September 11, 2010
May 5, 2010
Some foods get all the attention and don’t deserve it. Others are gems that go largely unnoticed. It’s not just a coincidence. Some high-profile foods are backed by hefty ad budgets, while other foods have nothing but your grandmother’s (long-forgotten) endorsement. It’s time to set the record straight
Good article in Nutrition Action on overrated and underated foods:
September 7, 2009
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued draft guidance on the labeling of beers made with grains other than malted barley and hops, such as sorghum, rice or corn, the agency said on Wednesday.
In July last year, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) ruled that beers made from substitutes for malted barley or that do not contain hops are not malted beverages, as defined by the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act).
The TTB is in charge of regulating malted beverages, but its ruling means that beers made from alternative grains will be subject to food and drink labeling laws governed by the FDA.
For manufacturers, the new labeling means that, among other requirements, their non-malt beers will have to carry a listing of ingredients, a nutrition facts panel, and the name of major food allergens in the product. As defined by the FDA, these are: milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans.
The one that is most important in this case is wheat, as most of the non-malt beers being produced are intended to be gluten-free alternatives for barley-based beer.
Manufacturers of non-malt beers are expected to comply with the new labeling requirements by January 1, 2010.
The FDA’s draft guidance – “Labeling of Certain Beers Subject to the Labeling Jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration” – can be found online here .
The market for gluten-free foods and beverages has exploded in recent years, and the growth has largely been attributed to more frequent diagnosis of celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder with symptoms triggered by gluten, the protein in grains like wheat, barley and rye.
September 5, 2009
It’s long been thought that broccoli is good for your heart, and now British scientists think they know why.
Researchers at Imperial College London have found evidence a chemical in broccoli and other green leafy vegetables could boost a natural defense mechanism that protects arteries from the clogging that can cause heart attacks.
August 18, 2009
A new report by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) confirms that adults and children who consume processed meats (meats preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or by the addition of preservatives – ham, bacon, pastrami and salami, as well as hot dogs and some sausages) are at risk of developing cancer and other significant health issues.
The collective scientific evidence linking processed meat consumption to cancer and other health issues is so overwhelming that the American Institute for Cancer Research(AICR) recommends, not just consuming less, but avoiding processed meats altogether.
The latest report stresses consumer awareness and, with the start of a new school year, encourages parents to choose healthier alternatives.
Why the concern:
- According to the WCRF and the AICR, risk of colorectal cancer increases, on average, by 21 percent for every 50 grams (1.7 oz) of processed meat consumed daily. A 50-gram serving is approximately the size of one typical hot dog.
- Americans eat 20 billion hot dogs a year – an average of 70 hot dogs per person.
- Sixty-two percent of all Americans eat smoked ham, bacon, or some form of processed pork—the average person eats 32 pounds of it a year.
- Just one ounce of processed meat per day increases the risk of stomach cancer 15-38 percent.
- A Harvard study of more than 40,000 health professionals showed that those who ate hot dogs, salami, bacon, or sausages two to four times per week increased their risk of diabetes by 35 percent. Those who ate these products five or more times per week experienced 50 percent increased risk.
- Other health issues involved – Doctors are seeing more thickening of the arteries in children, particularly those who are obese or have high cholesterol.
- More than 16 percent of children and adolescents are overweight. One in three will develop diabetes at some point in his or her life.
- Lifetime cancer risk is now one in three for women, and one in two for men.
Men, especially middle-aged men, eat more processed pork than women. Higher-income Americans eat less of it than middle- and low-income citizens. Rural Americans eat more than urban Americans. Blacks eat more than whites. And Midwesterners eat the most per capita.
As well as recommending people avoid processed meat, WCRF also recommends limiting intake of red meat to 17 oz. (cooked weight) per week. This is because there is also convincing evidence that red meat increases risk of bowel cancer.
August 14, 2009
A glass of red wine each day may be providing you with more than just a little relaxation. For over 10 years, research has indicated that moderate intake of alcohol improves cardiovascular health. In fact, in 1992 Harvard researchers included moderate alcohol consumption as one of the “eight proven ways to reduce coronary heart disease risk.” However, research has suggested that specifically red wine is the most beneficial to your heart health. The cardioprotective effect has been attributed to antioxidants present in the skin and seeds of red grapes.
Scientists believe the antioxidants, called flavonoids, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in three ways:
- by reducing production of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (also know as the “bad” cholesterol)
- by boosting high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the good cholesterol)
- by reducing blood clotting. Furthermore, consuming a glass of wine along with a meal may favorably influence your lipid profiles following that meal
Recently, researchers have found that moderate red wine consumption may be beneficial to more than just your heart. New research published in the August 2009 print issue of The FASEB Journal, not only explains resveratrol’s one-two punch on inflammation, but also show how it—or a derivative—can be used to treat potentially deadly inflammatory disease, such as appendicitis, peritonitis, and systemic sepsis. An older study had discovered that the antioxidant resveratrol may inhibit tumor development in some cancers. And still another reason to toast nature’s powerful antioxidant, resveratrol has been shown to aid in the formation of nerve cells, which experts believe may be helpful in the treatment of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Researchers at the University of California, at Davis tested a variety of wines to determine which types have the highest concentrations of flavonoids. Their results concluded that the flavonoid favorite is Cabernet Sauvignon, followed closely by Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir. Both Merlots and red zinfandels have fewer flavonoids than their more potent predecessors. White wine had significantly smaller amounts than the red wine varieties. The bottom line is the sweeter the wine, the fewer the flavonoids. Dryer red wines are your best bet for a flavonoid boost.
A four-ounce glass of wine is equivalent to one serving. Men will benefit from consuming one to two servings per day. Women should consume only one serving per day to reap the maximum benefits. This is not to say that you should start drinking alcohol if you presently do not. Occasional or binge drinkers have higher mortality rates than those who drink moderately on a regular basis. In those who consume three or more drinks per day, there is an increased risk for elevated serum triglycerides (fat in the bloodstream). Long-term, excessive alcohol consumption can damage nerve cells, the liver and the pancreas. Heavy drinkers are also at risk for malnutrition, as alcohol may substitute for more nutritious foods.
August 12, 2009
The rate of severe obesity among U.S. children and teenagers more than tripled over the last 25 years, a new study finds. Researchers at Brenner Children’s Hospital analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on more than 12,000 U.S. children and adolescents ages 2 to 19. For the study, severe childhood obesity was classified as having a body mass index equal to or greater than the 99th percentile for age and gender.
The researchers found that the prevalence of severe obesity tripled from 0.8 percent between 1976 and 1980 to 3.8 percent between 1999 and 2004. Based on the data, the researchers estimated that there are 2.7 million children in the United States who are severely obese. They noted that the increases were most pronounced among African-American and Mexican-American children, as well as among those living below the poverty level.
Examining the health impact of severe obesity, the researchers noted that one-third of children classified as severely obese have metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors associated with increased risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes.
August 10, 2009
According to crop samples taken from a London area research station ranging from 1844 to the present day, the nutrient levels of wheat crops have been continually deteriorating since the late 1960s, when many farmers changed the variety of wheat they harvested.
Compared to the older crops, the recently harvested wheat plants hold 20-30 less zinc, iron, copper, and magnesium. The data is consistent with several other studies, including one done in 2006 by the USDA that listed a substantial decrease in iron, zinc, and selenium levels.
This is particularly sad since wheat is the principal food grain produced in the United States. Americans consume approximately 150 pounds of wheat per person per year, nearly 20% of the calories in an average U.S. adult meal plan come from non-organic, highly processed wheat flour.
“We can’t put it down to soil impoverishment, so my guess is that the nutrient decline is related to plant physiology,” said Rothamsted researcher Professor Steve McGrath.
Prof. McGrath said there has been little apparent interest in the finding, and making a case for further research in a restricted funding environment is a long and complicated process with no guarantee of success. However, he understands that micronutrient deficiency, zinc and iron in particular, are implicated in health problems across the developed and developing worlds alike.
“People are suffering growth, health and effects on mental development from lack of zinc and iron,” he said.
Dr Carole Hungerford, author of the Australian medical nutrition textbook “Good Health in the 21st Century”, wrote that zinc is an essential nutrient for fertility, bone and joint health and immunity. It is also essential for the structural integrity of the DNA molecule, which has led some researchers to speculate that zinc deficiency may contribute to cancer.
Read more at http://tiny.cc/N4kBX
Beef Packers, Inc., a Fresno, Calif., establishment, is recalling approximately 825,769 pounds of ground beef products that may be linked to an outbreak of salmonellosis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
The ground beef products were produced on various dates ranging from June 5, 2009 through June 23, 2009 and bear the establishment number “EST. 31913″ printed on the case code labels. The ground beef products were distributed to retail distribution centers in Arizona, California, Colorado and Utah. Because these products were repackaged into consumer-size packages and sold under different retail brand names, consumers should check with their local retailer to determine whether they may have purchased any of the products subject to recall.
This particular strain of Salmonella Newport is resistant to many commonly prescribed drugs, which can increase the risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals.
Consumers with questions about the recall should contact the company’s Consumer Line at (877) 872-3635
August 4, 2009
High consumption of fructose in the diet may lead to spatial memory problems, according to a new study from Georgia State University.
Rodents fed a diet where fructose represented 60 per cent of calories ingested during the day were found to perform poorly in tests of memory, compared to rodents fed a control diet, say findings in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.
The researchers, led by Marise Parent, suggest their findings are relevant to humans, and nod towards the use of fructose-containing sweeteners used by the food industry. Table sugar (sucrose) contains 50 per cent fructose and 50 per cent glucose, while high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS 55) contains 55 per cent fructose and 42 per cent glucose.
“Fructose, in many forms, is added to countless foods including carbonated beverages, fruit products, baked goods, cereals, and dairy products,” wrote lead author Amy Ross. “Indeed, North Americans would be greatly challenged to purchase processed foods not containing some form of fructose.”
“Rats are an excellent animal model to study the effects of fructose intake because their metabolism of fructose closely resembles that of humans,” explained the researchers. “The present research focused on male rats, given that men are the greatest consumers of fructose.”
The rats were placed in a pool of water to test their ability to learn to find a submerged platform, which allowed them to get out of the water. Two days later, the animals were returned to the pool with no platform present to see if the rats could remember to swim to the platform’s location.
“What we discovered is that the fructose diet doesn’t affect their ability to learn,” said Parent. “But they can’t seem to remember as well where the platform was when you take it away. They swam more randomly than rats fed a control diet.”
Commenting on a potential mechanism, the researchers note that fructose, unlike glucose, is processed almost exclusively by the liver, and produces an excessive amount of triglycerides, which may interfere with insulin signaling in the brain, and affect the brain’s ability to adapt based on new experiences.
“The bottom line is that we were meant to have an apple a day as our source of fructose,” said Parent said. “And now, we have fructose in almost everything.”