FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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Spoiler Alert: Food Recall

Food contamination occurs from many sources, not just bacteria  and result in many recalls.

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Fad Diets: More Nuts Than Berries?

Ever since I read a book entitled “The New Nuts Among the Berries” by Ronald M. Deutsch (1977), I have been interested in fad diets and nutrition quackery for decades and marvel at their persistent presence in our society, not to mention their creativity. Don’t miss the Swamp Diet in the following article. (Spoiler: move away from swamps). Warning: Fad diets can only lead to health problems and none are recommended. Very restrictive diets can be dangerous and should never be followed without medical supervision if at all.

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The Importance of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, a water-soluble  vitamin is stored and reused more efficiently that it does other water-soluble vitamins. A deficiency is therefore caused more by poor absorption rather than by a low intake alone.

A deficiency can cause pernicious anemia that is best treated by B12 injections instead of megadoses of vitamin B12 supplements or dietary means. Deficiencies are rare but there can be marginal vitamin B12 status, particularly in older adults and/or vegetarians who consume no animal products.

A deficiency also interferes with the maintenance of myelin  that coats the nerves, spinal cord, and brain. When the myelin degenerates, neurological symptoms of numbness and tingling, abnormalities in walking, memory loss, and disorientation occur. If not treated, this eventually causes paralysis and death.

FYI: Please do not take vitamin B12 supplements without getting your vitamin B12 levels checked. No toxic effects have been reported with excess intakes up to 100 ug/day but there is insufficient data to establish an Upper Tolerable Intake. The RDA for adults of all ages is  2.4 ug/day.

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Eating Less for Longevity?

A new study says that eating less can contribute to a longer life and even more importantly, a longer healthy life. Previous research with many species has supported this hypothesis.  Additional support can come from the “Blue Zones”, a study of five cultures around the world with the greatest number of healthy centenarians in their populations. An example is the Okinawan practice called “hara hachi bu” that promotes eating only until you’re 80 percent full.

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Why is a Sundae called a Sundae ?

Try a new category at Food Facts and Fads called “The American Plate.” The posts are a collection of short facts and fads about food in the past and present and contributes to our current American culture. Enjoy!!!

Why are Sundaes Called Sundaes?

The term may have begun in Evanston, Illinois back in 1857  that  had a very pious reputation. Drugstores in many parts of the country were serving very popular ice cream sodas with soda water. However, the soda water was in many religious minds too frivolous or “too sassy” to serve on the Sabbath. So it was banned. Other people were outraged, so one drugstore owner came up with a substitute of putting ice cream in a dish with only chocolate syrup added. Later versions added whipped cream, nuts, and cherries, of course.

The new concoctions were advertised as a Sunday “special” but again, the religious community didn’t approve. So the spelling was changed to Sundi and eventually to Sundae with the approval of the city’s religious zealots. The name stuck and as we know still remains one of the most successful and popular desserts today.

The invention of the ice cream cone came later and is often credited to Ernest Hamwi, who sold zalabia (crisp waffle-like pastry) at the Worlds Fair in St. Louis in 1904.

According to the story, Hamwi’s booth was next to an ice cream vendor, who ran short of dishes. He rolled a waffle into a cone shape to contain the ice cream. The accuracy of this story is unknown, and many others have claimed the invention.  Source: Wikipedia

 

 


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Bacteria for Breakfast?

A “friendly” bacteria

Recent research has proposed that our current industrialized food production practices, including ultra processed food has contributed to detrimental changes in our microbome (gut bacteria) early in life and may be a causative factor in our health status later in life.  The problem appears to be that the “good” bacteria may be affected leaving the “bad” untouched. They also proposed that the rising rates of food allergies and/or autoimmune diseases (type 1 diabetes, e.g.) may be in part due to this phenomenon.

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