Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

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Food Safety: Awareness, Education and Prevention

An Angry Bacteria

Foodborne illness is not a pleasant topic to think about. However, the most important protection against it is learning more about it and ways to prevent it.  When I taught infectious disease courses, we had what we called a Food Lab for the purpose of detecting certain bacterial contamination on some common foods.

Specifically we found that alfalfa sprouts from a local supplier in a large supermarket, a salad from a local restaurant, and some equipment in a cafeteria in the community all contained some species of E.coli, but we lacked the ability to determine if they were the harmful types. Nevertheless, they should not have been there. In all cases, this suggested the lack of proper food handling practices.

Sometimes, it is impossible to avoid, but with proper cleaning or hand washing procedures during food preparation, it can be prevented.

It is also important to realize the seriousness of some of these infections by reading the stories of the survivors. The following article is about a victim who expresses some valid points about education of the medical community.


CLICK HERE for a previous post on food safety practices in the home.


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Nutrition “Science”?


What ever happened to replication of a study, a principle of the scientific method?  No study is perfect, but conducting only one study often becomes the topic of a headline that misleads the consumer about a certain food or food brand.

To exacerbate the problem, according to Wikipedia: “According to a 2016 poll of 1,500 scientists reported in the journal Nature, 70% of them had failed to reproduce at least one other scientist’s experiment and 50% had failed to reproduce one of their own experiments.

In 2009, 2% of scientists admitted to falsifying studies at least once and 14% admitted to personally knowing someone who did. Misconducts were reported more frequently by medical researchers than others.  So it appears to not just be a common problem with nutrition science.

This problem presents a dilemma for nutrition-minded bloggers and educators. Consumers deserve reliable information about the food supply in order to make optimal economic and health choices.

A forthcoming post called “Science for Sale” will further elucidate the problems encountered in nutrition research and suggest some tools we can use to be informed consumers.



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Nutrition Education: A good idea in Colorado?

I can think of a myriad of ways to spend taxpayer money, but this way sounds like a great idea. We need more of these kinds of programs. Maybe this helps to explain why Colorado has the lowest obesity rate in the U.S. at 22.6%. On the other hand, West Virginia has the highest rate at 38.1%.  The U.S. obesity rates increased from 26.2% in 2012 to 27.1% in 2013.


For state rankings and an interesting map, CLICK HERE.

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Plant and Animal Protein: What’s the Difference?


A comprehensive article follows on the differences between plant protein and animal protein. It is important to remember that  of the 20 amino acids commonly found in proteins, nine cannot be made by the human body. These amino acids are called essential amino acids and must be consumed in the diet. If the diet is deficient in one or more of these amino acids, new proteins containing them cannot be made without breaking down other body proteins to provide them. The other 11 nonessential amino acids can be made by the human body and are not required in the diet. This difference and other protein information will be made clear in the following article.

Animal proteins furnish all nine amino acids needed for protein synthesis, while most plant proteins are deficient in at least one (with a few exceptions like soy and quinoa.)


For specific protein needs, click HERE.

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Weight Loss: Some Common Sense!!


Weight loss is probably the most discussed nutrition topic in the past decades due to the obesity epidemic that has occurred as part of our food culture.

The solutions are offered from supermarket tabloids, diet books and fad diets that just keep coming as part of the flourishing obesity industry.

The following article offers some common sense advice on how to lose weight.  No gimmicks, fad diets, or starvation here – just plain good advice. The same advice applies aptly to the principles that can enhance the chance that any achieved weight loss will be maintained.

Every weight loss plan should include the information we need to keep our weight steady which is healthier than yo-yo dieting (regain, loss, regain) patterns that unfortunately occurs so often. What is the sense of losing weight when it only comes back?

Making these simple lifestyle changes requires some patience, vigilance, and dedication; however these changes have been substantiated by research and have stood the test of time when it comes to weight loss. That is the most important thing one should remember before any weight loss attempt.  Forget Paleo and Keto extremes and follow a diet you can incorporate into your lifestyle.


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Reading Food Labels 101

The following is the most comprehensive article about food labels that you could possibly want. If you are not a label reader, it may be a good idea to try in the future. You can gain a lot of knowledge about that product to make an informed decision on whether you want to spend your money for economic and/or health reasons.


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FODMAP Revisited ?

Although this blog has discussed the merits and benefits of using the FODMAP DIET, the following article is excellent to explain the details and realities of this type of treatment primarily for people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome or commonly called IBS.   The diet is not for everyone but may be helpful for IBS sufferers. It initially is a restrictive diet and should be tried with help of a trained heath professional like a gastroenterologist or registered dietitian.  So if you do not have these types of disturbances, move on and find something more enjoyable to “digest”.

The article gives us valuable advice about this diet and the proper way to attempt to see if it helps you get your life back from IBS symptoms. Your doctor may or may not be familiar with it, since its existence is relatively recent on the medical nutrition therapy scene. This diet is not a weight loss diet or long term diet.