Connect with Us



The Physicians Committee

Dr. Barnard's Blog

Don’t Eat that Royal Wedding Cake! Have this One Instead!!!

I have an important word of advice for the royal couple: Don’t touch that cake!!!! It will destroy your svelte royal waistlines. Here’s a much better one!

vegan chocolate cakeThis absolutely amazing cake recipe will not go straight to your royal thighs. It is light, delicious, and—believe it or not—has only 2 grams of fat per serving. How did we manage to keep the fat so low? Instead of packing in the usual butter and eggs, we used a bit of applesauce as a binder, and it works perfectly.

This recipe is printed in 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, along with dozens of others by Chef Jason Wyrick, who has really outdone himself with everything from delicious breakfast pancakes to linguine with seared oyster mushrooms and wonderful desserts. This particular cake recipe is from Alka Chandna, and it has an interesting history.

Wacky Chocolate Cake

Here is a delightful version of legendary Wacky Cake, which is said to have its origins in World War II rationing, when milk and eggs were hard to come by. At the time, the cake was lower in fat and cholesterol, not by choice but by necessity. Today, those characteristics are virtues. 

Makes 9 3"x3" pieces

1 1/2 cups unbleached pastry flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 teaspoons unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a bowl and stir with a fork until mixed. In a separate bowl, whisk vanilla, applesauce, vinegar, and water. Pour the mixed wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until well mixed. Pour into a 9"x9" baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Per serving (1/9 of recipe): 171 calories, 2 g protein, 36 g carbohydrate, 18 g sugar, 2 g total fat, 10% calories from fat, 1 g fiber, 343 mg sodium

Recipe from 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked to Prostate Cancer Risk

A new study will make people think twice about taking fish-oil capsules—or eating fish, for that matter. The American Journal of Epidemiology reports that men with higher levels of DHA, one of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, were at increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

fish oil linked to prostate cancerResearchers from Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center looked at 3,461 participants in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial and found that men with the most DHA in their bloodstreams were two-and-a-half times more likely to have an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Similar results were found in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study, where men who had the highest omega-3 levels had the highest risk for prostate cancer.

In many recent studies, fish oil has not lived up to its marketing claims. Specifically, it is no help for heart patients, does not forestall Alzheimer’s disease, does not prevent depression, and—so far at least—does not make babies smarter.

Back in 2005, a Journal of the American Medical Association report showed that fish oil may actually increase the risk of cardiac arrhythmias in some patients. In the same year, JAMA also reported that fish oil does not prevent cancer.

The following year, the British Medical Journal reportedthat omega-3 fatty acids have no heart-health benefit. Among nearly 4,000 heart attack patients, no difference was seen between those who consumed omega-3 supplements and those who took placebo pills. That conclusion was echoed in 2009, when researchers found that consuming fish does not reduce the risk of heart failure. Then in 2010, the New England Journal of Medicine reported similarly dismal results with heart patients given omega-3 fatty acids in addition to standard drug therapy. They had no reduction in cardiovascular events.

Surprisingly, Harvard linked fish and omega-3 fats to type 2 diabetes. Following 195,204 adults for 14 to 18 years, researchers reported in 2009 that they had found that the more fish or long-chain omega-3 fatty acids participants consumed, the higher their risk of developing diabetes.

Meanwhile, fish oil manufacturers pinned their hopes on brain function. Maybe fish oil will make you smarter, they reasoned. But last year, what researchers found dashed those hopes, too. A group of 867 elderly people were randomly assigned to either a fish-oil supplement or placebo. After two years of supplementation, elderly adults showed no benefit at all in tests for reaction time, spatial memory, and processing speed measurements. A later JAMA report showed that omega-3 supplements do not slow mental decline in Alzheimer’s patients. And at the other end of the age spectrum, babies get no benefit either. A JAMA report showed that consumption of fish oil during pregnancy does not benefit babies’ cognitive development.

In these reports, fish oil is starting to look a lot like snake oil. The new findings linking higher DHA levels to cancer add yet another reason to skip fish and fish oil supplements.

Are you a health professional? Learn more about diet and cancer for continuing education credits at

In case you’re interested in the references for these studies, here they are:

Brasky TM, Till C, White E, et al. Serum phospholipid fatty acids and prostate cancer risk: results from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial. Am J Epidemiol. Published ahead of print April 24, 2011. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwr027.

Raitt MH, Connor WE, Morris C, et al. Fish oil supplementation and risk of ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation in patients with implantable defibrillators: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2005;293:2884-2891.

MacLean CH, Newberry SJ, Mojica WA, et al. Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on cancer risk: a systematic review. JAMA. 2005;295:403-415.

Hooper L, Thompson RL, Harrison RA, et al. Risks and benefits of omega-3 fats for mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review. BMJ. 2006;332:752-760.

Dijkstra SC, Brouwer IA, van Rooij FJA, Hofman A, Witteman JCM, Geleijnse JM. Intake of very long chain n-3 fatty acids from fish and the incidence of heart failure: the Rotterdam Study. Eur J Heart Fail. 2009;11:922-928.

Kromhout D, Giltay EJ, Geleijnse JM. n-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular events after myocardial infarction. N Engl J Med. 2010;363:2015-2026.

Kaushik M, Mozaffarian D, Spiegelman D, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, fish intake, and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90:613-620.

Dangour AD, Allen E, Elbourne D, et al. Effect of 2-y n23 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on cognitive function in older people: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91:1725-1732.

Quinn JF, Rama R, Thomas RG, et al. Docosahexaenoic acid supplementation and cognitive decline in Alzheimer disease. JAMA. 2010;304:1903-1911.

Makrides M, Gibson RA, McPhee AJ, et al. Effect of DHA Supplementation During Pregnancy on Maternal Depression and Neurodevelopment of Young Children. JAMA. 2010;304:1675-1683.


Nutrition is Actually the Sweetest Thing

KFC’s Double Down is a Nutritional Russian Roulette

JLo Goes Vegan: An Inside Look Into the Surging Popularity of Plant-Based Diets

Get Omega-3s with Ease

Fed Up: Let’s Really Move Big Food Out of School Lunches

Breakfast of Chumps

Vegetables Less Healthy than Fried Chicken? Don’t Fall for Clickbait Headlines

Colorectal Cancer: Raise Awareness of the Solution, Not Just the Problem

The Shameful Sham of Shamrock Shakes

An Event that’s Absolutely Sublime

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

This site does not provide medical or legal advice. This Web site is for informational purposes only.
Full Disclaimer | Privacy Policy

The Physicians Committee
5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Ste.400, Washington DC, 20016
Phone: 202-686-2210     Email: