FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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Pesticides and Fertility

 

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

Pesticide residues may not be that important for everyone; however, women who are trying to become pregnant may want to be careful when choosing fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, some recent reports have found that pesticides may also adversely  affect the brains of growing fetuses and young children.

You may want to choose organic versions of some of the most contaminated. Organic produce may still contain some pesticide residues but would certainly be better choices under  these circumstances. In these cases, you may want to consult the list of the “dirty dozen” put out by the Environmental Working Group.

CLICK HERE.

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Maple or Agave? Which is Best?

A good article on which sweetener is the best for health, thanks to Fooducate. Click on the link for agave in the article. Keep in mind that all sweeteners (natural or artificial) are primarily “empty calories.” In this case, I would bet on maple syrup as a bit “healthier” due to some research that suggests that fructose found in agave may causes some health problems as discussed in a previous post HERE.

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Omnivores: A Sensible Approach?

Eating a plant-based diet is now perceived as an improvement in our U.S. food culture for better health and longevity.

A new study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science seems to put eating meat into a common sense and realistic perspective. Some important points emerge:

  • The feasibility of the current U.S diet conversion to a plant-based diet would have some complex considerations.
  • Would a plant-based diet provide the nutrients we need and now obtain from our current meat-centered diet?
  • Would the reduction of the amount of green house gas emissions be enough to make a decided difference?

The U.S. diet has its roots in people eating both plant and animal foods and has more recently become animal food centered. In an ideal world, in my opinion, animals would all be free-range roaming and not dosed with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides or experience the cruelties of the huge feedlot operations. But, realistically, current practices have a long way to go before this would ever be possible.

In the book, The Blue Zones Solution by Dan Buettner, writes: “In most Blue Zones people ate small amounts of pork, chicken, or lamb. Families traditionally slaughtered a pig or goat for festival celebrations, ate heartily, and preserved the leftovers for frying or as a condiment for flavor . Neither beef nor turkey figures significantly into the average Blue Zones.”  in some “healthy” cultures, meat is used as more of an accompaniment rather than the “main attraction.”

How would a conversion of the U.S. diet to a more plant-based diet affect our current environmental and nutrition status?

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Sodium and Potassium Ratio

The Standard American Diet (SAD) has it all wrong when it comes to sodium and potassium.

The typical daily intake of sodium in the U.S. is about 3400 mg.

The AI (Adequate Intake) is 1500/day. The Tolerable Upper level (UL) is 2300 mg.

The AI for potassium is 4700 mg/day, a level that will lower blood pressure and reduce the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The problem: Few Americans currently consume these amounts of potassium. The sodium/potassium ratio should be 1:2,  but actually approaches the opposite of about 2:1, so you can easily see the problem.

The U.S diet is high in sodium and low in potassium. The reason is that we eat a lot of processed foods, generally high in sodium and low in potassium and added during processing and manufacturing.    About 77% of the sodium we eat comes from these sources and not due to the salt shaker.

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Obsesity: Simple Truths about a Complex Condition

If there was ever a complicated topic, the causes of obesity probably would be at the head of the list. Furthermore, solutions remain elusive.

The problem is spreading. Once considered prevalent only in high-income populations, overweight and obesity are  now on the rise in low and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. We now hear the term globesity as well as diabesity. Sounds like a changing food environment may be an important factor?

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Here’s to Health?

Everyone wants to eat “healthier.”  The hype is often promoted by the food industry with heath claims on all their products they can possibly get away with. But what is the truth? No one knows for sure, but there are some foods that have gained this reputation with some degree of respect. Here they are.

CLICK HERE.