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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Can Food Be Medicine?

What a great program!!  It is interesting that feeding a person may cut health care costs in the long run. After some searching, it appears to be only in the Boston and Massachusetts area.  It may become a trend if the research indicates its benefits are cost effective. Another interesting fact is that the average age is stated at 49 “with a slew of chronic diseases” and they supposedly have a long waiting list.  Could the Standard American Diet (SAD) be a factor? Just a thought.

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The Mediterranean Diet: Lower Health Care Costs?


The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

The Mediterranean Diet is one of  the most “researched” diets of all time and has shown to have positive benefits  in respect to heart disease, cognitive health and cancer prevention. The following article is very interesting and presents an additional benefit  of changing the food culture in any country seeking to improve health care costs.

One promising change is to encourage healthy eating habits in  younger populations –  in this case, teenagers. Early nutrition education is of paramount importance for cultural change. This is where prevention of chronic diseases can make a startling difference. FYI: The Global Health Index of 163 countries ranked the U.S. #34. (Bloomberg, March 2017).

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Recalls and More Recalls

listeria

This has been the month of recalls, many for possible Listeria contamination which we seem to be seeing more and more of.

Listeria species can grow at room and refrigerator temperatures. Many types of food  items  can also contain Listeria bacteria and the latest appears to be deli cheeses.  People at high risk for listeriosis (elderly, pregnant women, people with suppressed immune systems, and infants) and those who prepare meals can take steps to lower risk. Healthy adults experience few symptoms and the illness does not appear to be transmissible from person  to person.

  • Rinse raw produce, such as fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running tap water before eating.  Dry the produce with a clean cloth or paper towel before cutting them.
  • Heat hot dogs, deli meats and cold cuts until they are steaming hot just before serving.
  • Do not drink raw milk (unpasteurized) milk, and do not eat fresh soft cheeses that have unpasteurized milk in them, especially Mexican soft cheeses like queso fresco. Organic and non-organic products both can be contaminated.
  • Consumers and food preparers should wash their hands before and after handling any food.

What is Listeriosis?

Listeriosis is caused by species of Listeria bacteria called monocytogenes and it is estimated that there are 2500 cases in the U.S. every year.  Twenty percent of these cases result in death. The incubation period can be prolonged, anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. In  these cases, the illness can cause symptoms of fever, malaise, arthritis, and jaundice. It can occur as meningoencephalitis with headaches, stiff neck and coma. Or another form is septicemia, a blood disease with high numbers of infected white blood cells called monocytes, thus its name. There is a third form that infects the uterus with vague flu-like symptoms and if contracted during pregnancy  may result in miscarriage or mental damage to the newborn.

A notable outbreak of listeriosis occurred in late 1998 and early 1999. Close to 100 illnesses were reported in 22 states that were all linked to hot dogs and deli meats. Fourteen adults died during this outbreak, and six pregnancies resulted in miscarriages.

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A New Trend in Your Supermarket?

dietitian-nutritionist

This is an excellent idea but just have to speak out here for the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN).  RD’s have been conducting supermarket tours for decades and many are employed by supermarkets. Most doctors are not well trained in the science of nutrition while RDs have undergraduate degrees in nutrition and graduate degrees in nutrition or related health fields. They are required to complete an internship and pass a national exam plus participate in continuing education activities.

CLICK HERE.