FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


Leave a comment

Green Tea and Weight Loss?

All forms of tea are probably the most consumed beverage in the world, next to water. Tea contains an abundance of a class of phytochemiclas called polyphenols considered to be powerful antioxidants.  Polyphenols protect cells from what is referred to as “oxidative stress” caused primarily by an overproduction of  free radicals that have the potential of cell and DNA damage, implicated in the most common “killer” diseases of civilization namely heart disease and cancer.

There is some research on the benefits of green tea in weight loss; however, the results are mixed. Whether green tea plays some role in weight reduction or not, nearly everyone would benefit from tea consumption whether it is black, white, red, or green varieties.

Check out a previous post on the topic of polyphenols HERE.

CLICK HERE.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Here’s to Health?

Everyone wants to eat “healthier.”  The hype is often promoted by the food industry with heath claims on all their products they can possibly get away with. But what is the truth? No one knows for sure, but there are some foods that have gained this reputation with some degree of respect. Here they are.

CLICK HERE.


1 Comment

FDA Health Claims: Are They Carved in Stone?

Food and supplement labels are permitted by the FDA to include a number of health claims if they are relevant to the product. They are designed to help consumers choose products that that may have a relationship to reducing a risk for a particular disease or health related condition. These statements or claims must meet one of the following requirements:

  1. The first is the most stringent. These are called Authorized Health Claims: Based on Significant Scientific Agreement. An example: Calcium intake and calcium and vitamin D and the risk of osteoporosis.
  2. The claim should be based on a statement of support from an appropriate scientific body, e.g. the National Academy  of Sciences, and called Authorized Health Claims: Based on Authoritative Statement  Example: Whole grain foods and the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
  3. When there is emerging but not well-established evidence for a reduced risk of a disease, they are called Qualified Health Claims. These must be accompanied by a statement explaining this so they do not mislead the consumer.

Source: Smolin and Grosvenor, Nutrition: Science and Application, Third Edition

However, these claims are not carved in stone. Recently the FDA is re-examining the once established claim about soy protein.

FDA may revoke soy protein/heart disease health claim

The FDA is proposing to revoke the currently authorized claim that consuming soy protein reduces the risk of heart disease. FDA-authorized health claims are intended to reflect well-established relationships based on the most robust level of scientific evidence. To date, 12 such claims have been authorized. The soy-protein claim has been permitted on packaged foods since 1999. In 2000, the American Heart Association Nutrition Advisory Committee concluded that is was prudent to include soy protein in a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. However, subsequent AHA reviews concluded that although very large amounts of soy protein (more than half the daily protein intake) may lower LDL cholesterol, (a) the experimental data were from individuals with very high cholesterol levels, (b) the reduction is small, (c) there was no improvement in other blood lipid levels or blood pressure, and (d) any direct benefit on cardiovascular health is minimal at best. [Jones DW. Letter to FDA Division of Dockets Management, Feb 19, 2008] A statement released with FDA’s recent announcement appears to agree with the AHA position. [Statement from Susan Mayne, Ph.D., on proposal to revoke health claim that soy protein reduces risk of heart disease. FDA news release, Oct 30, 2017] This is the first time the FDA has proposed to revoke an authorized claim.

Source: Stephen Barrett, M.D. Consumer Health Digest, Nov. 12, 2027


Leave a comment

Are Probiotics Ready for Prime Time?

 

A Bacterial Superbug

The microbiome is all over the nutrition news with studies pouring in on how just about every aspect of our physiology or pathophysiology is dependent on some degree on the kinds of bacteria that make up our collective species found there. As with any supplement, there are pros and cons.

A lot of these studies are done with animals or small samples in human studies.Even though this research shows promise, there are always precautions when taking any supplement since they are not regulated by the FDA. The following article was updated in 2014 and after checking more recent research, I found the same problems exist – inconsistent results, small sample sizes, study flaws, etc. etc. common in nutrition research.

The most common species of bacteria used in probiotics (among a potential 3,000 or more) are species of Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium.  You’ll want a product that explicitly states a “sell-by” date. Once you have identified the right strain or strains (which at this point seems next to impossible), it’s important to find a product that is labeled correctly in terms of the number of bacteria in each dose. Tests from ConsumerLab.com found that some probiotic supplements did not contain the amount of organisms claimed on the label. The organisms must survive stomach acid and therefore should contain an enteric coating to enhance their survival.

The best advice is to talk to your  doctor before taking probiotics as well as any supplement. People who have an immune deficiency or cancer should not use probiotics without a doctor’s okay.

CLICK HERE

 


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.

CLICK HERE.

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.

CLICK HERE

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

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.

CLICK HERE.