FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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Preventing Bacterial Contamination on Produce

A Bacterial Superbug

Food safety is a very important aspect of nutrition education that is often ignored Since most produce is not cooked and eaten raw, it has unfortunately  become a source for bacterial contamination. The article gives some practical advice on how to avoid food poisoning from produce sources.

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The Nordic Diet? Is it Healthy?

The traditional diets rich in butter, meat, potatoes and cream of the Nordic countries are changing and so is the health profiles of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. Fruit and vegetable intake was low due the lack of availability and short growing seasons.

  • In Finland, a national public health program resulted in heart disease mortality that plummeted 55 percent among men and nearly 70 percent among women.
  • In Norway, deaths from heart disease have declined sharply by 40 percent in the 40 to 49 years old age group  since the late 1970’s.
  • Life expectancy has increased in Sweden continues to rise. Cancer rates remain significantly less of a threat in this geographical area according to World Health Organization statistics.

Could their diet changes be one of the factors responsible? Take a look at the Nordic Diet.

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Check out a previous post on this diet HERE.


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The Dangers of Herbal Supplements

Folk medicine has used herbs for  centuries to treat and prevent disease. Today, they appear to be more popular than ever. It is estimated that about 1 in 6 Americans use herbs to treat or prevent illnesses. Herbal supplements are relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain – no prescription necessary.  Prescription medicines are tested for safety and efficacy and side effects are clearly available from the manufacturers.

Doses are regulated and standardized and physicians and pharmacists are trained to be aware of drug interactions that may occur that can cause dangerous sometimes fatal results. Herbal preparations have none of these safeguards. Here is what you need to know:

  • Many botanical components are toxic by themselves or in combination with other herbal components.
  • The FDA has issued warnings about ingredients such as comfrey, kava, and aristolochic acid.
    • Ephedra found in many weight loss preparations was found to cause heart attacks and strokes and was removed from the market in 2004. Ephedra extracts not containing ephedrine are not banned (according to Wikipedia) and can be found on the Internet.
  • Herbal supplements are subject to contamination of pesticides, microbes, metals and other toxins.
  • Doses are not thoroughly tested for purity and concentrations.
  • Some supplements should not be taken two to three weeks prior to surgery, e.g. St. John’s wort can prolong and intensity narcotic drug effects.
  • Herbal supplements should not be taken during pregnancy.
  • Do not give herbs to children.
  • Do not use herbs for long periods of time.
  • Do not fall for false health claims made by the manufacturer.

Source:   Smolin, Lori A., Grosvenor, Mary B. Nutrition: Science and Applications, Third Edition.

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Interesting Study About Celiac Disease?

Is celiac disease an infectious disease caused by a viral infection? An interesting study says it’s possible. A reovirus is a family of viruses that cause intestinal diseases. One common one is called a rotavirus. The rotavirus is transmitted by food and water and primarily causes diarrhea. A vaccine could conceivably prevent the disease by vaccination, if this hypothesis holds true. There is along way to go for that conclusion. I’m putting this one in my category of “Weird things” until further research suggests otherwise.

R. Bouziat et al., “Reovirus infection triggers inflammatory responses to dietary antigens and development of celiac disease,” Science, doi:10.1126/science.aah5298, 2017.  

CLICK HERE.