FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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Got Milk?

dairy_3_a_day_rThe National Dairy Council has been guilty for years of funding research to promote their own interests and teaming up with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, thus offering nutrition education programs for registered dietitians. They have attempted  and succeeded to influence the Dietary Guidelines for Americans ever since  their inception. Check out some PROS AND CONS about milk.

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The Reality of Food Safety

 

Inside a bacterium

Inside a bacterium

Food safety is not a pleasant topic to think about,  but often many people get careless about food safety practices at home. However, the stories of people who actually have experienced a bout of food poisoning gives us all food for thought.  Here is one of them. A good reminder to wash hands thoroughly, not just a quick rinse.

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The Blue Zone Solution

Strawberries provide lots of good nutrition and can be cancer fighters.

Strawberries provide lots of good nutrition and can be cancer fighters.

This is a great book. It is so much more than just a diet book. The people of these five global areas generally are some of the longest-living and healthiest seniors on the planet. The book, The Blue Zone Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People by Dan Buettner has four parts:

 

  1. Discovering the Blue Zones
  2. Making an American Blue Zone
  3. Building Your Own Blue Zone
  4. Blue Zone Recipes

CLICK HERE.


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The Anatomy of an Industry-funded Nutrition Study

The Company: Kelloggs

Date: Sometime in 2008 as a TV commercial. See it for yourself HERE.

The Claim: ” Eating Frosted Mini Wheat Cereal Makes Your Child Smarter.”

The Scenario: A teacher in a classroom asks students, “Where were we?” ( In my opinion, apparently, she had not eaten Frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast).  Most of the students paid no attention to her request. But one boy enthusiastically offered the answer waving his hand and proclaimed, “we were on the third paragraph of page 57 and you were explaining that the stone structures made by ancient Romans were called aqueducts”….

A voice over: “A clinical study showed kids that a filling breakfast of Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal improved their attentiveness by nearly 20 percent. Keep ’em full. Keeps ’em focused.”

The Evidence? The claim was false. The reality? Kelloggs had commissioned and paid for the study.  The actual results found that  half of the children in the study who consumed Frosted Mini-Wheats showed no improvements at all on all the tests they were given to measure memory or reasoning when compared to their test results before eating the same cereal. Only 1 in 9 improved by 20% or more.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cited Kelloggs for making false claims. In the end, Kelloggs paid $2.8 million in a separate class action suit to consumers in refunds and donated $5 million of its products to charities.  Source: Michael Moss, “Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.” pages 91-92.

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Low Carbohydrate and Real Food?

farmersmarketsign_tnWhen people “go on a diet” like low carbohydrate, the Paleo Diet,  gluten-free,  or wheat-free , they may lose weight but often say they say they “feel better.”  What do these diets have in common?   Most of these diets discourage the use of highly processed foods that are notoriously loaded with salt, fat, and sugar. Lately, there has been a lot of discussion on how the food industry contributes to the obesity problem and how  sugar affects our health. I  propose another diet approach – the “low processed food diet.”  This diet would help control our weight as well  contribute to the subtle effects of our overall sense of well being.

Observational studies of populations with low rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease either traditionally or presently consume diets low in refined  carbohydrates and ultra-processed foods.  Not all carbohydrates are equal. It’s important to understand that there are “good” carbohydrates in the form of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables – real foods, in other words. Perhaps it’s not just the amount of food,  its the type that counts. How do the  endless lists of ingredients on ultra-processed foods affect our general health?  The following article addresses this approach in the management of diabetes.

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Sugar and Heart Disease?

heartdiseaseinfographicAnother nutrition bombshell thanks to the manipulation of nutrition research, this time by the sugar industry. This one dates back to the 1960’s. I  wonder how many lives could have been saved if this information had been available all these years. Now it will take years to determine if sugar consumption is related to heart disease based hopefully on independent research and not contamination by the food industry.

CLICK HERE.