Mr. Potato Bacon Pin Head

Poor Mr. Potato Head, someone transformed him into an animal fat-wrapped version of Pinhead. See for yourself:

Thanks—or no thanks—to Elijah for passing it along. Eek, I can actually feel my arteries clogging just looking at it.

How Centenarians Do It...

I want to live to 100. Lots of people do it! Like the Okinawans and even people in the United States. Evercare, an agency that places nurse practitioners with its elderly members, polled 100 U.S. centenarians about making it to 100. WebMD reports:
Here are their top 10 tips for healthy aging - along with the percentage of how many said the tip is "very important" (they could call more than one tip "very important"):
  1. Stay close to your family and friends: 90%
  2. Keep your mind active: 89%
  3. Laugh and have a sense of humor: 88%
  4. Stay in touch with your spirituality: 84%
  5. Continue looking forward to each new day: 83%
  6. Keep moving and exercising: 82%
  7. Maintain a sense of independence: 81%
  8. Eat right: 80%
  9. Keep up with news and current events: 63%
  10. Keep making new friends: 63%
"If I could leave any message, never stop learning. Period," centenarian Maurice Eisman says in the poll report.
Great tips, especially eating right! Long-lived people don’t eat fast food and beef jerky. Japanese super-centenarian Tomoji Tanabe eats rice, seaweed, and miso soup. And this 72-year old gym-rat and centenarian in the making, eats a diet based on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts.

Dunkin' Donuts Gets Healthy?

In the same vein of Burger King’s French fry-shaped apple slices, Dunkin’ Donuts has announced its new healthy “DDSmart” menu; which  includes foods like flatbread sandwiches and turkey sausage egg-white sandwiches. More from Lauren Shepard of the Associated Press:
"We just felt it was important to provide some choice in our menu," said Will Kussell, president and chief brand officer.

The new menu will be called DDSmart and will include all current and new items that either have 25 percent few calories, sugar, fat or sodium than comparable products or contain ingredients that are "nutritionally beneficial," the company said.

Current products that will join the new sandwiches on the menu include a multigrain bagel and a reduced-fat blueberry muffin.

Kussell said Dunkin' will continue to add products to the menu and is currently developing several new offerings, but would not disclose any details.

Kussell said Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin' Brands Inc. will spend several million dollars marketing the new menu.

A number of restaurants have added better-for-you options to their menus in the past few years to take advantage of a trend toward healthier eating.
That stuff his healthy? This is a really hard sell, especially since Dunkin Donuts used to hock a doughnut-inspired BREAKFAST CEREAL! It came in two flavors, Chocolate and Glazed Style. Via

You’ll find these on the DDDumb menu.

South Los Angeles's Fast Food Moratorium Approved

Councilwoman Jan Perry’s push to ban new fast food restaurants from opening up in impoverished South Los Angeles was unanimously approved on Tuesday. The Associated Press reports:
The yearlong moratorium -- which the mayor still must sign into law -- is intended to give the city time to attract restaurants that serve healthier food. The action is believed to be the first of its kind by a major city to protect public health.

"Our communities have an extreme shortage of quality foods," City Councilman Bernard Parks said.

Representatives of fast-food chains said they support the goal of better diets but believe they are being unfairly targeted. They say they offer healthier food items on their menus.

"It's not where you eat, it's what you eat," said Andrew Pudzer, president and chief executive of CKE Restaurants, parent company of Carl's Jr. "We were willing to work with the city on that, but they obviously weren't interested."

The California Restaurant Association and its members will consider a legal challenge to the ordinance, spokesman Andrew Casana said.
Clearly city officials' hearts are in the right place, but I think better educating people on why NOT to eat fast food is a better approach.  Then again, that hasn't work so far.  So, what would you do?

Diet and Diabetes, Linked!

New studies reveal that diet is the key to diabetes-risk. All three appear in the July 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Here they are:
CONCLUSIONS: Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks and fruit drinks is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in African American women. While there has been increasing public awareness of the adverse health effects of soft drinks, little attention has been given to fruit drinks, which are often marketed as a healthier alternative to soft drinks.
CONCLUSIONS: Higher plasma vitamin C level and, to a lesser degree, fruit and vegetable intake were associated with a substantially decreased risk of diabetes. Our findings highlight a potentially important public health message on the benefits of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables for the prevention of diabetes.
CONCLUSIONS: A low-fat dietary pattern among generally healthy postmenopausal women showed no evidence of reducing diabetes risk after 8.1 years. Trends toward reduced incidence were greater with greater decreases in total fat intake and weight loss. Weight loss, rather than macronutrient composition, may be the dominant predictor of reduced risk of diabetes.
For more, check out Steven Reinberg's report in HealthDay News: Diet Key to Diabetes Risk.

Katie Couric on Healthy Eating

It’s not a rant, like Bill Maher on pharmaceuticals, but Katie Couric offers some poignant remarks on healthy food. Take a look:

Apple slices shaped like French fries. Now there’s marketing genius in action—tisk, tisk.

Problems: Obesity and Pregnancy

We all know that being overweight carries consequences—increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, etc.—but obesity during pregnancy prompts even more tangible complications. Annie Murphy Paul of The New York Times explains:
The challenges of caring for these patients begin early. “We perform an anatomical survey of the fetus, but in an extremely obese woman, the ultrasound signal often can’t penetrate through all the tissue,” Dr. Mark Chames, an obstetrician at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, says. He must use a vaginal probe instead. A thorough examination is especially important in obese women, Chames said, because they are at greater risk of having babies with neural-tube defects and other malformations.

Birth brings more difficulties. The fetuses of obese women are often too large to fit through the birth canal; their mothers are about twice as likely as normal-weight women to need a Caesarean section. Longer surgical instruments are required, as are extra-wide operating-room tables, reinforced to support hundreds of additional pounds.

To head off such problems, patients at the bariatric obstetric clinic at St. Louis University in Missouri are counseled not to put on any pounds at all during pregnancy, and are even encouraged to lose weight. Dr. Raul Artal, the chairman of the ob-gyn department and the clinic’s director, acknowledges that the notion of weight loss during pregnancy can be startling. “It goes against everything we were taught in medical school, everything we’ve always told our patients,” he says. Some scientists warn that we still know little about the potential dangers of this approach. Emerging evidence, however, suggests that obese women who maintain or lose weight during pregnancy experience significantly fewer complications and deliver healthier babies.
Getting fat and pregnant is a dangerous cliché. Clearly, an obese mom is not eating healthfully—bad idea! According to Dr. Fuhrman a pregnant mother’s diet is vitally important to a developing baby’s health. He explains:
We know that children have sensitive vulnerabilities that are quite distinct from adults. Their exposure to chemicals in our environment is more potentially damaging than the same exposure at a later age. It is important to realize that the diet a woman eats during her pregnancy and even before her pregnancy effects the adult health of her future offspring. For example, a recent study shows a strong association in children who develop brain tumors with the mother’s consumption of hotdogs during pregnancy.1 Scientific evidence suggests that cigarette smoking during pregnancy is associated with testicular cancer in sons thirty-five to fifty years later.2 We may get away with risky behaviors when we imbibe in our later years, but when we gamble with our children, the stakes are much higher and the damage more profound.
Maybe I’m going out on a dangerous limb here, but, if you’re pregnant and eating unhealthfully. You’re perpetrating a tremendous act of irresponsibility and selfishness. Am I wrong on this?
Continue Reading...

Health Points: Tuesday

"What I learned about those first two seasons is they are long. They are a grind, especially with the Western Conference not getting any easier,'' Roy said.

Roy hired a trainer, Ron Tate, who focuses heavily on stretching in addition to weight lifting. He also forces Roy to drink a gallon of water every day before 2 p.m.

In previous summers, Roy would play basketball nearly every day. Now he plays maybe twice a week, even though the Blazers would prefer it was one or less.

"I think I have gotten smarter with the way I work,'' Roy said. "It's not so much pound, pound, pound. It's more stretching and lifting with lighter weight but more reps.''
“What they are doing is developing their own system for evaluating things,” said Dr. Warwick L. Morison, professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins and chairman of the Skin Cancer Foundation’s photobiology committee, which tests sunscreens for safety and effectiveness. “Using this scale to say a sunscreen offers good protection or bad protection is junk science.”

Dr. Morison has no financial ties to sunscreen makers, and his work with the Skin Cancer Foundation is unpaid.

Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst with the Environmental Working Group, said the database and rating system were based on an extensive review of the medical literature on sunscreens. Of nearly 1,000 sunscreens reviewed, the group recommends only 143 brands. Most are lesser-known brands with titanium and zinc, which are effective blockers of ultraviolet radiation. But they are less popular with consumers because they can leave a white residue.

Olympic host city Beijing was shrouded in haze on Monday 11 days before the Games begin, raising anxieties about whether it can deliver the clean skies promised for the world's top athletes.

The city's chronic pollution, a sometimes acrid mix of construction dust, vehicle exhaust and factory and power plant fumes, has been one of the biggest worries for Games organizers.

Beijing has ordered many of its 3.3 million cars off roads and halted much construction and factory production in an effort to cut pollution before the Games open on August 8.

But a sultry haze persisted on Monday, and state media said Beijing might be forced to restrict more cars and shut more factories if the pollution persists.
"At baseline, before they were supposed to be following a diet or exercise plan, we found on weekends, people gained weight," study author Susan Racette, an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis said. During the week, the weight would decline. But the weekend effect was strong. "If you translate it out to a year, it could have increased weight by 9 pounds."

Before the intervention, participants ate an average of 2,257 calories on Saturday compared to just 2,021 during the week. But the average activity on weekends overall didn't differ much from average weekday activities. So, it was the food, not the lack of activity, that was to blame, Racette said.

Racette monitored the participants for a year after they started the intervention, and the weekend indulgences continued. The calorie restriction group stopped losing weight on weekends, while the physical activity group gained slightly (about .17 pounds). There were not significant weight changes in the controls on weekends.

Four years ago, ahead of the Athens Olympics, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed caffeine from its list of banned substances in sport. This was "presumably because WADA considered (caffeine's) performance-enhancing effects to be insignificant," notes Mark Stuart in a commentary published in the journal BMJ Clinical Evidence.

Stuart, a BMJ editor, has worked with doping control for past Olympic Games and helped train medical staff for the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

Despite questions about caffeine's effects on athletic prowess, Stuart points out, studies indicate that many athletes still use the stimulant. In a study published last month, for example, researchers found that of 193 UK track-and-field athletes they surveyed, one-third used caffeine to enhance performance -- as did 60 percent of 287 competitive cyclists.
Numbers like those, coupled with ads for sleep aids, persuaded yoga instructor Shanon Buffington that the time was right for a workshop she developed.

"Most of us don't sleep like babies anymore," the instructor said as participants gathered last month for her "Yoga for Better Sleep" workshop at Dallas Surya Center for Yoga.

"We're typically tired, and when we do rest, we don't sleep well.

"My goal," she said, "is to give you a toolbox of techniques." These include breathing techniques, relaxing restorative poses and an introduction to Yoga Nidra, a guided visualization.

These yoga tools work, Buffington says, by calming the autonomic nervous system, specifically by nudging the body toward the parasympathetic, or "rest and digest," state as opposed to the sympathetic, or "fight or flight," state.

A new study has found that high bone mineral density (BMD) predicts a greater likelihood of developing breast cancer, independent of how high her risk is on the often-used Gail model.

The two measurements together might be used in tandem to better predict breast cancer risk, the researchers said.

The findings, which were expected to be published in the Sept. 1 issue of Cancer, follow closely on the heels of other research linking different aspects of bone health with breast cancer risk. One study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in May found that Zometa (zoledronic acid), a drug used to treat osteoporosis, lowered the risk of breast cancer recurrence in premenopausal women.

And another study released this spring found that women with breast cancer who have a vitamin D deficiency at the time of their diagnosis were more likely to have a recurrence or to die from their disease. Vitamin D is also critical to bone health.
Fitness and exercise have been shown to slow age-related changes in the brain in healthy people. The latest finding suggests people with early Alzheimer's disease may still benefit.

"The message is essentially if you have Alzheimer's disease, it's not too late to become physically fit," Dr. Sam Gandy, chairman of the Alzheimer's Association's Medical and Scientific Advisory Council, said in a statement.

Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City studied the relationship between fitness and brain volume in 56 healthy adults and 60 adults with early Alzheimer's disease. All were over the age of 60.

California: Hasta La Vista Trans-Fat

Arnold Schwarzenegger, California’s Governator, has signed a law that will effectively ban trans-fat. Jane Black of The Washington Post reports:
"California is a leader in promoting health and nutrition, and I am pleased to continue that tradition by being the first state in the nation to phase out trans fats," Schwarzenegger (R) said.

Trans fatty acids, or trans fats, are commonly found in partially hydrogenated oils, which became popular at fast-food restaurants and bakeries because they have a longer shelf life than other oils.

But a series of studies over the past decade has shown that trans fats can lower "good cholesterol" (high-density lipoproteins) and raise "bad cholesterol" (low-density lipoproteins), which can contribute to heart disease and other ailments.

Researchers at the Harvard University School of Public Health estimate that artificial trans fats cause 50,000 premature heart-attack deaths every year.
No doubt fast food restaurants and makers of 50-year shelf-life cookies are furious—you’ve been terminated!

Does Soy Really Lower Sperm Count?

As a guy, I don’t want hear that anything is bad for the boys, but new research by the Harvard School of Public Health insists that even eating half a serving of soy food a day lowers sperm concentrations.

The study appears in the journal of Human Reproduction. Here’s the abstract via PubMed:
BACKGROUND: High isoflavone intake has been related to decreased fertility in animal studies, but data in humans are scarce. Thus, we examined the association of soy foods and isoflavones intake with semen quality parameters.

METHODS: The intake of 15 soy-based foods in the previous 3 months was assessed for 99 male partners of subfertile couples who presented for semen analyses to the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center. Linear and quantile regression were used to determine the association of soy foods and isoflavones intake with semen quality parameters while adjusting for personal characteristics.

RESULTS: There was an inverse association between soy food intake and sperm concentration that remained significant after accounting for age, abstinence time, body mass index, caffeine and alcohol intake and smoking. In the multivariate-adjusted analyses, men in the highest category of soy food intake had 41 million sperm/ml less than men who did not consume soy foods (95% confidence interval = -74, -8; P, trend = 0.02). Results for individual soy isoflavones were similar to the results for soy foods and were strongest for glycitein, but did not reach statistical significance. The inverse relation between soy food intake and sperm concentration was more pronounced in the high end of the distribution (90th and 75th percentile) and among overweight or obese men. Soy food and soy isoflavone intake were unrelated to sperm motility, sperm morphology or ejaculate volume.

CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that higher intake of soy foods and soy isoflavones is associated with lower sperm concentration.
Relax, don’t freak out just yet. “It's way too early to say stop eating soy foods. It's not time to worry about whether you're eating too much soy. There's not enough information to conclusively say that,” lead researcher Dr. Jorge Chavarro, M.D., a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, told Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News.

And just to be sure, I asked Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts on this study. Here’s what he had to say:
This study showed that high levels of processed soy foods, not edamame or unprocessed soy beans, may lower sperm counts in obese men.

The higher intake of soy foods, lowered sperm counts, but the counts were still in the normal range. Obesity increases the body’s estrogen production, and the extra pro-estrogenic effects of soy apparently was enough to reduce sperm levels, in these overweight men whose estrogen levels were already somewhat elevated due to their heightened body weight.
When most people think soy, they think soy ice cream or soy “meat” products. They forget about edamame beans. Edamame beans are nutritional rock stars! From Wikipedia, check this out:
Fiber-rich carbohydrates such as edamame help prevent mood fluctuations by keeping blood-sugar levels steady. Edamame also contains protein, which further helps stabilize blood sugar, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Edamame beans contain higher levels of abscissic acid, sucrose, protein than other types of soybean. They also contain a high source of vitamin A, vitamin B and calcium.
And besides, we already know that processed soy foods are NOT something you want to base your diet around. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Studies have shown soy's beneficial effects on cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors. However, there is no reason not to expect the same results from beans of any type--it's merely that more studies have been done on soy than on any other beans. There are numerous studies indicating that soybeans are rich in various anti-cancer compounds such as isoflavones. Most beans are rich in these beneficial anti-cancer compounds, and many different flavonoids with anti-cancer effects are found in beans of various color. I always recommended the consumption of a broad variety of phytochemical-rich foods to maximize one's health. Beans are no exception--try to eat different types of beans, not just soy.

You should be aware that soy nuts, soymilk, and other processed soy products do not retain many of the beneficial compounds and omega-3 fats that are in the natural bean. The more the food is processed, the more the beneficial compounds are destroyed. Remember, though, tofu and frozen or canned soybeans are a good source of omega-3 fat and calcium.

Most of the processed soy products can be tasty additions to a plant-based diet, but they are generally high in salt and are not nutrient-dense foods, so use them sparingly. In conclusion, the soybean is a superior food, containing the difficult-to-find omega-3 fats. Beans in general are superior foods that fight against cancer and heart disease, which is why you will benefit from using a variety of beans in your diet.
So I think the real point to take away from this study is processed soy foods are not health-promoting and being overweight or obese lowers male fertility. For more on that, read: Obese men have less semen, more sperm abnormalities, and should lose weight before trying for a baby—via EurekAlert!

Bill Maher Bashes Pharmaceutical Companies

Here’s an awesome rant from Bill Maher on drug companies and unhealthy food. It’s not safe for kids, but it’s still great! Check it out:

Hard to argue with that—thanks for the email Cathy!

Health Points: Friday

Roughly 19 percent of U.S. energy consumption goes toward producing and supplying food, David Pimentel and his colleagues at Cornell University write in the current issue of the journal Human Ecology. Considering that the average American consumes an estimated 3,747 calories a day, — at least 1,200 more than health experts advise — the researchers suggest everyone cut back.

Animal products and junk food, in particular, use more energy and other resources for their production than staples such as potatoes, rice, fruits and vegetables.

Producing all the stuff that goes into a single hamburger, for example, requires some 1,300 gallons of water, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A study in 2006 by University of Chicago researchers Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin found that a vegetarian diet is the most energy-efficient, followed by one that includes poultry. Diets with red meat or fish are the least efficient.

"By just reducing junk food intake and converting to diets lower in meat, the average American could have a massive impact on fuel consumption as well as improving his or her health," Pimentel and his team write in a statement released today.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Hospital recruited 80 seniors, age 65 to 89, and found that three-quarters of them had insufficient levels of Vitamin D.

That's probably because they thought the old levels were sufficient, said Sunny Linnebur, associate professor at the CU-Denver School of Pharmacy.

"It was a surprise because in Denver we have so much sun," she said. "And these were ambulatory elderly, people who can walk around and go outside. We were expecting more of them to have normal levels of Vitamin D."

Sara Jane Barru of Denver said she had assumed she was taking plenty of Vitamin D, but when a test found her levels were low she eagerly jumped into the study.

She said she started taking a lot more Vitamin D while in the study "and I'm continuing to keep it up there.

More risk assessment studies are needed to understand what exactly defines toxicity due to nanoparticles, and what kind of regulations the sector needs, said Hermann Stamm, head of nanotechnology and molecular imaging at the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection in the European Commission's Joint Research Council.

Speaking at the Euroscience Open Forum in Barcelona this week (20 July), Stamm said concern over possible health risks due to nano-sized particles arises from several studies that found a link between ultra-fine particles from exhaust engines and air pollution to lung cancers and heart disease.

Nanotechnology — the use of particles as small as one-billionth of a metre — holds tremendous potential for the health sector, particularly in drug delivery.

Developing countries are keen to use nanotechnology in healthcare and agriculture. India, for example, in 2007 launched a US$225 million programme for nanoscience and technology.
In June 2007, the Government of Canada called on industry to voluntarily reduce the levels of trans fat in the Canadian food supply to the levels recommended by the Trans Fat Task Force, and announced that the Government would monitor the progress.

The Trans Fat Task Force recommended a trans fat limit of 2% of the total fat content for all vegetable oils and soft, spreadable margarines, and a limit of 5% of the total fat content for all other foods, including ingredients sold to restaurants.

"I am very pleased to see that industry is continuing to make progress to reduce the levels of trans fat," said Parliamentary Secretary Fletcher. "This second set of data, which focused on popular fast food chains and family restaurants in Canada, further illustrates the commitment of industry to achieve the limits recommended by the Trans Fat Task Force. The fact that we're seeing reductions in the levels of trans fat in so many areas is great news for all Canadians."

Armstrong, a seven-time winner of the Tour de France, said the United States needs to make more progress against the various types of cancer.

"As a survivor, I think I can say this -- we have taken our eye off the ball," Armstrong told a news conference along with former surgeons general Richard Carmona, David Satcher, Joycelyn Elders and Antonia Novello.

Cancer is the No. 2 cause of death in the United States, and is expected to kill about 566,000 this year. Only heart disease kills more.

At Armstrong's request, the four doctors developed a national "call to action" against cancer that emphasizes prevention efforts such as not smoking, eating more fruit and vegetables, getting less fat in the diet, getting more exercise, using sunscreen and avoiding indoor tanning beds.
Dawn Page, 52, has been awarded £810,000 in damages from her nutritionist, although the practitioner denies fault.

Mother of two Mrs Page, who weighed 12st, became ill within days of taking up the Amazing Hydration Diet.

She had been told by the nutritionist to drink four extra pints of water a day and drastically reduce her salt intake.

The first stage of the regime left her suffering from severe vomiting and stomach cramps, but she was told these were just part of the detoxification process.

She was told by her dietician to increase the amount of water to six pints and consume still less salt.

Days later she suffered a massive epileptic fit and brain damage caused by severe sodium deficiency.

A Los Angeles city council planning committee unanimously approved a 1-year ban, which could be extended for a further year, on new fast food outlets in a 32-square-mile (82-sq-km) area of Los Angeles.

The measure, the latest in efforts by U.S. cities to promote healthier eating, will go to the full council for a vote next month.

If passed, it would affect about half a million Angelenos living in an area that supporters say already has about 400 fast-food eateries and few grocery stores.

The proposed moratorium follows a report last year which found that about 30 percent of children living in the South Los Angeles, West Adams, Baldwin Hills and Leimert Park areas are obese compared to about 21 percent in the rest of the city.
"For cattle and pigs, food safety concerns are considered unlikely. But we must acknowledge that the evidence base is still small. We would like to have a broader data base and we need further clarification."

In its initial response to the issue of cloning -- which many consumer and religious groups strongly oppose -- EFSA said in January that cloned animals could be safe to eat.

It also said it saw "no environmental impact" from animal cloning, which takes cells from an adult and fuses them with others before implanting them in a surrogate mother.

But when asked if cloned products such as meat and dairy would be safe for people to buy in European supermarkets, Dr. Dan Collins of EFSA said: "There are possible concerns ... there is an impact of animal health and welfare on food safety. We need more data."

Low-Carb: No Fiber, No Poop...

Here’s another reason why low-carb diets aren’t healthy. One dietician calls them digestive nightmares. Via I’m Not Obsessed:

The myth: Give up bread and pasta and the pounds will melt away

The truth: Low-carb eating plans are a digestive nightmare, because they don't provide enough fiber, which frequently results in severe constipation, says Maye Musk, R.D., a New York City-based dietician. Healthy carbs are also crucial for energy. Stop eating them and you're likely to feel tired and grumpy all the time.

The fix: Eat good-for-you carbs. To make sure you get the nutrients you need, add four servings to your daily diet, suggests Musk. Try a slice of whole-grain bread, one-half cup cooked oatmeal, one-third cup brown rice and one-half cup whole-wheat pasta. Piling your plate with fiber-rich veggies such as spinach, broccoli, peas and asparagus can also help get things moving.

Kind of the opposite of eating a vegetable-based diet—not to be gross, but I always keep a plunger handy.

It Says Whole Grain, But Its Not

Julie Deardorff from Julie’s Health Club isn’t buying Sara Lee’s promise of "white bread taste with whole grain nutrition." From her blog:
Sara Lee's "Whole Grain White Bread" exemplifies the type of food product consumers should avoid, says writer Michael Pollan, because it contains ingredients that are A) unfamiliar B) unpronounceable C) more than five in number or that D) include high fructose corn syrup…

…But at least the labels will be a little more accurate than they've been in the past. As part of a settlement agreement the company reached yesterday with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, labels will be changed to say the product is 30 percent whole grain. Previously, the bread's labeling suggested that it had as much fiber as 100 percent whole wheat bread, said the CSPI…

…The danger is that food companies often oversell their white-flour-based products and claim they're "made with whole grain" even if there is only a small amount, said CSPI. Sara Lee even points out on its own Web site that "more than 73 percent of consumers surveyed who eat enriched wheat bread incorrectly believe that their wheat bread is 100 percent whole wheat."
Now, I buy bread from time to time, but only the grittiest whole wheat breads. I don’t fall for the tricks. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Sometimes a little whole wheat or caramel color is added and the product is called whole wheat to make you think it is the real thing. It isn’t. Most brown bread is merely white bread with a fake tan. It is hard to tell sometimes, but ninety-nine percent of pastas, breads, cookies, pretzels, and other grain products are made from white flour.
As a teenager I used to work in a grocery store and when I wanted to catch a nap on the job I’d use a bag of sliced bread as a pillow.

Health Points: Wednesday

Eating locally raised food is a growing trend. But who has time to get to the farmer’s market, let alone plant a garden?

That is where Trevor Paque comes in. For a fee, Mr. Paque, who lives in San Francisco, will build an organic garden in your backyard, weed it weekly and even harvest the bounty, gently placing a box of vegetables on the back porch when he leaves.

Call them the lazy locavores — city dwellers who insist on eating food grown close to home but have no inclination to get their hands dirty. Mr. Paque is typical of a new breed of business owner serving their needs.
In a study published in the latest issue of the journal Neurology, taking Topamax (topiramate) during pregnancy was associated with a birth defect risk within the range of risk seen in other anti-epileptic drugs, researchers reported.

But the incidence of birth defects seen when Topamax was taken with other anti-epileptic drugs was higher than expected.

The study was small, but it is among the first to link Topamax to birth defects in humans, confirming what has been seen in previous animal studies.

"More research needs to be done to confirm these results, especially since it was a small study," researcher John Craig, MRCP, of the Royal Group of Hospitals in Belfast, Northern Ireland said in a news release.

I am the mother of two young children, and extremely grateful to my own parents for looking after them for a few hours now and then. My problem is that they stuff the kids with chocolates, crisps and ice cream. This is not good for the children, their behavior and my own efforts to feed them something nutritious. Why do the grandparents have such a different philosophy, and can I do anything to change their thinking…

… Rather than reasoning with your parents, you must change their incentives. Unfortunately, this is not easy. You could try to bribe your parents, but threats will be useless because they are doing you a favor.

Perhaps your best bet is to try to arrange for longer bouts of childcare. Your parents will have a fresh perspective on the merits of carrots after trying to put a three-year-old to bed in the midst of a sugar high.
"There is some evidence suggesting culturally tailored health education can improve some clinical outcomes in the short-term," co-author Dr. Yolanda Robles of Cardiff University the UK told Reuters Health. However, "further research is needed to assess long-term effects," Robles said.

Language and cultural barriers may hinder the delivery of quality diabetes health education to ethnic minorities, yet education is a vital aspect of diabetes care, Robles and colleagues report in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews from The Cochrane Collaboration.

To assess the overall efficacy of culturally tailored diabetes education versus the "usual" care, the researchers combined findings from 11 published research articles that compared the two approaches among minority groups living in middle- or high-income countries. All of the 1,603 study participants were older than 16 years.
  • U.S. inspectors believe a single jalapeño pepper may have caused salmonella outbreak. More from Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press:

They found the same bacteria strain on a single Mexican-grown jalapeno pepper handled in Texas -- and issued a stronger warning for consumers to avoid fresh jalapenos.

But Monday's discovery, the equivalent of a fingerprint, doesn't solve the mystery: Authorities still don't know where the pepper became tainted -- on the farm, or in the McAllen, Texas, plant, or at some stop in between, such as a packing house.

Nor are they saying the tainted pepper exonerates tomatoes sold earlier in the spring that consumers until last week had been told were the prime suspect.

Still, "this genetic match is a very important break in the case," said Dr. David Acheson, the Food and Drug Administration's food safety chief.
Fully aware of the irony here, biologist Ronald Levy of Stanford University and his team used tobacco plants to grow the vaccine, which would act against follicular B-cell lymphoma. This chronic, incurable form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma strikes some 16,000 people in the United States each year. For all its horrors, however, follicular B-cell lymphoma just may be tailor-made for a cancer vaccine: all of the malignant cells are the descendants of a single bad actor and have an identical molecule on their surface. But the molecular signature of one patient’s cancer cells is slightly different from every other patient’s; hence the need for potentially expensive personalized vaccines.

The scientists therefore spliced the DNA for the molecular sequences of the antibodies from each of the 16 patients into tobacco cells. The DNA triggered production of antibodies in the tobacco plants’ leaves which were tailor-made for each patient’s lymphoma cells. The scientists ground up the leaves and isolated the antibodies, injecting them into each patient.

The patients’ immune systems got cracking: 70 percent of the patients developed an immune response to the plant-produced vaccine, and 47 percent produced a response specific to the antigen.

"We saw that for women there is still some negative societal fallout to having tattoos", said study author Myrna L. Armstrong, a professor in the school of nursing at Texas Tech University's Health Sciences Center, in Lubbock, Texas. "This isn't a problem for men. Society supports men, because tattoos are related to a macho image, so we don't question it. But for women, having a tattoo seems to be a transgression of gender boundaries."

Armstrong and her colleagues outlined their observations in the July issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

The authors pointed out that about one-quarter of Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 have a tattoo, and women constitute between 45 percent and 65 percent of the tattoo market.

Prior studies show that more than 80 percent of the inked crowd are pleased with their decision to get a tattoo. Among the fifth that are not, about 6 percent ultimately remove their marking.
Almost half of the obstetricians interviewed said they did not routinely ask about alcohol consumption in pregnancy.

An editorial by Professor Elizabeth Elliot from the University of Sydney titled "Alcohol and Pregnancy: the Pivotal Role of the Obstetrician", discusses the state of awareness about the adverse effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the obstetricians’ participation in educating against maternal drinking.

Only 16% of the obstetricians routinely provided information about the consequences of alcohol in pregnancy, while only 5% gave advice which were consistent with the latest guidelines of The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) - which states that, for pregnant women, ‘no drinking is the safest option’.

Tomatoes Okay, Again...

Fear not, the FDA says tomatoes are safe to eat. Here’s their official statement:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is updating its warning to consumers nationwide concerning the outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul.

After a lengthy investigation, the FDA has determined that fresh tomatoes now available in the domestic market are not associated with the current outbreak. As a result, the agency is removing its June 7 warning against eating certain types of red raw tomatoes.

The FDA, working with officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health departments, is continuing to follow epidemiological and other evidence showing that raw jalapeño and raw serrano peppers now available in the domestic market may be linked to illnesses in this outbreak. At this time, people in high risk populations, such as elderly persons, infants and people with impaired immune systems, should avoid eating raw jalapeño and raw serrano peppers.

According to the CDC, 1,220 persons infected with Salmonella Saintpaul with the same genetic fingerprint have been identified in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.
Doesn’t change anything for me, I’ve be eating tomatoes the whole time.

Possible Mad Cow in Massachusetts

A patient in a Cape Cod hospital may have the human form of mad cow disease. Local health officials are investigating. Steve LeBlanc of the Associated Press reports:
Dr. Alfred DeMaria, the state's director of communicable disease control, confirmed Sunday to The Associated Press that tests are being done to see if the patient has Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and whether it's the variant attributed to mad cow.

There have only been three cases of the human form of mad cow disease reported in the United States in the last several years, and officials say it's extremely unlikely the patient in Cape Cod Hospital has the disease.

Mad cow disease -- medically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE -- causes spongy holes in the brain.

Eating meat products contaminated with mad cow disease is linked to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare and fatal human malady.
Modern cattle-rearing practices are often blamed for mad cow disease outbreaks; feeding slaughtered cows to cows—via Wikipedia.

ADHD: Ban Artificial Food Dyes

Activists are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to ban artificial food dyes after more research confirms the link to ADHD. David Kohn of The Baltimore Sun explains:
"At this point, there's no evidence of a connection between dyes and children's behavior," says FDA consumer safety officer Judith Kidwell. She points out that in 1982, a National Institutes of Health panel examined the safety of artificial dyes and found no evidence of risk.

That attitude frustrates activists. "They're at least 20 years behind the science," says Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Last month, the group petitioned the FDA to ban use of the dyes, as well as sodium benzoate, a common preservative that critics also suspect of contributing to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

"At the very least, they ought to give some consideration to what the British government is doing," Jacobson said.

The FDA is reviewing the CSPI's petition; a spokesman said he didn't know when the agency would respond.

Scientists aren't sure how these chemicals might affect the brain. There are only eight artificial food dyes used in the U.S. To get specific colors, manufacturers mix them.
Not the first time we’ve heard things like this. Check out these posts:
I’ve never felt the need to consume neon green food.

NYC: Menus Get Calories

Its official, Friday New York City restaurants began posting calorie-content on their menus. Edith Honan of Reuters reports:
Starting on Saturday, health inspectors can slap fines of up to $2,000 on fast-food and casual-dining chains if calorie counts are not displayed on their menus in the same font and format as the name or price of food items.

The move follows the city's 2003 ban on public smoking and a ban on artery-clogging trans fats that began on July 1.

New Yorkers appeared unfazed by the rule, and some said they would not be dissuaded from ordering a 540-calorie Big Mac at McDonald's or a 440-calorie Iced lemon Loaf at Starbucks.

"I'm going to eat whatever I'm going to eat," said Erika Roberson, 19, leaving an Applebee's restaurant in Brooklyn.

The rule affects such restaurants as McDonald's; Burger King; Applebee's, operated by DineEquity Inc; Dunkin Donuts; Starbucks and Subway.
I doubt people shopping for convenience foods are too concerned about calories. Only time will tell if this makes an impact.

Men's Health, All Screwed Up...

Mike Howard of Diet Blog investigates why men’s health is in the crapper. Here are some disturbing snippets from the post:
Compared to women, men...
  • Have higher death rates for all 15 leading causes of death (except Alzheimer's disease) and die more than five years younger.
  • Represent 50% of the work force, yet account for 94% of all on-the-job fatalities.
  • Know less about health and take less responsibility for it.
  • Are less likely to see themselves as ill or susceptible to disease or injury.
Why Men Die Younger than Women
  • They have less-healthy diets
  • They have higher blood pressure and do less to control it
  • They sleep less
  • They smoke more
  • They engage in more criminal activity
  • They have smaller social networks and less intimate and active social relationships
Listen, go to the mall on a busy day and just count ALL the middle-aged guys with big bellies and handfuls of mall food.

U.S. Lacking on Food Safety

At least six other countries have better food safety standards than the United States. More from Stephen J. Hedges of The Chicago Tribune:
The 97-page audit, released Monday and conducted by the audit arm of Congress, was ordered up by two of the most vocal food safety critics, Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).

Both have pressed for a single food safety agency instead of the dual system in the U.S. right now—the Food and Drug Administration regulates most foods, while the Department of Agriculture is responsible for meat, poultry and egg safety.

"I hope today's report serves as a wake-up call for the administration and others in Congress," Durbin said. "We need a thoughtful overhaul and reorganization of America's food safety system."

The audit examined how Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the EU reorganized their food safety systems to work more efficiently.
You got to wonder, what the hang ups about improving food safety are—money?

No Evidence that Diet Prevents Diabetes?

A team of researchers from The Cochrane Collaboration, an independent international not-for-profit healthcare information organization, claim that dietary intervention alone cannot prevent type-2 diabetes. Jennifer Beal of EurekAlert reports:
When a team of Cochrane Researchers set out to see if dietary advice alone could help a person with type 2 diabetes, they were only able to identify two trials that together involved just 358 people.

"Considering the importance of this disorder, we were disappointed to find such a small amount of relevant data," says lead researcher Lucie Nield, who works in Centre for Food, Physical Activity & Obesity, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough.

The two studies did, however, indicate that dietary advice alone could play an important role. One study randomly assigned people to either a control group or a dietary advice group. After six years 67.7% of people in the control group had diabetes, compared with only 43.8% in the advice group. This was a 33% reduction. In another study 12 months of dietary advice led to significant reductions in many diabetes related factors, such as insulin resistance, fasting C-peptide, fasting proinsulin, fasting blood glucose, fasting triglycerides, and fasting cholesterol and PAI-1.
This blurs reality. It implies that lifestyle diseases, like diabetes, are unavoidable. So why don’t I have diabetes, or Dr. Fuhrman, or his patients? Eating a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet is your best defense against—and a treatment for—type-2 diabetes. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Increasing your consumption of high-nutrient fruits and vegetables is the key to disease resistance, disease reversal, and a long, healthy life. The potential reduction in disease rates shows no threshold effect in the scientific studies. That means that as high-nutrient vegetables and high-nutrient fruits increase as a major portion of caloric intake, disease rates fall in a dose-dependent manner—the more the diet is comprised of these foods, the better your health will be1…

…If the person is obese, with more than fifty pounds of additional fat weight, his body will demand huge loads of insulin from the pancreas, even as much as ten times more than a person of normal weight needs. So what do you think happens after five to ten years of forcing the pancreas to work so hard? You guessed it—pancreatic poop-out…

…Diets high in fiber and vegetables have been consistently shown to be beneficial for diabetic patients and offer considerably better results when compared to the current recommendations of the American Diabetic Association Diet.2 The dietary advice typically offered to diabetics is not science-based, and it caters to Americans’ social and food preferences and food addictions.
Okay, maybe there aren’t enough studies illustrating this—probably because no drug company would fund it—but to say there is “no evidence” that diet staves off type-2 diabetes is naive and irresponsible reporting—don’t you think?
Continue Reading...

Misconceptions in Food Safety...

Sometimes I’m guilty of mishandling my food, like eating vegetables without rinsing them, but apparently that doesn’t get rid of all the bacteria anyway. That’sFit passes this along and other misconceptions about food safety:
  • That bacteria can be washed off.
  • That local always means food is safe.
  • That cooking can eliminate all bacteria.
  • That food-borne illnesses are rare.
  • That you don't need a food thermometer.
  • That cooked food is safe sitting out.
Via Forbes.
Although, when I see creepy-crawlies on the fresh organic produce from my CSA—I first freak out—then I wash them thoroughly, most of the time.

Face Off: Colbert vs. Cookie Monster

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while. A month ago Stephen Colbert confronted Cookie Monster on his new position on cookies. Enjoy:

Nation, its good to see Cookie Monster coming around.

Save Cash, Pack Lunch

Let’s face it, most of us are feeling the economic squeeze and buying lunch everyday is no way to save some cash. That’s why CBS suggests “brown-bagging” lunch to save some green. Take a look:
Bringing your lunch to work for a year, rather than buying it from restaurants, could save you about $2,000, according to a recent study by market research company NPD, with the average brown-bagged lunch costing $2 to prepare, as opposed to the average tab of $6 for a lunch from a fast food eatery.

And brown-bagging is up by about one-fifth over the last seven years, reports Early Show consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen, with consumers shying away from restaurants at lunchtime more and more.

Apparently, men are the most likely to brown-bag it, and fruit, chips and a sandwich make up the most popular menu.

NPD's Harry Balzer tells Koeppen the most popular brown-bagged lunch sandwich is peanut butter and jelly.

Balzer's been studying the eating habits of Americans for more than 30 years and says more than 90 percent of brown-baggers say they do it to save money.
Yeah, I’m not digging the peanut butter and jelly, but packing a lunch is not only cheaper, it’s a great way to ensure you’re eating wisely away from home.

Sandwich Cuts Likes a Knife

A man is suing Subway after he found that knife baked into his sandwich. Sally Goldberg of The New York Post reports:
A Queens man is suing the sandwich empire for $1 million after finding a large serrated knife he says was baked into the bread of his 12-inch cold-cut sub.

John Agnesini, 27, of Astoria, told The Post he was horrified when he spotted the 7-inch blade inside his lunch.

"After taking a few bites I could tell something didn't taste right," Agnesini said.

"Then I felt something hard on the bottom of the bread. I turned it over and could see the knife baked inside."

He said the sharp edge of the stainless steel knife was facing upward and extended into the half of the sandwich he had begun to eat.

"It's shocking. You see this metal knife. I mean, it's one thing seeing a hair or something," Agnesini said. "If I didn't look at it, could you imagine what would happen? I could've slashed the side of my mouth."

A Subway spokesman would not discuss the June 27 incident.

"At Subway restaurants, we take food safety and customer comments very seriously. We are aware of the complaint made and are investigating the facts. As a pending legal matter, we cannot discuss this matter further," spokesman Kevin Kane said.
Now, I’m not a Subway hater, but its time for them to seriously review their quality control—don’t you think?

Confusing News: Sugar Helps School Kids Concentrate

New research by David Benton, Ph.D., a psychologist and professor at Swansea University, Wales, U.K., suggests sugary drinks improve school children’s memories and concentration. Richard Gray of the UK Telegraph reports:
“Children between the ages of five and ten need twice as much glucose for their brains compared to an adult, but unlike other organs the brain does not store energy so it has to obtain it straight from the blood.

“The message we would like to encourage is that children need to be fed a little and often, but the risk is that they get fed a lot and often leading to problems with obesity.”

Professor Benton gave 16 nine and ten-year-olds fruit squash containing either artificial sweetener or glucose, a basic form of sugar. When the children consumed glucose, he found their memory test scores improved by over ten per cent. The children also spent between 11 and 20 minutes longer on a task when asked to work individually in class.

But Professor Benton did insist that schools should not start feeding pupils fizzy drinks between classes, proposing regular fruit of muesli bars instead.
The methodology of this study only serves to confuse. I’m not a nutritionist, but I think I can say this. Isolated sugars and sweeteners are NEVER healthy. In fact, consuming them interferes with your body’s ability to detoxify. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
When you eat a diet that is based on toxic and addictive foods—such as salt, fried foods, snack foods, and sugary drinks—you not only build up free radicals and AGEs in your cells, but you also set the stage for ill feelings when you are not digesting food. Unhealthy food allows your body to create waste byproducts that must be removed by the liver and other organs. Only when digestion ends can the body fully take advantage of the opportunity to circulate and attempt to remove toxins. If the body is constantly digesting, it can’t go through this detoxification process effectively.
If children need glucose, why even consider nutrition-less sugar? Highly nutritious fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of glucose (via Wikipedia), start there instead! Besides, it was recently determined that kids are already consuming WAY too much sugar.

E. coli, Salmonella Updates...

The outbreak has been traced to beef sold in Kroger supermarkets in Michigan and Ohio. The Kroger Co. last month recalled ground beef sold in Michigan and Ohio stores, then this month expanded it to include other states. About 5.3 million pounds of beef was recalled.

The Kentucky patient lives near Ohio, but the New York and Indiana patients did not travel to either of the states where the outbreak began, said Mark Sotir, a CDC investigator working on the outbreak.

All 44 illnesses in the outbreak are attributed to the same type of E. coli, one that causes a potentially deadly bacterial infection. The illnesses began between May 30 and June 24. CDC officials say 21 of the victims have been hospitalized and one developed kidney failure, but no one has died.

With the latest cases reported as of July 4, the nationwide toll from Salmonella Saintpaul now stands at 1,148 people in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Canada, according to the latest figures posted on the Web site of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 220 people have been hospitalized.

Statistically speaking, the patients range in age from under 1 to 99 years old; 50 percent are female. The rate of illness is highest among those 20 to 29 years old; it is lowest among adolescents 10 to 19 years old and people over 80.

Officials, meanwhile, appear no closer to zeroing in on the cause. Last week, they broadened the search, which had focused on certain types of tomatoes, to include jalapeno and serrano peppers and fresh cilantro.

While health investigators are hard at work, the CDC said on its Web site, "people often have difficulty remembering exactly what foods they ate, and remembering specific ingredients in those foods is even more difficult.

Kid Foods Low on Nutrition

A Canadian study claims that food products marketed to children have poor nutritional content. Reuters reports:
The study, done by the University of Calgary, found that nine out of 10 food items provided poor nutritional value because of high levels of sugar, fat or sodium.

Just under 70 percent of the products - which excluded soft drinks, and confectionary and bakery items - derived a high proportion of their calories from sugar.

One in five had high fat levels, and 17 percent had high sodium levels.

Even so, 62 percent of the products with poor nutritional quality made positive claims on the front of the packaging, amid increasing concerns over childhood obesity.

"Parents may have questions about which packaged foods are good for their children," said lead researcher Charlene Elliott in a statement.

"Yet certain nutritional claims may add to the confusion, as they can mislead people into thinking the whole product is nutritious," she added.
Now, this may be true, but, isn’t it up to the parents to say, “No. I’m not buying that crap!”

Grilled Meat, Risky...

Its summer and lot of people have barbeque on their minds, but grilling foods—especially meat—comes with a hefty price. Cooking meat at high temperatures releases cancer-causing carcinogens. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are even more concentrated in grilled chicken than in beef.1 Another recent study from New Zealand that investigated heterocyclic amines in meat, fish, and chicken found the greatest contributor of HCAs to cancer risk was chicken.2
In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research is urging people to substitute veggies for meat and change their grilling habits. Brittney Johnson of The Washington Post reports:
AICR's warning is based on a 2007 review of research conducted on animals showing that diets high in red and processed meats increase the risk of colorectal cancer. This is the third most common cause of cancer death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The AICR recommends eating no more than 18 cooked ounces of red meat per week -- the equivalent of about four quarter-pound hamburgers -- and avoiding all processed meats, including such summer favorites as hot dogs and sausages.

Cooking meats such as beef, fish and pork at high temperatures produces carcinogens -- substances that can cause changes in DNA that may lead to cancer.
Makes your worry about Uruguay's big barbecue—26,400 pounds toxic beef—that’s why I don’t grill anything. In stead, I steam—EVERYTHING—and according to Dr. Fuhrman, water-based cooking is the best choice:
When food is steamed or made into a soup, the temperature is fixed at 100 degrees Celsius or 212 Fahrenheit—the temperature of boiling water. This moisture-based cooking prevents food from browning and forming toxic compounds. Acrylamides, the most generally recognized of the heat-created toxins, are not formed with boiling or steaming. They are formed only with dry cooking. Most essential nutrients in vegetables are more absorbable after being cooked in a soup, not less absorbable.
Seems pretty logical, I doubt eating a piece of charcoal is healthful, so why would a charred piece of already unhealthy steak be any better? For more on meat and carcinogens, check out: The Meat-Disease Connection.
Continue Reading...

Salmonella Hurting Peppers Too

Mexican farmers are seeing a decrease in sales of jalapeño peppers due to the fear surrounding salmonella and tomatoes. Julie Schmit of USA TODAY explains:
"If this goes on for two more weeks, there's a strong likelihood you won't get a jalapeño in your burrito," says Will Steele, CEO of a leading pepper importer, Frontera Produce of Edinburg, Texas.

Frontera is still shipping peppers, but some importers have stopped, saying the tests take so long that peppers rot in the warehouse. Wholesale prices have doubled as grocers and restaurants pursue limited supplies from Southeastern growers…

…Hot peppers are suspected sources of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened 1,090 people in the USA.

The Food and Drug Administration last week advised high-risk consumers, such as the young and old, to avoid fresh jalapeño and serrano peppers. The FDA first linked the outbreak in June to some types of raw tomatoes, which are still suspects.
See, everyone suffers when food regulations aren’t up to snuff.

Don't Eat Metal!

Doctors in Peru yanked 17 metal objects—including nails, a watch clasp, and a knife—from a man’s stomach. He ate them. Reuters reports:
Luis Zarate was taken to the regional hospital of Trujillo earlier this week by his family after complaining of sharp stomach pains. Doctors took X-rays of his chest that showed his insides littered with screws.

"There were 17 strange objects found at the level of his stomach and colon," said Dr. Julio Acevedo, one of the surgeons who operated on Zarate.

The black-and-white scans showed Zarate's skeleton interlaced with things like bolts, barbed-wire and pens.

"The objects had caused the stomach to expand," said Acevedo.
This is no way to get your iron.

Eat For Health: Eating More, Not Less

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

I consider the ideal version of this diet to be one that contains at least 90 percent of calories from the healthiest foods; vegetables, fruits, beans, raw nuts and seeds, avocados, and whole grains. For many others, this amount of change may feel too dramatic because they are giving up foods that they love and replacing them with foods that aren’t familiar, while adjusting to the physical symptoms of a changing diet at the same time. This modified approach is the one you are learning here and was designed to work in sync with your brain so that you won’t feel withdrawal or deprivation.

The focus here is on eating more, not less. The more raw and cooked green vegetables you consume, the less space you will have to eat high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. As the below graphic demonstrates, you will fill a sizeable volume of space in your stomach with a very small number of calories. This will help you comfortably cut the number of calories that you eat each day. This is very much like gastric bypass surgery without the surgery.

You will need to adjust the amount of raw vegetables you eat to what your body will comfortably tolerate. If you have uncomfortable gas, cut back a little on raw vegetables and beans. Don’t remove these foods, just cut back partially, because the goal is to let the body adjust the timing and secretion of its digestive enzymes and peristalsis to accommodate this healthy, more natural diet-style. You should be able to increase the amount of raw vegetables gradually without a problem. Don’t forget to concentrate on chewing better, because that may solve the problem. For some, it takes time for their digestive system to build up the capacity to digest raw, whole foods, especially after eating so little fiber for so long.

No New Fast-Food Restaurants in South-Central Los Angeles

One Los Angeles city official doesn’t want anymore fast food restaurants opening up in poor neighborhoods. Karl Vick of The Washington Post reports:
"Some people will say, 'Well, people just don't have to eat it,' " said Jan Perry, the Democrat who represents the city's overwhelmingly African American and Latino District 9. "But the fact of the matter is, what if you have no other choices?"

The proposed ordinance, which takes a page from boutique communities that turn up their noses at franchises, is supported by nutritionists, frustrated residents and community activists who call restrictive zoning an appropriate response to "food apartheid."

"There's one set of food for one part of the city, another set of food for another part of the city, and it's very stratified that way," said Marqueece Harris-Dawson, executive director of Community Coalition, based in South-Central.

The activist group has focused on land use in the economically depressed neighborhoods south of downtown, working to shutter 200 liquor stores and a dozen motels on the premise that "nuisance businesses" encourage violence and crime while crowding out wholesome alternatives. The fresh, healthful fare that defines "California cuisine" remains almost impossible to find on a gritty landscape of corner carryouts and franchises.
I’m all for free enterprise, but it’s obvious that fast food restaurants—with their cheap food—single out poorer communities. This story first broke back in September: A strict order for fast food.

Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol...

I was reading That’sFit and found this link to Jonny Bowden’s Simple Ways to Improve Your Cholesterol—Now, on Remedy Life. Here are Jonny’s 5 tips:
  1. Eat more fiber.
  2. Lose weight.
  3. Exercise.
  4. Choose cholesterol-lowering foods.
  5. Take your supplements.
I was a little skeptical at first because Jonny has popped up on low-carb blogs—we all know how kooky those are—but his tips are right on point; especially when he suggests eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals, and legumes.

As for taking supplements, Dr. Fuhrman sells his own, so that’s a good place to start. Also, Jonny recently provided the Well blog with his list of super foods. If you skip the canned sardines and canned pumpkin, it’s pretty good too. Via Well:
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Swiss chard
  • Cinnamon
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Dried plums
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Frozen blueberries
You should also check out Dr. Fuhrman’s Ten Super Foods and his Seven Best and Seven Worst Foods for Health and Longevity.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is Natural?

Well, I’ve said it before, but this time its official. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has lost their minds, they now say that high fructose corn syrup is NATURAL. No, I’m not joking. Food Navigator is on it:
High fructose corn syrup may be labeled natural when synthetic fixing agents do not come into contact with it during manufacturing, said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), fuelling further debate on the controversial sweetener…

...”High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is derived from corn, and used primarily to sweeten beverages. The trade group Corn Refiners Association and numerous industry members have long maintained that HFCS is a natural sweetener.

"This is very good news, and makes it clear once again that HFCS is at a parity with sugar," said Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association.

"HFCS contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives and meets FDA's requirements for the use of the term 'natural.' HFCS, like table sugar and honey, is natural. It is made from corn, a natural grain product."
Reacting to this news, Dr. Fuhrman just announced, “Cocaine is natural!” Kidding, but come on. It’s just as absurd. Now, I’m no super sleuth, but something tells me that the Corn Refiners Association used some of that corn syrup to grease somebody’s pockets.

Once Healthy Chinese Now Fat

The Chinese used to eat a lot of vegetables and few animal products, but times have changed. Now the Chinese diet includes much more meat and dairy—contributing to China’s booming obesity. Reuters reports:
"What's happening in China should be seen as a marker for what is going to hit the rest of the developing world if we fail to act," said study author Barry Popkin, a professor of nutrition at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina.

"We need to find the right investments and regulations to encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle, or we risk facing higher rates of death, disease, and disability and the related costs," he added.

Chinese people now derive a far larger proportion of energy from fat and animal-based foods, such as meat and eggs, compared with in the past, the study found.

"The classical Chinese diet -- rich in vegetables and carbohydrates with minimal animal-sourced food -- no longer exists," the study said.

"In 2006, fewer than one percent of all Chinese adults consumed a diet with less than 10 percent of energy derived from fat."
Scary, especially since this unhealthy diet shift is catching on. For example, the once healthy people of Crete have already endured the same fate as the Chinese. Their Mediterranean diet is gone and now they're fat. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
If we look at the diet they consumed back then, we note that Cretans ate mostly fruits, vegetables, beans and some fish. Saturated fat was less than 6 percent of their total fat intake. True, they ate lots of olive oil, but the rest of their diet was exceptionally healthy. They also worked hard in the fields, walking about nine miles a day, often pushing a plow or working other manual farm equipment.

Today the people of Crete are fat, just like us. They're still eating a lot of olive oil, but their consumption of fruits, vegetables, and beans is down. Meat, cheese, and fish are their new staples, and their physical activity level has plummeted. Today, heart disease has skyrocketed and more than half the population of both adults and children in Crete is overweight.1
For more on this, be sure to check out the adeptly named China Study. It makes it pretty clear. People eating a diet rich in animal foods and deficient in plant foods are at an increased risk of disease and premature death.
Continue Reading...

Health Points: Thursday

“Summer vacation shouldn’t become a vacation from healthy eating. Kids need nutritious food in the summer just as much as they do during the school year,” Kramer said. “Parents can help by making sure there are plenty of fruits and vegetables available at home. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is a critical cornerstone of nutritious eating habits and is associated with maintaining a healthy weight and overall good health.”

While it’s important to eat fruits and vegetables every day, including them on the menu for special occasions is one way to encourage family members to make healthy food choices during holiday celebrations, vacations, and other summer activities. Here are some ideas for including plenty of fruits and vegetables in meals and snacks. Remember, more matters, so try out more than one of these ideas for healthy summertime eating.
The Food and Drug Administration ordered makers of flouroquinolone drugs - a potent class of antibacterials - to add a prominent "black box" warning to their products and develop new literature for patients emphasizing the risks.

Tendon ruptures are normally thought of as sports injuries, generally occurring among men in their mid-30s. The link to treatment with the antibiotics is highly unusual, and scientists still don't fully understand why it happens. However, FDA officials stressed that many of the serious injuries appear to be preventable if patients stop taking the drug at the first sign of pain or swelling in a tendon, call their doctor, and switch to another antibiotic.

Studying childhood obesity, University of Toronto nutritionist Harvey Anderson found that kids who watched TV while eating lunch took in 228 extra calories than those who ate without the television on.

"One of Anderson's conclusions is that eating while watching television overrides our ability to know when to stop eating," the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, which funded the study, said on Tuesday.

"In effect, mindless television watching produces mindless eating. ... Anderson has some immediate advice for parents -- turn the television off during mealtime."
Researchers at the American Cancer Society and Emory University in Atlanta calculated death rates for lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer by level of education among U.S. blacks and whites ages 25 to 64 for 1993 through 2001.

Death rates for each of these types of cancer decreased from 1993 to 2001 in men and women with at least 16 years of education -- a college degree -- except for lung cancer among black women, for whom death rates were stable, they found.

By contrast, among people with less than 12 years of education -- those who did not finish high school -- a statistically significant decrease in death rates during the same period was registered only for breast cancer among white women, according to the study.

Teen girls who spend a lot of time on the Internet are more likely to see their weight creeping slowly up than adolescents who spend less time in front of the computer screen, new research shows.

And the association between computer use and weight held true even when the researchers accounted for the amount of exercise the girls were getting. The Harvard researchers also found that a lack of sleep and alcohol consumption were associated with increasing weight.

"We found more weight gain -- after adjustment for height growth and other factors including physical activity -- for females who spent more recreational time on the Internet, for those getting the least sleep, and for those drinking the most alcohol," said study author Catherine Berkey, a biostatistician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
It's simple. No fancy machines required; just record what you eat on paper or using an online record. "The trick is to write down everything you eat or drink that has calories," says Victor Stevens, a researcher at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research and coauthor of the study released today, which appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. That's easy enough with labeled foods but gets harder when you're dining out or are eating an unfamiliar food. Try online calorie databases like, and watch the serving sizes—here's a good source of info on estimating what, say, an ounce of bread looks like. You'll probably still underestimate your daily intake, says Thomas Wadden, director of the Center for Weight Loss and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, but you'll very likely come closer than someone who isn't keeping a food record.

It's eye opening. In fact, some people will be so shocked at how many calories are in their thrice-daily Coke that the "aha" moment will make going on an actual diet unnecessary. Being forced to be aware of what you're eating can often be enough to help people drop weight, says Wadden.

This funny little fruit seems to crop up in lots of popular diet plans, despite a high calorie count.

The reason: It contains monounsaturated fat, one of the "good" fats. It's also packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and it can help the body absorb even more. It's got no cholesterol or sodium, but it's packed with lutein, an antioxidant that contributes to healthy eyes.

Watch it, though: A medium avocado contains about 250 calories, and it's easy to shovel in a bowlful of guacamole when there are chips at hand. But when used judiciously, avocados are healthful and satisfying.
"There is a very long list of health hazards from being overweight," said Ghiyath Shayeb, the study's lead researcher at the University of Aberdeen. "Now we can add poor semen quality to the list."

But experts aren't sure if that necessarily means obese men face major difficulties having children.

"If you have a man who isn't fantastically fertile with a normal partner who is fertile, her fertility will compensate," said Dr. William Ledger, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Britain's University of Sheffield, who was unconnected to the study.

But if both partners are heavy, Ledger said that could be a problem, since obesity is known to decrease women's fertility.

Salmonella: Tomatoes Innocent, Jalapenos Guilty?

At first health investigators thought tomatoes were to blame for the salmonella outbreak that sickened over 900 people, but now it seems jalapenos might be the culprit. More from EmaxHealth:
Government health investigators had initially focused on some types of fresh tomatoes, which have been removed from menus across the country, but are turning toward jalapenos as salmonella sicknesses continue. "Recently, many clusters of illnesses have been identified in Texas and other states among persons who ate at restaurants," according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statement. "These clusters have led us to broaden the investigation to be sure that it encompasses food items that are commonly consumed with tomatoes." CDC Graph of Samonella Cases.

"WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Jalapeno peppers are the new focus of an investigation into the salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds of people in at least 40 states, according to media reports. As of Friday evening, 943 persons infected with salmonella Saintpaul with the same genetic fingerprint have been identified in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, according to CDC. Illnesses are believed to have begun in early April."
For more on the whole salmonella thing, check out Followhealthlife’s hurtful foods category.

School Food: Middle Schools Worse...

Middle schools don’t offer as good of food as elementary schools. Alan Mozes of HealthDay News reports:
The researchers based their conclusion on a tally of the number of vending machines installed at 395 schools spread across 129 school districts in 38 states, as well as on a nutritional analysis of the kinds of foods stocked in the machines or offered up a la carte in school cafeterias and snack bars.

"The food environment changes as you move from elementary schools to high schools," said study author Daniel M. Finkelstein, a researcher with Mathematica Policy Research, in Cambridge, Mass. "And the main difference between the lower and higher grades was the greater availability of unhealthful foods and beverages for older students…"

…Finkelstein said the purpose of the study was to take a nutritional snapshot of current food offerings in public schools -- not to gauge exactly what students were purchasing or consuming. The research also didn't try to explain what is driving the nutritional shift between the elementary school and the high school level.

The researchers analyzed questionnaires and food checklists completed in 2005 by school principals and food managers as part of the third School Nutrition and Dietary Assessment study. Random on-site food inspections were also done in some schools.
Yeah, I think the simple solution is to pack a lunch. Here are some pointers from Dr. Fuhrman. Check it out:
It is important for children to avoid the typical school lunch of luncheon meats and cheese. Typical school lunches are greasy, salty, and of poor nutritional quality. Lots of the great-tasting, healthful recipes in this chapter include soups, puddings, and salads, so make sure you have a small container with a tight lid that your child can open and bring back home in his or her knapsack or book bag daily. Kids like soup cold, even when not a school, so you don’t have to worry about rewarming it. If you child doesn’t bring home the containers you may want to buy some small disposable plastic ones.

Some children are happy to eat healthfully, but when it comes to school lunch they don’t want to look different from the other kids. Packing fresh fruit and a healthy bread with some nut butter and unsweetened fruit spread can be a quick option. My children love raw cashew nut butter. If using peanut butter, purchase a brand without salt and other additives. My daughters also like to take peeled orange or apple slices with their lunch. We cut the apple into four sections around the core, most of the way through, keeping the apple intact, and then wrap it in silver foil. This way it stays fresh, without discoloration, and they can easily separate it into slices.
Whatever you do DON’T become one of The Meat Pie Pushers!

Burger Bedlam...

Horrible food is everywhere. Take this chicken, egg, bacon, beef burger for example. Via Slashfood:

Hamburgers are bad enough on there own—they don’t need help! But they often get it. Here are some other nightmare burgers:

And we wonder why some many people are having heart attacks! At least and the Hellburger is fake.

Eating Saturated Fat Ups Prostate Cancer Risk...

Researchers from The University of Texas have determined that diets high in saturated fat may increases the progression of prostate cancer. Reuters reports:
In a follow up study of men who had their cancerous prostates removed, researchers found that men who consumed higher amounts of saturated fat -- mostly from steaks, burgers, cheese, ice cream, salad dressings, and mayonnaise -- were nearly two times more likely to experience disease progression after surgery than men with lower saturated fat intake.

"Diet before surgery, especially saturated fat, may modulate patient outcome after surgery," Dr. Sara S. Strom, who was involved in the study, told Reuters Health.

Strom and colleagues also found significantly shorter "disease-free" survival times among obese men who ate high amounts of saturated fat compared with non-obese men consuming diets low in saturated fat.

These results expand upon the team's previous finding linking obesity with prostate cancer progression "and suggest that saturated fat intake plays a role in prostate cancer progression," the researchers note in the International Journal of Cancer.

Strom's group used standard food questionnaires to assess the saturated fat intake of 390 men during the year before surgery for localized, or "organ-confined" prostate cancer. The researchers also assessed the men's medical and family history for other risk factors for disease progression.
The diet-prostate cancer connection is no mystery. I asked Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts on this study. Take a look:
Excellent nutrition has been scientifically documented to reduce the risks of prostate cancer and extend lifespan from all cause mortality. This is in direct contrast to medical testing and medical intervention, for prostate cancer, which has not been proven to significantly extend lifespan.
And here Dr. Fuhrman offers up some daily diet tips to help prevent prostate cancer:
  1. Eat a plant-based diet.
  2. Eat less white flour or refined sweets.
  3. Do not drink milk, especially skim milk.
  4. Eat tomatoes, tomato sauce daily
  5. Eat salad and leafy green vegetables daily; both raw and cooked.
  6. Avoid processed meats and animal fats; limit other animal products under 15 ounces weekly.
  7. Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds and nuts and less grains.
Fore more prostate cancer news, check out Followhealthlife’s prostate cancer category. Continue Reading...

Food Groups Want FDA to Track Produce

The fallout from the tomato-salmonella scare continues to mount. In fact, one consumer group wants the Food and Drug Administration to track the movement of produce. More from Reuters:
Food safety and consumer groups said traceability would make it easier for officials to track through the supply chain the origin of fruits and vegetables and identify the source of outbreaks of foodborne toxins, such as salmonella or E. coli, preventing more people from getting sick.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Consumer Federation of America told reporters an effective tracking plan must follow the produce from the farm to the table, and use a single system that can ensure proper record-keeping throughout the process.

"If (the FDA) had put a traceability plan in place two years ago, following the spinach outbreak, this current investigation may be moving more quickly," said Chris Waldrop, a director at the Consumer Federation of America.

"The latest outbreak clearly demonstrates the need for the federal government to be able to quickly and easily identify and trace an implicated food to its source," he added.
Seems logical to me, presents the opportunity to nip future problems in the bud—no pun intended.

Junk Food: Diet-Packs Make You Eat More...

You see those 100-calorie packs everywhere. Apparently they’re supposed to help you snack healthfully, but, new research has determined that people eating diet-packs actually over eat. More from the NewScientist:
Grocery aisles are full of small "diet packs" of candy, cookies or fried snacks, advertised as a guilt-free way of helping you eat less. But Rik Pieters and colleagues at Tilburg University in the Netherlands suspected that diet packs might in fact make people drop their guard and eat more.

They had 140 students watch TV - to rate advertising, they were told - and gave them either two 200-gram bags of potato chips or nine 45-gram packs. To activate "self-regulatory concerns", half of the students were asked about weight issues and weighed in front of a mirror - all supposedly as part of another study.

Among students without weight thoughts, three-quarters opened their small bags and half opened their large bags. Both ate about the same amount. In volunteers primed with a diet mindset, however, just a quarter of students opened their large bags, eating half as many chips as the 59 per cent of students who cracked open the small packs (Journal of Consumer Research, DOI: 10.1086/589564).

The researchers think people with small bags felt they didn't need to exercise self-control, because it was a pre-portioned pack. The same effect may occur with other seemingly small temptations, such as low-fat or natural foods.
Honestly, is there much difference between 100 calories of cookies and an entire box of cookies? Here’s an idea, 1 Million-Nutrient packs of fruits and veggies!

The Beef Recall Beefs Up

The E. coli-beef recall that started in Michigan and Ohio is now being expanded to 20 states. More from the Associated Press:
On Wednesday, The Kroger Co. expanded its voluntary recall of some ground beef products to its stores in more than 20 states, saying the meat may be contaminated with E. coli.

The nation's biggest traditional grocer also urged customers to check the ground beef in their refrigerators and freezers to determine whether it is covered by the recall.

The warning comes as federal investigators try to pinpoint the source of a separate salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes that has sickened nearly 900 people, raising more questions about the nation's food safety system.

While insisting that tomatoes remain the leading suspect, investigators are looking at other produce but remain mum on exactly what vegetables are getting tracked.

Kroger's recall stems from meat obtained from one of Kroger's suppliers, Nebraska Beef Ltd., that has been linked to illnesses reported in Michigan and Ohio between May 31 and June 8 caused by E. coli bacteria.
What’s gross is E. coli comes from poop—EEK!

Carnivals, No Place for Health Food!

Finally, at list of foods that makes sense. Newsweek points out the 7 most unhealthy carnival foods. Take a look:
  1. Deep-fried Oreos
  2. Cotton candy
  3. Corn dog
  4. Deep-friend Twinkie
  5. Snow cone
  6. Funnel cake
  7. Deep-fried candy bars
Surprise, surprise—the fried food and sugar is the crappiest. A guy in an American flag shirt eating a corndog should be on the dollar bill.

Burger King Adds Caramel Sauce, Now Healthier?

Pressured by competition and a falling stock price, Burger is adding “healthier” kid’s meals to their menu; which apparently means Kraft macaroni and cheese and caramel dipping sauce. The Associated Press reports:
"A large part of our customer base is parents with children," said Russ Klein, president of global strategy, marketing and innovation. "As a parent, the challenge is always trying to get the kinds of things you want to but have some dimension of fun."

The meal features a 4-ounce serving of Kraft macaroni and cheese, low-fat milk and Fresh Apple Fries, which are uncooked apple slices shaped like French fries and served with low-fat caramel dipping sauce. The price -- $3.49…

…But convincing parents to correlate healthy eating with the home of the Whopper may not so be easy. Burger King has been criticized for not switching to trans-fat-free oil as fast as some of its rivals. It has committed to making the switch in all of its restaurants by the end of the year. Burger King shares fell 14 cents to $26.79.
I’d officially like to add this to the pile of stupid food news we’ve dug up over the past couple of days. Like these:
I’m not sure WHAT you could pair a Whopper up with to make it healthy—maybe a garbage bag so you can throw it away!

"Healthy" Food, Another Stupid List...

Yesterday WebMD told us that hot dogs and nachos “healthy.” So dumb! Now today, CBS says fried chicken, cotton candy, and other crap are the “best” Fourth of July foods. You’ve got to see it to believe it:
BEST: Fried Chicken Breast (6 oz)
WORST: BBQ Chicken Wings -- dark meat (6 oz)

BEST: Lobster Roll (6 oz. portion of lobster, 1 tbsp. light mayo, 1 hot dog roll)
WORST: Pork Ribs (6 oz.) with 3 tbsp. Bulls Eye BBQ sauce

BEST: Lobster Roll (6 oz. portion of lobster, 1 tbsp. light mayo, 1 hot dog roll)
WORST: Pork Ribs (6 oz.) with 3 tbsp. Bulls Eye BBQ sauce

BEST: Cotton Candy (1.5 oz serving)
WORST: Candy Apple (6.5 oz apple)

BEST: Bloody Mary (5 oz)
WORST: Mojito (5 oz)

BEST: Blueberry Pie (1/8 of 9 " pie)
WORST: Strawberry Shortcake (1/8 of cake)
My goodness! Okay, Followhealthlife reader Kirsten had a great comment to yesterday’s post. It fits here too. “Ugh! I hate lists like that. What could they possibly have left OFF the list? Doughnuts!” Nice one Kirsten!

Fat Kids, Mom Ate Junk

A new study on rats has determined that mothers who eat junk food while pregnant or breastfeeding have obesity-prone children. WebMD reports:
"The maternal diet seems to influence and trigger events early in the life of their offspring," study researcher Stephanie Bayol, PhD, tells WebMD. "We found that by the end of their adolescence, the offspring from the junk-food-fed animals had increased blood sugar, blood fat, and decreased insulin sensitivity — all of which are associated with overweight and diabetes."

Bayol and colleagues at London's Royal Veterinary College gave pregnant rats normal rat chow. But they also gave them free access to cookies, chocolate, doughnuts, muffins, potato chips, candy, and cheese.

In earlier studies, they showed that the offspring of these rats liked high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar foods better than other rats. But the new studies show that even when never fed junk food themselves, the rats whose mothers ate junk food during pregnancy grew up fatter than normal rats.

"Their fat cells were larger, which might make them more prone to obesity and might make it harder for them to lose weight," Bayol says. "So there were lasting effects from their mother's consumption of junk food, even if they were not fed junk food after weaning."
There’s been a lot of news about diet and pregnancy lately, especially when it comes to the baby’s long term health. Check it out:
Seems like a good reason to ALWAYS eat healthy.

Wednesday: Healthy Points

Denmark is the happiest nation and Zimbabwe the the most glum, he found. (Zimbabwe's longtime ruler Robert Mugabe was sworn in as president for a sixth term Sunday after a widely discredited runoff in which he was the only candidate. Observers said the runoff was marred by violence and intimidation.)

The United States ranks 16th.

The results of the survey, going back an average of 17 years in 52 countries and involving 350,000 people, will be published in the July 2008 issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. Researchers have asked the same two questions over the years: "Taking all things together, would you say you are very happy, rather happy, not very happy, not at all happy?" And, "All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?"
The study, researchers say, suggests that CKD should be added to the list of conditions that are associated with weight gain, including diabetes and high blood pressure.

Obesity is a known risk factor for CKD, but the impact of weight gain in normal-weight individuals without high blood pressure or diabetes is unknown, Dr. Seungho Ryu, at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in Seoul, and associates note in their report.

In Korea, workers are required to undergo periodic health examinations. Using these data, Ryu's team followed 8792 healthy men ages 30 to 59 years with no known risk factors for CKD between 2002 and 2007. The prevalence of obesity was about 33 percent.

For example, for apricots, a cup of fresh halves is 86 percent water, with 74 calories, and a half cup of dried fruit is 76 percent water, with 212 calories. Fresh apricots have 3.1 grams of fiber versus 6.5 for dried; 0.6 milligrams of iron versus 2.35 milligrams; 15.5 milligrams of vitamin C versus 0.8 milligrams; and 149 retinol activity equivalents of vitamin A versus 160.

A cup of fresh Thompson seedless grapes is 80 percent water, with 104 calories, and a half cup of raisins is 15 percent water, with 434 calories. The grapes have 1.4 grams of fiber, versus 5.4 grams for the raisins; 0.54 milligrams of iron versus 2.73 milligrams; 288 milligrams of potassium versus 1,086 milligrams; and 16.3 milligrams of vitamin C versus 3.3 milligrams.
At a meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a joint body of the WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), officials also set benchmarks for producing gluten-free foods.

Peter Ben Embarek, a scientist in the WHO's food safety division, said the adoption of the "landmark" code of hygienic practices for powdered formula could reduce contamination from two bacteria that can cause severe illness and death in babies.

People with wheat allergies would also be protected by the standards for gluten-free food that countries pledged to work into their national legislation, and to meet in food exports under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Most trade shows are the stuff of, if not nightmares, then at least a sleepwalk from one charmless kiosk to the next. Not so at the 54th Summer Fancy Food Show, where 20,000+ gourmet retailers, restaurateurs, chefs, media folks and plain ol' food fans spend three days chomping their way through a fever dream of some 180,000 specialty foods. The throwback "Fancy" is a bit of a misnomer by now, as there's a very wide slice of products on offer, ranging from swankity wines, oils, cheeses and caviar to humble chewing gums, ketchups, chili seasonings and snack mixes.
Most commercial brands of mayonnaise contain vinegar and other ingredients that make them acidic — and therefore very likely to protect against spoilage. When problems occur, they usually result from other contaminated or low-acid ingredients (like chicken and seafood), improper storage and handling, or homemade versions that contain unpasteurized eggs.

One prominent study published in The Journal of Food Protection found, for example, that in the presence of commercial mayonnaise, the growth of salmonella and staphylococcus bacteria in contaminated chicken and ham salad either slowed or stopped altogether. As the amount of mayonnaise increased, the rate of growth decreased. When temperatures rose to those of a hot summer day, the growth increased, but not as much as in samples that did not contain mayonnaise.

After following over 5,700 men for 23 years, researchers concluded that the faster your rate drops after exercise, the lower your risk of dying of a heart attack. To perform the calculation, first take note of your heart rate at exactly one minute after you've finished your workout. Then, take that number and subtract it from the maximum heart rate you reached during the workout. If the difference is more than 35bpm, there's a good chance you do not face an increased risk.

If, however, it is less than 35bpm, the study suggests there's need for caution. Specifically, if the difference is between 31-35bpm, your risk is increased by 40 percent; 25-30bpm, risk increase is 30 percent; less than 25bpm, risk increase is 110 percent.
In Berlin, where a ban took effect on January 1, smokers were granted a six-month period of grace that expired on Tuesday and those who breach the ban now face fines of 1,000 euros (1,575 dollars).

In the eastern state of Saxony, fines can run up to 5,000 euros but in the northern port of Hamburg and Thuringia, in eastern Germany, the highest fine authorities can issue is 500 euros.

The wealthy southern state of Bavaria is considered to have the country's toughest public smoking ban because it prohibits restaurants from opening separate smoking sections -- a practice allowed in other states.

Acne: Diet a Major Determining Factor...

Modern medicine is a mess. Drug companies pull the strings and too many doctors go with the flow. They’ve lost touch with reality. Dr. Fuhrman explains:

Dermatologists insist that food has nothing to do with acne, rheumatologists insist that food has nothing to do with rheumatoid arthritis, and gastroenterologists insist that food has nothing to do with irritable and inflammatory bowel disease. Even cardiologists have been resistant to accept the accumulating evidence that atherosclerosis is entirely avoidable.

As for dermatology, a new study has determined that foods like milk and refined carbohydrates are responsible for an increased incidence of acne. Via Family Practice News:

The link between milk consumption and acne has been extensively pursued by investigators at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, said Dr. Mancini. In a prospective cohort study of 6,094 girls, aged 9–15 years, who were children of Nurses' Health Study II participants, self-reported greater consumption of milk—whether whole, low-fat, or skim—on food frequency questionnaires was independently associated with acne severity in a multivariate analysis, said Dr. Mancini, head of pediatric dermatology at Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago.

Those who drank two or more servings of milk per day during the 2-year study period were roughly 20% more likely to have acne than were girls who drank less than one serving per week. The results weren't significantly altered by excluding girls using contraceptives or restricting the analysis to those who were less than 11 years old at baseline (Dermatol. Online J. 2006;12:1)…

…In an editorial accompanying an earlier study by the group, Dr. F. William Danby, a dermatologist at Dartmouth University, Hanover, N.H., noted that 75%–90% of all milk reaching the marketplace comes from pregnant cows. This milk contains progesterone, other dihydrotestosterone precursors, somatostatin, prolactin, insulin, growth factor-releasing hormone, insulinlike growth factors 1 and 2, and numerous other substances that could stimulate pilosebaceous activity (J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 2005;552:360-2).

Dr. Mancini noted that the link between acne and a high-glycemic-load diet rich in processed carbohydrates was made by Loren Cordain, Ph.D., and coworkers at Colorado State University, Fort Collins. In contrast to the near-universal prevalence of acne in adolescents in modern developed countries, they reported a rate of essentially zero in two non-Westernized populations: the Aché hunter-gatherers of Paraguay and Kitavan Islanders of Papua New Guinea. These subjects also had low serum insulin and high insulin sensitivity.

Dr. Danby is a champion of the diet-acne connection. Here are a couple more links to his work:

The power of nutritional-intervention—food as medicine—can’t and shouldn’t be ignored. More from Dr. Fuhrman:

Most chronic illnesses have been earned from a lifetime of inferior nutrition, which eventually results in abnormal function or frequent discomfort. These illnesses are not beyond our control, they are not primarily genetic, and they are not the normal consequence of aging. True, we all have our weakest links governed by genetics; but these links need never reveal themselves unless our health deteriorates. Superior health flows naturally as a result of superior nutrition. Our predisposition to certain illnesses can remain hidden.

In fact, here's a great success story from one of Dr. Fuhrman's patients. Check out Caitlin's triumph, told by her proud mother:

For approximately a year before consulting with Dr. Fuhrman, our daughter Caitlin suffered from progressive fatigue, severe acne, and chronic stomach upset. It caused numerous absences from school, which was troubling because Caitlin was an honor student who had always done well academically. After seeing several doctors with no diagnosis, Caitlin became exceedingly frustrated and asked us to enroll her in counseling for stress management. We began counseling as a family. Caitlin’s symptoms worsened and she was eventually diagnosed with ulcers. Six weeks later, we learned that the tests revealed an alarmingly high presence of the antibodies that fight bacterially-based ulcers. According to the doctor, Caitlin probably had the bacteria in her stomach for more than a year. He immediately prescribed a course of four antibiotics taken simultaneously, which destroyed her digestive system. She was worse than ever. We asked our counselor to recommend a physician who practiced nutritional medicine and we were led to Dr. Fuhrman. He immediately put Caitlin on a cleansing diet with lots of green vegetables and high nutrient soups, but no medication of any kind. Over those first two months, as her digestive system healed, Caitlin regained her energy and her skin cleared. No more stomach upset, no more acne, no more fatigue. Caitlin was healthy in body and spirit and she was discharged from counseling. She graduated from high school with honors and received a scholarship to pursue her college education. We are so grateful to Dr. Fuhrman and nutritional medicine and can’t imagine where we would be without this approach.

I think dermatologists need to expand their minds a little and not take themselves so seriously. Dr. Cox from Scrubs would agree. Take a look:

In all seriousness, food is wonderful medicine. Just check out this post: Diet Influences So Many Aspects of Health.

Hotdogs and Nachos, Good for Kids?

Get a load of this harebrained list of “healthy” summertime foods for kids. From Jeanie Lerche Davis of WebMD:
  1. Nachos & Quesadillas
  2. Hamburgers & Hot Dogs
  3. Ice Cream
  4. Frozen Yogurt
  5. Waffles & Pancakes
  6. Marshmallows
  7. Popcorn
  8. Watermelon
  9. Anything Sweet
  10. Thirst Quenchers
Okay, the watermelon is cool, but here is a list of reasons why ice cream, nachos, waffles, hot dogs, etc. are NOT healthy:
Lumping watermelon in with those foods—tisk, tisk.

Tuesday: Health Points

The report by scientists at the WHO's International Agency for Cancer Research urged more countries to adopt smoking bans in public and at the workplace, saying there was enough evidence to prove they work, without hurting businesses such as restaurants and bars.

"Implementation of such policies can have a broader population effect of increasing smoke-free environments," the researchers wrote in the Lancet Oncology special report.

"Not only do these policies achieve their aim of protecting the health of non-smokers by decreasing exposure to second-hand smoke, they also have many effects on smoking behavior, which compound the health benefits."
Watching television in America takes some getting used to. Apart from the accent, it is strange to hear companies marketing drugs directly to the consumer. Not only do they sell their own brand, but they actively name and shame their competitors' products. During a commercial break there may be two different brands of antihistamine telling you how bad the other is.

Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) is the promotion of prescription drugs through newspaper, magazine, television and internet marketing. Although the drug industry is mounting major campaigns to have DTCA allowed in Europe and Canada, the only two developed countries where it is currently legal are the U.S. and New Zealand.

Studies have shown that increases in DTCA have contributed to overall increases in spending on both the advertised drug itself and on other drugs that treat the same conditions. For example, one study of 64 drugs found a median increase in sales of $2.20 for every $1 spent on DTCA. It has been reported that 10 of the leading 12 brand-name drugs with DTCA campaigns have sales in excess of $1 billion annually.

The Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office on Women's Health launched BodyWorks in 2006 by training instructors in the hopes that they would bring the program home to their communities. All materials are provided free, but communities must find the resources to pay trainers and a place to offer the program.

"Throughout the years I've worked with nutritionists, I've worked with diet programs, and it's very frustrating," Dr. Monica Richter, a pediatrician on staff at the Children's Hospital Seattle and a BodyWorks instructor who coordinates fundraising to help support the program, told Reuters Health. "I'm hoping that this will be one of the answers to this growing problem."

Girls 9 to 13 years old who are overweight or obese are referred to BodyWorks through their pediatrician, or by word of mouth. Parents and caregivers attend 10 weekly 90-minute sessions, and girls are expected to show up for at least three. The goal is to give parents and caregivers "hands-on tools to make small behavior changes to prevent obesity and help maintain a healthier weight," according to the BodyWorks Web site (
However, a new study suggests that the Nutrition Facts panel found on the side of grocery store products does a poor job of getting that message across to consumers.

"It's very misleading to just throw a number out there," contends study author Elizabeth Howlett, a professor of marketing at the University of Arkansas, in Little Rock.

Her team found that the average health-conscious consumer is often misled by trans fat information found on the Nutrition Facts panel.

The main problem is that because no amount of trans fat is good for you, it makes no sense to post a percentage of the "recommended daily value" -- as is done with other ingredients such as sugar, or total or saturated fats. So consumers are just left with a number -- such as 2, 3 or 4 grams of trans fat per serving -- and no way of interpreting how unhealthy that might be.

What surprises me most about it is that the parking lot next to the field is not full. I would think people would be lined up to climb up on that roof and get a good look at the art from above.
Even a bra that perfectly maximized motion (without sacrificing support and comfort) would be useful to me only if there were a way to turn that motion into energy. For a primer on how to do that, I turned to Professor Zhong Lin Wang of Georgia Tech, who is currently working to develop fabric made from nanowires that will capture energy from motion. Wang's wires are about 1/1,000th the width of a human hair. When woven together in a fabric, these nanowires rub up against one another and convert the mechanical energy from the friction into an electric charge. According to Wang, the fabric is cheap to produce and surprisingly efficient; his team hopes to use it to create energy-generating T-shirts and other articles of clothing. A square meter of fiber produces about 80 milliwatts of power, which is enough to run a small device like a cell phone. Wang expects to have a shirt available for purchase within five years.

Many bra patterns call for about a meter of fabric, which would probably mean that a regular bra would have enough energy to power an iPod. But the fabric could also be layered, doubling or even tripling the amount of energy produced. I asked Wang whether his fabric could be used to make a bra. "Bras would be ideal," he said. "There is a lot of friction and movement in that general area. And the fabric would be thick."

Parents secretly putting things (even if it's broccoli) into their children's food without their knowing it? When they grow up, I wonder what they'll think of that?

Seems a trust is broken here, and I'm not sure it won't affect food issues these children may have down the line.

Delicious is key where food and children are concerned. If a parent wants to get a child to eat fruit, he or she can wash, chop and freeze fresh strawberries, then take a blender and pour in one cup of fat-free milk. Add three packages of artificial sweetener. Add four or five frozen strawberries, and blend. Keep adding strawberries until you have a thick, luscious strawberry milkshake that could stand toe-to-toe with any fast-food shake you've ever had.
Condition worsened
The girl grew increasingly weak and feverish and "became more limp, appears sleepy, acts as if drunk," the report said. She was hospitalized and underwent surgery and was finally withdrawn from life support. She died April 5, according to the report.

The 9- and 6-year-olds suffered from mitochondrial disorders, a spectrum of genetic diseases that has received almost no attention from federal health officials. The 9-year-old, Hannah Poling, was 19 months old and developing normally in 2000 when she received five shots against nine infectious diseases. Two days later, she developed a fever, cried inconsolably and refused to walk. In the next seven months, she spiraled downward, and in 2001, she was diagnosed with autism.