Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

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Homeopathic Pseudoscience?


Homeopathic medicines have the unique quality of claiming they are formulated by the “idea that “like cures like.” That is, if a substance causes a symptom in a healthy person, giving the person a very small amount of the same substance may cure the illness.”  (WebMD)

However, skeptics doubt that this “memory” occurs and there is little evidence that they have any therapeutic qualities and only rely on the power of the placebo effect. These products as well as dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA and consumers pay billions of dollars every year for these “magical” products.



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Coconut Oil: Is It Healthy or Not?

The benefits of coconut oil have been debated for quite some time. A new study came with some surprises! Read about the study HERE. For a fair assessment from Harvard Medical School about some benefits of coconut oil click HERE.

Bottom Line:

As with most nutrition news, premature conclusions can be reached and headlines can be misleading. For coconut oil adherents, the most recent study is good news; however, coconut oil is a highly saturated fat oil unlike most vegetable oils, and in my opinion should be used sparingly until further research sorts out this debate and reaches some kind of consensus. In the meantime, it’s great for moisturizing your skin and smells good, too.


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Fabulous Fiber

The debate over the benefits of dietary fiber has lingered for many decades.  By itself, it doesn’t provide any vitamins and minerals and is not broken down or absorbed in the digestive tract as are  other nutrients.  However, fiber is found in foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans (legumes) and grains that do provide us with the essential nutrients we need. So it rides along with these nutrients.

Fiber is classified as soluble and insoluble  but most foods contain a mixture of both types.

Good sources of soluble fiber: legumes, prunes,  apricots, raisins, oranges, bananas, oats, apples, eggplant, flax seed

Good sources of insoluble fiber: wheat bran, whole-wheat bread, broccoli, corn, eggplant, apple skins, nuts and seeds

How much do we need?  For young men the recommendation is 38 grams/day and for young women, 25 grams a day. Consider this example:

“Eating a bowl of Raisin Bran with a 1/2 cup of strawberries for breakfast, a sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce and tomatoes and an apple for lunch, eggplant Parmesan for dinner, and popcorn for a snack will provide about 25 grams.” Smolin and Grosvenor, Nutrition, Science and Applications, Third Edition.

Based on diet analyses I have seen, the average daily intake is only about 9-11 grams a day.

So you can see that it is not easy to get enough fiber that is best explained in the linked article below.

What does it actually do for us?


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Fighting Back the Food Industry

It’s about time there are serious attempts to prevent the food industry from its persistent tactics to try to influence the Dietary Guidelines, the consumer and our children’s health. Read what Chile did to try to combat the advertising tactics that often are directed at children by company brands.

The article has many important implications on changing the toxic food environment – which in my opinion is at the heart of the obesity/diabetes crisis. If consumers do not demand positive changes,  we may never begin  to turn around this crisis  that decidedly affects our health and the resulting health care costs. It’s a long read but carries an important message. The Comments are also very supportive of these kinds of initiatives. Kudos to Chile.


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Food Safety News

E. coli bacteria

Little attention is paid to food safety and its potential long-term effects on life-long health.  E.coli contamination from consuming under cooked hamburger has become less common due to more awareness,  but still presents a threat of long-term complications that can result in chronic kidney damage.


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Alcohol and Longevity ???

NEWS: Drinking a Glass of Wine and Taking a Walk May Be Key to Longevity

Two Types Of Wine White Wine Glass Grapes

Centenarians from the “Blue Zones” regions of the world often drink up to two glasses of wine every day as a way to “downshift” from the stressors of daily life. Drinking a glass of wine with a plant-slant meal and a group of your closest friends can only enhance the experience and the benefits.  Read the link HERE.

Ever heard of the glymphatic system in the brain?  I never had even with about 20 years of  teaching Anatomy and Physiology. I first thought it was a misprint but after some searches found out it is very new concept (actually around for a hundred years, but apparently no one had the tools to study it. ) You can read about in more depth HERE.

So a new study found HERE caught my attention and may shed some light on why it may be beneficial – wine drinkers rejoice??? And it may have something to do with the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease since theories often describe that disease is associated with toxin -induced inflammation that builds up as amyloid plaques in certain parts of the brain involving cognition and memory functions. But this may be all conjecture?

There are many cautions about studies like this. Many people can read a headline and misinterpret its message. The title of the article is “Low levels of alcohol good for the brain, study shows.” The key here is “low levels” which is a moderate intake defined in the study as about 2 glasses a day. In other words, a higher intake did NOT curb inflammation but rather added to the problem. In addition this was an animal study (sorry, volunteers for the next study).  Of course, the results cannot be applied to humans as everyone should realize. There have been some studies, however, that modest amounts of alcohol have shown some cardiovascular health benefits, but again, these results always are accompanied by the common sense cautionary warnings.