FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Obesity Epidemic: Nature or Nurture?

Fat shaming is found in many aspects of our culture. The obese are described as fat and lazy and looked upon with disdain by even some of the health professionals they seek out to solve many of their health care needs. Perhaps we need to examine the complexities of the interactions that may have contributed to this so-called obesity epidemic to gain a better understanding of what the obese population has to contend with.

In 1960, only 13.4 % of Americans were overweight or obese. By 1990, about 23% were obese, and today, only two decades later, almost 36% are obese. Obesity affects both men and women and all racial and ethnic groups. As far as we know, we still had the same genes and physiology during these decades; however, the food environment or culture had obviously changed.

“The interplay between genetics and lifestyle is often illustrated by the higher incidence of obesity in Pima Indians living in Arizona than in a genetically similar group of Pima Indians living in Mexico. When this genetic susceptibility is combined with an environment that fosters a sedentary lifestyle and consumption of a calorie dense diet, the outcome is the strikingly high incidence of obesity seen in this population. The Pima Indians of Mexico are farmers who work in the fields and consume the food they grow. On the other hand, the Arizona Pima eat the high-calorie, high-fat processed foods,  found in the Standard American Diet (SAD) and lead a more sedentary lifestyle. Both groups have  higher rates of obesity due to their genetic susceptibility; however, the average BMI or the Mexican Pima is significantly lower than that of their American counterparts.” Smolin and Grosvenor, Nutrition: Science and Applications, Third Edition.

Check out my previous post HERE.

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The FODMAP Diet: Some Common Sense

 

As with any restrictive diet, caution must be used to avoid nutritional deficiencies.  That is why it is important to pay attention to a registered dietitian when embarking on any diet that restricts certain food groups. If a dietitian is not available, seek out the advice found in the following article from an expert on the FODMAP  diet. The best advice is if this diet approach does not produce any positive results, it may not be for you.

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The Teaching Kitchen

A new approach to promote nutrition and help curb the obesity/diabetes epidemic. Patients listen to their doctors – we need more involvement of increased nutrition education in medical schools and in the doctor/patient relationship. This also serves as a great opportunity for the  registered dietitian/nutritionist to work with the physician.

Interestingly, the first diet book was written by a female physician, Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters called “Diet and Health: With Key to the Calories.”

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MyPlate: A Makeover?

A few years ago the USDA brought out MyPlate that supposedly helped consumers use the Dietary Guidelines; however, critics felt it was influenced by politics and the food industry. Harvard has improved on this concept with The Healthy Eating Plate.

This makeover gives us so much better evidence-based diet advice at a glance. Give it a try.

 

 


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Canada’s New Food Guide: Amazing!

The new proposed Canadian food guidelines are amazing. Could they possibly happen here in the U.S without influence from the food industry –  Highly unlikely. Hope at least some of the Canadian guidelines can survive the food industry meddling and help to change the food culture into a healthier approach.

Read about them HERE.