FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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Discrimination in Health Care?

Diet and Health: With key to the calories. Lulu Hunt Peters, 1918

Will this become the norm in the United States?  There is already prolific fat shaming from the public and health care providers. Check out this article about the French HERE and what is being considered in Great Britain. This is all the more reason for preventing weight gain in the first place; much research supports the sad fact that losing weight and keeping it off is a daunting task and may even be almost impossible for some.

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Cinnamon and Health?

Cinnamon, a common spice for centuries is claimed to have health benefits. The following article gives us some clarifications on just what that may mean and explores the current research.

Bottom Line: Stay away from cinnamon supplements due to dosage and purity problems as found in most supplements, by the way. When not regulated, they can cause liver damage, for example.  The health claims of cinnamon are many, but more research is needed. In the mean time, enjoy its spice qualities.

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Vitamins: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Supplement manufacturers sell many vitamins not only as part of a multivitamin formula,  but in addition, separate doses of varying amounts. For example, it’s common to find vitamin B12 in 3 individual doses: 500, 1000, or 5000 micrograms.

Food and supplement labels list the amounts of most nutrients as a percentage of a standard called the Daily Value. The percent is the amount of a nutrient in a food or supplement recommended as part of a 2000 calorie diet. As a general rule, a Daily Value of 5% or less indicates that the food is low in that nutrient and Daily Value of 20% or more indicates that it is high.

This brings to mind that in any nutrition course, you would be advised about the Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs).  

There are no values for ULs on supplement labels.  These standards represent the maximum level of daily intake of a nutrient that is unlikely to pose of risk of adverse health effects to almost all individuals in a specified group. These are not recommended levels but rather levels of intake that can probably be tolerated. For some nutrients, data are insufficient to establish a UL value.

High intakes (megadoses) of vitamins and minerals are not recommended. A study found that long-term higher intakes of supplemental vitamins B6 and B12 increased  the risk of lung cancer in men but not in women.

The recommended intake for B6 for adults is 1.3-1.7 milligrams/day.

The UL is 100 milligrams/day. The study reported that long-term use of over 20 milligrams a day increased lung cancer risk in make smokers.

The recommended intake for B12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms/day.

The UL has not been determined.  The study found that long-term use over 55 micrograms a day increased lung cancer risk in male smokers.

The following article details the study and its possible association with lung  cancer at high doses in men, especially smokers.  It is important to tell your doctor what vitamin and mineral supplements you are taking to avoid any mega-doses unless there is a medical reason.

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