Archive for the ‘food and nutrition’ Category

Vegetarian Diet Less Healthy

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

A new study shows a vegetarian diet is less healthy than a well balanced diet. (More on “Humans Are Omnivores”)

Our study has shown that Austrian adults who consume a vegetarian diet are less healthy (in terms of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), have a lower quality of life, and also require more medical treatment. Therefore, a continued strong public health program for Austria is required in order to reduce the health risk due to nutritional factors. Moreover, our results emphasize the necessity of further studies in Austria, for a more in- depth analysis of the health effects of different dietary habits.

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Why Juicing is Not Good for You

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

There are two main reasons why juicing is not as good for you as eating the whole food.

1) Juicing removes much of the nutritional value from food including fiber.  The fiber helps you digest the food in a healthier fashion.  You are much less likely to get a spike in your sugar levels when consuming sugars with the fiber.

2) Juicing increases your caloric intake.  Typically, you consume 4 times more calories when juicing.

There are other disadvantages to juicing, such as, increasing toxicity of certain foods.  For instance, raw kale contains a substance that can be toxic. Juicing kale increases the toxicity.

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Nutrition Facts Label

Monday, March 10th, 2014

A lot has changed in the American diet since the Nutrition Facts label was introduced in 1993 to provide important nutritional information on food packages.

People are eating larger serving sizes. Rates of obesity, heart disease and stroke remain high. More is known about the relationship between nutrients and the risk of chronic diseases.

So the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposes bringing this familiar rectangular box—which has become one of the most recognized graphics in the world—up to date with changes to its design and content.

“Obesity, heart disease and other chronic diseases are leading public health problems,” says Michael Landa, director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “The proposed new label is intended to bring attention to calories and serving sizes, which are important in addressing these problems. Further, we are now proposing to require the listing of added sugars. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends reducing calories from added sugars and solid fats.”

Jessica Leighton, Ph.D., senior nutrition science and policy advisor in FDA’s Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine, and Claudine Kavanaugh, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., a health scientist at FDA, explain what you can expect to see if the proposed changes are enacted.

“The goal is to make people aware of what they are eating and give them the tools to make healthy dietary choices throughout the day,” says Leighton.

What’s Different? And Why?

  • The first thing consumers would notice is a greater emphasis—with larger and bolder type—on calories. “The number of calories is especially important to maintaining a healthy weight,” says Leighton.
  • For the first time, “Added Sugars” would be included on the label. On average, Americans eat 16 percent of their daily calories from sugars added during food production.
  • And the calories from fat would no longer be listed. “We know that the type of fat is more important than the total amount of fat,” says Kavanaugh. Total, saturated and trans fat will still be required.
  • The number of servings per package would also be more prominent. And “Amount Per Serving,” would now have the actual serving size listed, such as “Amount per cup.”
  • FDA proposes updating serving size requirements. These updates would reflect the reality of what people actually eat, according to recent food consumption data. By law, serving sizes must be based on what people actually eat, not on what they “should” be eating.
  • FDA would update Daily Values for various nutrients. Daily Values are used to calculate the Percent Daily Value (%DV) on the label, which helps consumers understand the nutrition information in the context of a total diet. In addition, the %DV would be shifted to the left of the label. FDA wants to help consumers visually and quickly put nutrient information in context.
  • The amounts of potassium and Vitamin D would be required on the label. Vitamin D is important for healthy bones, especially among women and the elderly. And potassium helps to lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension. “We have evidence that people are not consuming enough of these nutrients to protect against chronic diseases,” says Leighton.

 

What’s the Goal?

Both Leighton and Kavanaugh stress that the primary goal of the proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts label is not to tell people what they should be eating, but to expand and highlight the information they most need when making food choices. “It’s all about providing information that people can use to make their own choices.” Kavanaugh says.

For people with certain health issues, the information can be particularly valuable. “Although the label is made for the general population, many of us are at risk for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and stroke or simply want to eat fewer calories,” Kavanaugh says.

  • If you are concerned about high blood pressure and strokes, you may want to pay attention to sodium and potassium amounts on food labels.
  • For cardiovascular health, seek foods lower in saturated fats, cholesterol, trans fats and sodium.

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Healthy Eating

Monday, February 24th, 2014

1. discover fast ways to cook
Cook fresh or frozen vegetables in the microwave for a quick-and-easy dish to add to any meal. Steam green beans, carrots, or broccoli in a bowl with a small amount of water in the microwave for a quick side dish.

2. be ahead of the game
Cut up a batch of bell peppers, carrots, or broccoli. Pre-package them to use when time is limited. You can enjoy them on a salad, with hummus, or in a veggie wrap.

3. choose vegetables rich in color
Brighten your plate with vegetables that are red, orange, or dark green. They are full of vitamins and minerals. Try acorn squash, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, or collard greens. They not only taste great but also are good for you, too.

4. check the freezer aisle
Frozen vegetables are quick and easy to use and are just as nutritious as fresh veggies. Try adding frozen corn, peas, green beans, spinach, or sugar snap peas to some of your favorite dishes or eat as a side dish.

5. make your garden salad glow with color
Brighten your salad by using colorful vegetables such as black beans, sliced red bell peppers, shredded radishes, chopped red cabbage, or watercress. Your salad will not only look good but taste good, too.

Color Me Dumb: Eating Colors

Food For Thought

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Heavy Metals In Your Diet

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Heavy metals can either be an essential part of your diet or toxic and deadly. For instance, iron is needed for blood; however, men can build up toxic levels of iron as they grow older.

Living organisms require varying amounts of “heavy metals”. Iron, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc are required by humans. Excessive levels can be damaging to the organism. Other heavy metals such as mercury, plutonium, and lead are toxic metals and their accumulation over time in the bodies of animals can cause serious illness. Certain elements that are normally toxic are, for certain organisms or under certain conditions, beneficial. Examples include vanadium, tungsten, and even cadmium.

Heavy metal toxicity can result in damaged or reduced mental and central nervous function, lower energy levels, and damage to blood composition, lungs, kidneys, liver, and other vital organs. Long-term exposure may result in slowly progressing physical, muscular, and neurological degenerative processes that mimic Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis. Allergies are not uncommon, and repeated long-term contact with some metals (or their compounds) may cause cancer.
– Wikipedia

Do not eat:

  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • King Mackerel
  • Tilefish

Nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury… some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system. The risks from mercury in fish and shellfish depend on the amount of fish and shellfish eaten and the levels of mercury in the fish and shellfish.
– The FDA of the United States of America

Heavy Metals Song from the album Food For Thought

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