Omidi MD

Making a change, one patient a time.

Health foods can be misleading

Are Health Foods Really That Healthy?

Dr. Michael Omidi discusses what’s really inside health foods.

When people are trying to eat mindfully, they often look for healthier options at the grocery store. However, not all health foods are as they appear. Today, we’ll look at some of the ways food manufacturers process health foods which may prove detrimental for your diet plans.


One study found that five percent of tested foods that were labeled as gluten-free contained gluten. The FDA‘s labeling regulations state that gluten-free products must test less than 20 ppm to be considered gluten-free. However, only 95% of products tested were actually below 20 ppm—which indicates that certain types of foods labeled as gluten-free may contain some gluten. Gluten-free foods have also been found to have higher levels of fat, calories and sugar, which make them more flavorful, but much less healthy.

Whole Grain

Similar to gluten-free, whole grain foods have been found to be significantly less healthy than marketed. A 2013 Harvard study found foods bearing a whole grain stamp were higher in calories and sugars, both of which can lead to weight gain. In order to be labeled a whole grain food, products must contain at least 8 grams of whole grain per serving.

You’ll Eat More of It

Like foods that are gluten-free and whole grain, foods that are labeled ‘low-fat’ can also have a negative consequence on people’s eating habits. A Cornell University and Brand Lab study found that when M&M candies were labeled ‘low-fat’, people consumed more calories of the candy. The participants ate 28% more than when candy wasn’t labeled ‘low-fat.’

In a similar vein, a study from the University of California found that when people chose Subway over McDonald’s, they ended up eating the same caloric intake. Subway is noted as being the ‘healthy’ alternative to fast food.

So, what’s the verdict? You must be cautious when purchasing health foods. Keep in mind that there is more to nutrition than a label. You want to look at the sodium content, total fat, carbohydrates, sugar and calories. These are all indicators of the overall nutrition of a product. It’s also helpful to remember to regulate your overall caloric intake in order to prevent overeating. That way, you’ll be healthier and have more energy throughout the day.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi

Dr. Michael Omidi is the co-founder of The Children’s Obesity Fund, he advocates for people to live healthy lifestyles.



Your microwave may make food unsafe

Don’t Microwave Your Food, New Study Suggests

Dr. Michael Omidi discusses recent research about the negative impact microwave ovens have on food.

Often when people are in a bind for time, they look for fast alternatives for food preparation. Solutions like fast food have led to large levels of obesity and heart problems. Now, new study suggests that your microwave may also cause a negative impact on your health.

The study examined phthalates impact on the body, more specifically blood pressure and lipids. Phthalates are used in many consumer and personal care products. The study focused on their contamination of dietary foods. It found that when heated, different types of phthalates are released into the food that we ingest.

The team of researchers studied the effects of two specific types of Phthalates DINP and DIDP in the urine of children 6 to 19 years old from 2009 to 2012. Although their findings weren’t a cause/effect relationship, the team did suggest that there was a contribution to possible high blood pressure and insulin resistance, both of which can lead to diabetes.

From their findings, they suggest that you do not microwave plastic containers or wraps. Additionally to not wash plastic containers in the microwave while avoiding containers labeled with a 3, 6 or 7, which are generally found in the middle of the recyclable symbol.

As more research continues to grow against the chemicals found in many plastic products, it is clear that one should try to avoid their use, especially in microwavable devices whenever possible. The toxins released can have lasting damages on the health and well being of children and adults.

If you have been using plastic containers, try finding alternatives like glass Tupperware. Although it may be slightly more expensive, in the long run it could be less costly for your health.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi

Dr. Michael Omidi is the co-founder of The Children’s Obesity Fund which advocates for healthy living for children.


trans-fat leads to memory loss in men

Trans-fats Lead to Poorer Memory in Young, Middle-aged Men

Dr. Michael Omidi discusses a study which suggests trans-fats may lead to poorer memory in men.

Memory, our brain’s ability to retain information and events, may be at risk when consuming trans-fats a study suggests. Published in PLOS ONE, a team of researchers at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine, looked at the effect of trans-fats on memory in men 45 and younger. Let’s examine this study and the implications.

Led by Dr. Beatrice A. Golomb, the researchers analyzed data from 1,018 participants. The participants filled out surveys detailing their trans-fat consumption. Additionally, they completed word recall tests to measure their memory. For men 45 and younger, this was an average of 86 words.

However, when trans-fats came into play, men 45 and younger performed poorer. When 1g of trans-fat was incorporated into a man’s diet, a person recalled .76 less words compared to those who did not consume trans-fats. Those with the highest consumption of trans-fats remembered 12 less words that those with no trans-fats in their diet.

Age, ethnicity, and physical exercise had no change within the findings. After the age of 45, the researchers could not find an association between trans-fat consumption and poorer working memory. The researchers suggest this may because of other forms of memory loss that come with aging.

This study should be a cautionary tale for men both young and middle-aged. Seeing how Americans are expected to retire around age 66, it is vital that we keep our memory sharp for our careers. This can be hard in a work environment, seeing how lunchtimes are usually short and people opt for fast foods, which often contain trans-fat.

This week, the FDA made an announcement that it is taking steps to remove artificial trans-fat from processed foods. Their decision is an attempt to “reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.” All in hopes to prevent fatal heart attacks.

The study and the FDA announcement make it clear that trans-fats should be removed from our diets. They impact both our heart and brain, two of the most vital organs in our body for survival. To ensure the longevity of both of these, try reducing consumption of them.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi

Dr. Michael Omidi is co-founder of The Children’s Obesity Fund which advocates healthy living and the prevention of obesity in children.

Child obesity can be stopped with a mother's love

Child Obesity Stops with a Mother’s Love

In today’s entry, Michael Omidi discusses what it takes for a mother to prevent her child from having child obesity.

A mother’s love could do more for preventing child obesity than you think. It starts at the womb. When a child is in utero, a mother can do more for a child’s future by simply skipping on caffeine.

A recent study showed that consuming caffeine during pregnancy could more than double a child’s risk to become obese. Women who consumed caffeinated drinks were 89% more likely to have children who would become obese later in life.

This study is just the start of a mother’s journey to keep their child at a healthy weight. Much of a child’s weight must managed by a mother. Especially during breast feeding and into toddler years. A child’s eating habits begin when they are young. Through educating your children about making healthy food choices, they will be trained to make the right choices later in life.

Some mothers have more of an advantage to influence their children than their father because of the time spent with their children. Many mothers, especially during a child’s early years, spend more time around their children. This is especially true in single income families. Many of the choices a mother makes for nutrition and activity will likely impact how the child grows.

If you are a mother, or expecting, think about how you are going to influence your child’s eating habits. Through your choices, you may be able prevent your child from living a life of obesity. The more you do, the more they will be able to be prepared to lead a healthy life.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi

Michael Omidi is a philanthropist who co-founded No More Poverty, a nonprofit that advocates the end of poverty. 

Michael Omidi takes a photo with one of his young patients during his medical mission to the Philippines.

The Importance of Charitable Works

It’s been said that good actions give strength to ourselves, and inspire good actions in others. Charitable works have many long lasting benefits, both for both the person volunteering their time, as well as the person receiving the acts of charity. Let’s take a look at these benefits, how they help those in need, and the benefits you receive.

One benefit of volunteering is that volunteers were found to feel as though they have more time. According to the Harvard Business Review, studies found that those who do acts of kindness for others, compared to acts for themselves, expressed that they felt as though they experience more time. The author stated that those who give away their time felt more “time affluent.

In addition to “time affluence,” it has also been reported that volunteering can make your body healthier. As reported by Corporation for National & Community Service, people who volunteered experienced both physical and mental benefits from volunteering. This was especially the case for those over the age of 60. Their research showed that volunteering provided volunteers with a greater sense of purpose in life.

There are many ways that a person can volunteer. One of these is skill based volunteering. This is where a person utilizes their skill set to help others in need. This can be at home or abroad. I personally have done this by volunteering my services in the Philippines. I’ll touch more on this later. It has been found that participating in skill based volunteerism helps develop new skills. The Stanford Social Innovation Review has dubbed skill based volunteering the ‘new executive training ground.’

Charitable Endowment Support Helps the Philippines

Omidi Philippines 2

Dr. Michael Omidi tends to a patient in the Philippines.

One organization I have worked closely with is the Charitable Endowment Support. They are a non-profit organizations that works as an umbrella for various organizations that work with the homeless, impoverished, orphans and sexually abused in hopes to enhance their lives. They operate heavily in the Philippines to help those who are suffering. Their mission is simple:

“CES7 is committed to provide hope for children around the globe and seeks to build a fully operational orphanage in Cebu, Philippines. The orphanage will also serve as a medical and dental clinic to enhance the quality of life of children so that they may have a positive future.”

As you can see, their directive is twofold. First, they work to build a fully operational orphanage in Cebu. They also work to bring proper medical treatment to these children. Currently, 2 million children are orphans in the Philippines. Cebu has the largest number of impoverished families, even though it is the richest providence in the Philippines. The poorest families only live on one dollar a day for a family of five.

An impoverished province in Cebu, Philippines.

An impoverished province in Cebu, Philippines.

This forces children to work harsh jobs. Nearly 12% of children ages 5 to 14 have to labor in order to help provide their families food. This sometimes leads to drug use and prostitution. The sex trade is overwhelming large in their country. Some children a sadly perpetually forced to live within it. The works of CES7 works to better the lives of children in Cebu through an orphanage that doubles as a medical and dental clinic.

As I mentioned earlier, I personally have volunteered my services with the organization. In December of 2012, I embarked on a medical mission to provide medical care to children in the Philippines. Other doctors and I worked in the Calumpit Medical District. We performed 36 surgeries ranging from fixing cleft lips to extracting potentially cancerous moles and cysts.

Dr. Omidi working to surgically repair a cleft lip in the Philippines.

Dr. Omidi working to surgically repair a cleft lip in the Philippines.

The hospital we worked in only had one operating room with an autoclave for sterilization. Sometimes we were forced to perform surgeries late in the night, since the operating room also double as use for newborn deliveries.  It was difficult at times to see the amount of suffering, but we were doing our part to help these people.

Our work allowed these people to live better lives. They received care that they may have otherwise never received. That is the type of work CES7 is trying to promote. They, in partnership with my own organization No More Poverty, are working to get the people in the Cebu the much needed care and attention that they need.

Since then, CES7 and No More Poverty have done other medical trips to the Philippines, including one in July 2013 through our Operations for Hope. No More Poverty works to create novel solutions to increase the standard of living and quality of life for those living in impoverished areas. Through education, advocacy and volunteering, we help spread our message to others.

No More Poverty works with other charitable organizations like CES7 to further our mission. Poverty is a serious throughout America and the world. It requires both organizations like No More Poverty as well as CES7 and individual volunteers to help those living in poverty experience steps towards better lives.

Think about the ways in which you can help. What services are you able to provide those in need? What resources do you have that you are able to share with nonprofit organizations like CES7? Better yet, think about how volunteering could better your own life.

Perhaps you are feeling a bit unfulfilled. You may have a career, but still feel something is lacking? Maybe you feel like you want to make a greater difference in the world? This is possible through volunteer work.

Volunteering teaches you empathy. You are placed in circumstances that you would have otherwise never experienced. You meet people you may have never otherwise met. You are doing something that deep down you know is making a difference. You are living a meaningful life by helping those who do not have access to basic resources. In doing so, you are making a positive impact on their future.

If you have been seeking a greater purpose, learn more about the efforts of No More Poverty as well as CES7. Also think about how you can become an advocate for change. You could leverage your social media profiles to help spread information that informs your network about the problems poverty creates in countries like the Philippines as well as here in the US. By doing so, you are continuing the dialogue that poverty is a problem that must be addressed to better future generations to come.

child obesity can be prevented through exercise

Treat Child Obesity to Prevent Future Complications

In today’s blog, Michael Omidi discusses how the lack of treatment for child obesity could lead to larger consequences as a child enters into adulthood.

It has been well documented that child obesity has increased to near epidemic proportions over the past twenty years. Some statistics site that they have nearly doubled, and even tripled, in some demographics since the 1980s. Sadly, the inability to treat obesity during a child’s youth could lead to some severe consequences later in life.

Diabetes, hypertension and heart disease are just a few medical complications a child could have as an adult if they do not properly treat obesity while they are young. That is based on a study by the International Journal of Obesity. The study also found that children who are obese were 4 out of 5 times more likely to have premature deaths.

These findings are surely alarming. In the study, children were more likely to suffer from disabilities, certain cancers and breathing issues. Allowing obesity to continue is detrimental to a child’s future wellness.

In order to stop these odds, parents and relatives need to get serious about child obesity. They need to learn the facts, and implement a process to get their children who may be obese healthy. This includes healthy eating and snacking habits, and encouraging physical activity. After all, while at home, parents are the providers of food. The choice is in their hands on what to buy and feed their children.

Additionally, sedentary activities should be limited or highly discouraged. A large amount of weight gain is associated to lack of physical exertion, as well as unhealthy eating habits. By creating a routine that promotes healthy life-choices and informs a child of the fatal consequences to live a life being overweight, they will learn the skills to make proper choices later in life. It is up to adults to help children be their best selves.

Yours in Health,

Michael Omidi

Dr. Michael Omidi is the co-founder of The Children’s Obesity Fund, a nonprofit that advocates healthy lifestyles for children in order to eliminate child obesity.

The Vocabulary of Disease


Dr. Michael Omidi is the co-founder of No More Poverty, among other organizations. Today he takes a look at the terms medical experts use to describe different states of danger from viral diseases.

It’s a grim topic, to be sure, but every adult should know the terminology associated with viral and other disease outbreaks. When you read a newspaper headline that contains the word “virus,” “epidemic,” “pandemic,” or “outbreak,” do you know exactly what they’re talking about? Unless you are a medical professional, you probably don’t. Below is a thorough discussion, courtesy of WebMD, on the topic of disease terminology. (The above photo shows a temporary hospital which housed patients during the deadly influenza pandemic of 1918-1920. Worldwide, the pandemic killed between 50 and 100 million people).

  • Outbreak: “A disease outbreak happens when a disease occurs in greater numbers than expected in a community or region or during a season. An outbreak may occur in one community or even extend to several countries. It can last from days to years.” Experts sometimes refer to just one case of a dangerous disease as an outbreak, especially in situations where they are dealing with a rare or extremely contagious disease, like the bubonic plague. If you happen to notice a disease outbreak before anyone else does, call your doctor or the local health authorities and report the facts to them.
  • Epidemic: Whenever an infectious condition shows up in a large number of people in a very short amount of time, medical researchers call it an epidemic. You might remember the SARS virus of 2003, which was categorized as an epidemic due to its rapid spread and highly infectious nature.
  • Pandemic: “A pandemic is a global disease outbreak.” Pandemics usually take many lives and last a long time. HIV/AIDS is a pandemic that will likely go down in history as one of the deadliest. Influenza pandemics have appeared three times in the past hundred years, in 1918, 1957 and 1968. Those flu viruses killed approximately 75 million, 2 million and 1 million people, respectively.

Advances in medical science and treatment have gone a long way toward minimizing the number of deaths from outbreaks, pandemics and epidemics. Still, everyone should stay aware of what public health officials have to say concerning the current state of danger regarding serious diseases. It’s always a good idea to educate ourselves about health issues.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi
The Omidi brothers, Julian Omidi and Michael Omidi, along with their mother, Cindy Omidi, are founders of several charities dedicated to making the world a happier and safer place.



Does WebMD and Other Medical Databases Exacerbate Health Based Fears?

In today’s blog, Dr. Michael Omidi discusses the impact researching health related ailments can have on people’s psychological fears.

It has become commonplace, people get a pain in a part of the body or feel a little sick, instead of consulting a doctor they hop on a medical website like WebMD and research their symptoms. Then, a list of horrible diseases pops up, and they assume the worst. We’re here to tell you, though medical sites like WebMD are a good resource of learning about medical conditions, they are not intended for you to self-diagnose.

If you are ever feeling unwell, it is always best to see your primary care physician. They are trained experts. They will be able to address your symptoms and perform diagnostic testing to see whether or not you are experiencing something more severe. In those cases, they will be able to provide you with a referral to a specialist.

Websites like WebMD are meant to provide information. It is a database of information. It is meant to educate, not to induce hypochondria. Getting sick is a scary thing. It makes us feel unwell and even question our own mortality, but you can’t walk around assuming you have a disease if you haven’t seen a medical doctor.

That means, you shouldn’t fret over the symptoms you are having. The responsible thing to do is to seek treatment.

It takes years to become a doctor. It requires rigorous studying and training under the guidance of highly skilled professionals. Further, the advancement of the medical community is always changing. People commit their lives to make progress in diagnosing, treating and curing illness.

The next time you are unwell, don’t Google your symptoms. Don’t automatically hop onto WebMD. Pick up the phone and call your physician. In most cases, it could be your mind getting the best of you. And, if it is something more severe, you will be in expert hands to help you.

Yours in health,

Dr. Michael Omidi

Dr. Michael Omidi, is a surgeon and philanthropist whose mission is to educate and help people of all ages. 


How Massage Can Help Ease the Pain of Cancer

Dr. Michael Omidi is the co-founder of No More Poverty, among other charities dedicated to the welfare and wellbeing of others. Today he looks at the topic of massage therapy as a treatment for cancer-related pain.

A new medical study has shown that massage can go a long way toward easing the many painful side effects of cancer and cancer medications. Specifically, researchers at Emory University discovered that routine massage therapy significantly reduces fatigue in breast cancer sufferers. Related research has found even better news: standard massage therapy helps to stave off anxiety and boost the human immune system in people with or without cancer.

What can massage do for you?

Even for healthy people, therapeutic massage has dozens of beneficial effects, all of which have been documented by medical research. Of course it feels great to get a massage, but the positive results of a session go far beyond the obvious relaxation massage delivers.

Here are just a few of the things you can expect from a massage, according to the experts at ABMP (Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals):

  • Relief from low-back pain
  • Increased range of motion
  • Reduction of spasms and cramps
  • Improved circulation
  • Reduction of post-surgery swelling
  • Enhanced immunity
  • Athletic warm-up and cool-down
  • Reduction of general anxiety
  • Stimulation of the skin
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Relief from migraine headaches

Not to mention the fact that a routine therapeutic or relaxation massage feels great! In the past two decades, more and more people are opting for regular massage sessions. In fact, most cities in the U.S. now have several active (and busy) therapeutic massage clinics where you can spend between $40 and $80 for a one-hour session of Swedish (relaxation), therapeutic (more pain-relief focused), or sports massage.

Nor is massage therapy is new, by any stretch of the imagination. The practice has been around for at least 3,700 years, as historians know from looking at ancient papyrus writings that mentioned a type of medical massage treatment! Nowadays, the most common type of massage in this country is either Swedish or therapeutic. Most people (80 percent of whom are women) who pay for massage are looking for deep-relaxation stress relief or want help with a specific area of soreness.

Now that serious medical research is learning more about massage as a useful pain relief tool, millions of people who suffer from cancer and other diseases are turning to therapeutic massage. Not only is massage therapy a low-cost treatment, but it offers the added advantage of being a drugless modality as well.

Yours in health,
Dr. Michael Omidi