FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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Websites: How reliable are they?


 

The article provides good advice for any website, but especially medical or nutrition websites.  They often seem to promote misinformation that sometimes borders on the absurd or at the least,  unsubstantiated by sound research.

Who can you believe? The term “nutritionist” is not legally defined and is used by a wide variety of people from those who seek a PhD from a non-accredited school to health food store representatives with no formal training. Registered Dietitians (RD) are nutritional professionals who have completed a a four year college degree and additionally  have met established criteria to certify them to provide nutrition counseling. The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Medical Association and the American Institute for Cancer Research are non -profit organizations that provide reliable sources of nutrition information.

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What’s Better Than Butter?

Butter Is Back? Again?

Butter has been in the controversial column of nutrition advice for decades. When saturated fat and cholesterol were claimed to not be as strong a factor in heart disease a few years ago,  butter activists celebrated the headlines  – “Butter is Back.”  However, there are still some cautions when it comes to butter. Let’s face it – butter still contains saturated fat that raises the “bad” LDL – cholesterol in the blood. Sorry, butter lovers. The following article gives you more choices when deciding to stick with butter or choosing another alternative.

Another thing to remember. Extra virgin olive oil does not raise blood LDL cholesterol and may contain some healthy polyphenols as well.  Yogurt is the best dairy choice (if it is not loaded with sugar).

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How About Coconut Oil?


Coconut oil is appearing on the supermarket shelves after a long hiatus.  Its health claims range from curing Alzheimer’s disease to weight loss and antibacterial properties. Until we know more for sure about these claims, here’s some good advice on how  to use it in your diet. It is best to use organic, virgin oil rather than the refined brands.

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Turmeric: The Facts

Turmeric originated in India or nearby Southeast Asia For 400,000 years it has had a wide range of medicinal, religious and culinary applications especially in South Asian cultures. Medically it has been used as an antiseptic or antibacterial agent. Turmeric contains iron, vitamin B6, fiber (1.4 g), and potassium. It also contains the polyphenol, curcumin.

The claims may be exaggerated  but what actually are the health benefits of this often talked about spice?

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Eggs: Yes or No?

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Since the1960’s we have been advised to limit our egg consumption for the simple reason that one egg has over 200 mg. of cholesterol. However, the latest official advice on cholesterol states that the cholesterol coming from the diet does not play a major role in blood cholesterol. In other words, even if you don’t eat any cholesterol, your liver will make all you need. When some people eat cholesterol, their liver production slows and blood levels do not rise; for others that do not regulate cholesterol as well, dietary cholesterol may increase blood cholesterol. However, the increase is typically due to increases in both HDL (“healthy”) and “unhealthy” LDL cholesterol.

Bottom Line: Currently, the vast majority of epidemiological studies do not find a relationship between dietary cholesterol or egg consumption and cardiovascular disease. Many factors affect blood cholesterol more than dietary cholesterol, such as physical activity, body weight, intake of saturated and trans fat, heredity, age, and sex.

Eggs are part of the Mediterranean diet associated with good cardiovascular health. One large egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and are low in cholesterol-raising saturated fat. They are a good source of zinc, B vitamins, vitamin A and iron.

The yolk is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that help protect against macular degeneration and cataracts. There is research to suggest eggs may help to weight maintenance. A recent study reports that people who eat an egg-based breakfast ate less calories during the day than people eating a bagel-based breakfast.

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