FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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“Cleaner” Ingredient Lists

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Have you ever really read an ingredient list on a food label?  An article from Fooducate is very informative on what a few of these commonly used ingredients really are and what they do.  Campbells is trying to clean up labels using more real food ingredients. Interesting!!! Sounds like a good idea.

CLICK HERE.


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Lutein and Preserving Cognitive Performance

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Carotenoids are a group of more than 600 yellow, orange, and red compounds found in may colorful fruits and vegetables. They have antioxidant properties and some can have vitamin A activity. The most prevalent carotenoids in the North American diet are beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in green leafy vegetables. They do not have vitamin A activity as beta carotene does, but are concentrated in the macula of the eye, where they protect against oxidative damage. For example, broccoli has 1,277 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin and are being extensively researched for their ability to reduce or prevent macular degeneration, the number one cause of blindness in older adults. A new study has investigated the role of lutein in cognitive memory especially in older people. Best to get your carotenoids from real foods, not supplements.

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The Low Processed Food Diet?

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When one looks at the diets of the world, we find that some stand out as part of a healthy lifestyle more than others.  Although these are simply observations of populations or cultures with a history of longevity and low rates of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancers, there are lessons to be learned.  There is merit in looking at these traditional ways of eating that often get lost in the mire of diet advice.  However, they seem  to have one common characteristic – there is hardly any that includes the consumption of highly processed foods.  I know, all foods are processed to an extent, but what we’re talking about here is what they should be called- ultra-processed foods defined as: “Formulations of several ingredients which, besides salt, sugar, oils, and fats, include food substances not used in culinary preparations, in particular, flavors, colors, sweeteners, emulsifiers and other additives used to imitate sensorial qualities of unprocessed or minimally processed foods and their culinary preparations or to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product.” More than half of all the calories consumed in the Standard American Diet (SAD) is provided by these foods.

So the bottom line for heath:  To borrow  from Michael Pollan’s famous advice: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”, we can just simply say: “Eat real food, not too much, mostly unprocessed or minimally processed.

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Obesity Bias?

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Obesity is probably the least understood “disease” of human physiology.The advice for its cure such “eat less and move more” apparently is over simplistic and does not work for all those afflicted. Even when weight loss is achieved, a great majority regain their loss and some even weigh more than before they lost the weight. It is proposed that repeated dieting lowers our metabolism with each attempt, making it even harder to lose the weight with the next attempt.  Fat shaming does occur at work, in schools, and even in the medical field.  Many people feel uncomfortable seeing their doctor or health practitioner because they too can imply that their weight problem is their own fault. The solution? Presently, I don’t think anyone knows exactly what to do about it. We may just need an attitude adjustment such as those who promote fat acceptance. However, that approach does not solve the problem. More awareness of the problem may help and prevention may be the key.  For a long read but very informative article on this topic, CLICK HERE. For a shorter discussion: CLICK HERE.


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Obesity and Willpower?

DNA and Epigenetics

DNA and Epigenetics

It is becoming more apparent that the global obesity epidemic is due to many complex interactions between our genetic makeup, physiology  and environmental factors such as availability of cheap food, an abundant food supply and the types of foods we eat.  This interaction is referred to as epigenetics and discussed in a previous post HERE.

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