the raw foods diet.
They placed it last on their 2023 Best Diets Overall list, with Slim Fast and Atkins not far behind. The experts analyzed 24 diets' effect on weight loss, how well they prevent disease and how easy they are to follow (so we’ll stay on them). When it comes to raw foods, there’s no evidence that they’re better for our health. They're lower in calories + protein so we may feel hungrier after eating them. And the limitation doesn’t encourage long-term healthy eating.
Which diet ranked highest? The Mediterranean—again. More lifestyle than diet, it wins for variety, inclusivity + tastiness.
Dig into the report for more rankings + analysis. And if you're thinking about fasting for weight loss, a new study shows it doesn’t work.
Nutrition experts are newly analyzing cheese's component parts, and the outlook is savory.
One study shows that butter raises LDL cholesterol levels more than cheese does. Another tracked 120,000+ people for 20 years and found that cheese doesn’t contribute to weight loss or gain—even when people ate more.
Why? There are theories that cheese's mineral content binds with fatty acids + flushes them out of the body; that its fermentation process creates gut bacteria that break down foods + bolster immunity; and that cheese is so satisfying that we don’t overeat elsewhere.
Read more about cheese + diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and more. Plus, tips about how we eat cheese makes a difference.
A study out of Denmark shows not all gut microbiomes are created equal.
Categorizing gut bacteria into three groups, researchers found that participants with B-type profiles had less energy (calorie) density in their stools than other types. (They absorbed more calories from the same food.) On average, people with B-type profiles weighed 20 pounds more than those with R-type profiles. In other research, mice given a fecal transplant from obese humans gained weight. (They didn’t when given material from thin humans.) These don’t prove gut bacteria determines weight. But they do offer some fascinating implications.
Read a summary for more determinations + microbiome-boosting suggestions.
What doctors wish patients knew about COVID-19 reinfection (AMA). In the AMA’s latest series, MDs express concern about how additional Covid-19 infections increase the risk of chronic issues like diabetes + mental health problems. Newer variants produce less immunity, so we can get reinfected faster. We're best protected if fully vaccinated—meaning we've gotten a bivalent booster. Mutation + immune evasion make it more dangerous for immunocompromised people. And masking + testing make a huge difference. Read the article for more.
Here’s how long you’re contagious with the latest Covid variant (HuffPost). You’re most contagious 48 hours before you test positive through five days after your first symptoms—and most people are still contagious through day ten. Read the article for recommendations on isolation, testing + other precautions. And to go from testing to treatment even faster, learn about Dr. B’s partnership with Phase Scientific.
When young children test positive for Covid-19 and another respiratory virus, their illness may be much more severe, a new study suggests (CNN). A past newsletter detailed what happens when you get two viruses at once. Now, a study shows that over 20% of children hospitalized with Covid-19 tested positive for a second virus. They were most often under five, needed increased oxygen support and were admitted to the ICU. Health experts press that staying updated on Covid-19 + flu vaccines is children’s best defense against severe illness.