Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Leave a comment

Does the SAD Diet Encourage Heart Disease?

A new study concludes with some interesting and compelling reasons to avoid a typical Western diet (aka the SAD) early in life and attempt to practice healthy lifestyles including diet for a lifetime.

It also suggests the fact that future doctors should be taught more meaningful  nutrition education in medical schools, a goal that has not yet been accomplished.


Check out a previous post with several links on this topic HERE.



Leave a comment

Can Alzheimer’s Disease Be Prevented?


It is too bad that prevention is not emphasized more often to the younger population in order to possibly prevent the ravages of chronic diseases later in life. Research suggest that cognitive decline can at least be delayed by “healthy” lifestyle choices earlier in life rather than after the offending damage has occurred.


The younger population appears to be less healthy than previous generations of the same age group affecting retirement age and health care costs. For more, CLICK HERE.

Leave a comment

Carbs, Fiber, Food Processing and Diabetes



A comprehensive, simple explanation about how carbs with their inherent fiber content are affected by food processing and thus encourages the development of diabetes, type 2.

First, some definitions and background may help (unless you just took a nutrition course.)

Glycemic response: The rate, magnitude, and duration of the rise in blood glucose that occurs after a particular food or meal is consumed.It is affected by both the amount of carbohydrate and type eaten and the amount of fat and protein in that food or meal. Refined sugars and starches generally cause a greater glycemic response than unrefined carbohydrates that contain fiber.

Glycemic index: A ranking of  the effect on blood glucose of a food of a certain carbohydrate content relative to an equal amount of carbohydrate from a reference food such as white bread or glucose. The reference food is assigned a value of 100 and the values of other foods are expressed relative to this. Foods that have a glycemic index of 70 or more compared to glucose are considered high-glycemic foods; those with an index of less than 55 are considered low-glycemic-index foods.

Glycemic load: An index of the glycemic response that occurs after eating specific foods. It is calculated by multiplying a food’s glycemic index by the amount of available carbohydrate in a serving of the food.To calculate glycemic load, the grams of carbohydrate in a serving of food are multiplied by that food’s glycemic index expressed as a percentage. A glycemic load of 20 or more is considered high, whereas as value of less than 11 is considered low.

A shortcoming of both the glycemic index and load is that they are determined for individual foods, but we typically eat meals containing mixtures of foods. For example, a bowl of white rice has a high glycemic index and load, but if rice is part of a meal that contains chicken and broccoli, the rise in blood glucose is much less. Source: Smolin and Grosvenor, Nutrition: Science and Applications. 2013.

Insulin: A hormone secreted by the pancreas that allows the uptake of glucose by body cells and has other metabolic effects such as stimulating protein and fat synthesis and the synthesis of glycogen in liver and muscle. Glycogen is a storage form of carbohydrate in animals.




Leave a comment

Cancer Prevention Diet: What We Think We Know


There is much discussion about the merits of plant-based diets. The basis of cancer prevention involves not only a diet full of vitamins and minerals but also loaded with phytochemicals (plant chemicals with chemoprevention properties).

For example, it has been hypothesized that a diet rich in flax seed, cruciferous vegetables, and fruits and vegetables in general could significantly reduce the risk of breast, colon, prostate, lung and other cancers. Nutrition and Cancer: A review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet. Nutrition Journal 3:19-30, 2004.

A few easy ways to increase phytochemicals in your diet is to:

  • Double your typical serving of vegetables.
  • Sprinkle flax seed on your oatmeal or cereal.
  • Try a new fruit or vegetable each week.


1 Comment

The Best Advice for Weight Loss

An article from Women’s Health provides sound and simple advice for weight loss that often gets missed or ignored when one follows fad diets. You have probably heard of most of these tried and true suggestions before, but when you put them all together, they just make a lot of good sense. No fads, just the facts based on evidence.

I might add to be aware of portion sizes. Follow the rules of measuring or estimating portions by using your hands: a fist = 1 cup; a cupped hand = 1/2 cup; a meat serving (3 oz) is about the size of your palm; a tablespoon = your thumb and a teaspoon = the tip of your  thumb. There is no need  to weigh foods on a scale. Keeping a food diary or journal is also a helpful idea to increase awareness of what you actually eat each day.


Leave a comment

Is Soy Safe? Or Not?

Soy foods have been the subject of such controversey in the past decades, it is almost impossible to sort out the sense from the nonsense. The latest article I could find explains the confusion. The article is a long read, but well worth it if you are a tofu, soy, edamame lover  or eat any type of vegan diet and rely on soy foods for your protein source.