Sunday, February 22, 2015

New Nutrition Advisory

From an Associated Press article, published in and titled- "Sugary Drinks Out, Coffee & Eggs In, Says Government Advisory Committee".

An extra cup or two of coffee may be OK after all. More eggs, too. But you definitely need to drink less sugary soda. And, as always, don’t forget your vegetables.

Recommendations Thursday from a government advisory committee call for an environmentally friendly diet lower in red and processed meats. But the panel would reverse previous guidance on limiting dietary cholesterol. And it says the caffeine in a few cups of coffee could actually be good for you.

The committee also is backing off stricter limits on salt, though it says Americans still get much too much. It’s recommending the first real limits on added sugar, saying that’s especially a problem for young people.

The Agriculture and Health and Human Services Departments will take those recommendations into account in writing final 2015 dietary guidelines by the end of the year. The guidelines affect nutritional patterns throughout the country - from federally subsidized school lunches to food package labels to your doctor’s advice.

Even with the changes, the report sticks to the basic message of the previous guidelines in 2010: Eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains; eat less saturated fats, salt and sugar.


The report says dietary cholesterol now is “not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.” This follows increasing medical research showing the amount of cholesterol in your bloodstream is more complicated than once thought.

The committee says available evidence “shows no appreciable relationship” between heart disease and how much dietary cholesterol you eat, but it still recommends eating less saturated fat. As in previous years, the report advises limiting saturated fats to 10 percent of total calories.

The panel doesn’t give a specific recommendation for how much cholesterol — or eggs — a person may eat.


Added sugars should be no more than about 200 calories a day - about the amount in one 16-ounce sugary drink, says the advisory committee, which is made up of doctors and nutritionists.

The recommendation is part of a larger push in recent years to help consumers isolate added sugars from naturally occurring ones like those in fruit and milk. Added sugars generally add empty calories to the diet.

Americans now get about 13 percent of their calories from added sugar, or 268 calories a day, the committee says. Older children, adolescents and young adults generally take in more. The 10 percent recommended by the committee is “a target within reach,” says Miriam Nelson, a Tufts University professor of nutrition who served on the panel.

Sugary drinks should be replaced with water instead of those with low-calorie sweeteners; there’s not enough evidence those drinks can help with weight loss, the committee advises.


Sodium adds up quickly. A turkey sandwich and a cup of soup can average about 2,200 milligrams.

That’s just under the committee’s recommendation of 2,300 milligrams a day for all people, even those most at risk for heart disease.

The 2010 dietary guidelines had recommended those at risk for heart disease limit sodium to 1,500 milligrams. The new report said lowering to that amount can still be helpful for some. The new advice follows a 2013 report by the Institute of Medicine that said there is no good evidence that eating less than 2,300 milligrams a day of sodium offers benefits.

With the average American eating more than 3,400 milligrams daily, the panel recommends at least trying to reduce sodium intake by 1,000 milligrams a day if the new goals are unattainable.

Alice Lichtenstein, a member of the panel and a professor at Tufts University, said the new recommendation “puts the focus where it should be.” Get sodium intake down, and fine-tune the numbers as more evidence comes in.


The report looks at caffeine for the first time, and says coffee is OK - even good for you. The panel says there is strong evidence that 3 to 5 cups a day can be part of a healthy diet, and there’s consistent evidence that it’s even associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The advice comes with some caveats - don’t add calories with cream, milk and added sugars. The report also advises against large-size energy drinks that are popular in the marketplace, and it recommends pregnant women limit caffeine to two cups of coffee a day.


The panel recommends eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. A plant-based diet is “more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact” than the current U.S. diet, which is high in meat.

The report stops short of telling people not to eat meat, saying “no food groups need to be eliminated completely to improve sustainability outcomes.”

Overall, the panel advises a diet lower in red and processed meat, and in a footnote says lean meats can be part of a healthy diet. The North American Meat Institute criticized the report, saying the health benefits of lean meat should be “a headline, not a footnote.”

MyAchingKnees comment: Also coming out this week was an report by Bloomberg that a U.S. Panel calls for taxing sugary foods to curb obesity....that Americans should pay taxes on sugary sodas and snacks as a way to cut down on sweets, though they no longer need to worry about cholesterol, according to scientists helping to revamp dietary guidelines as U.S. obesity levels surge. While as much as I feel that obesity hurts health and lead to living a life of pain from joint pain and diseases, I would be against the Government trying to regulate behavior through taxation. It's generally been a failure to moderate behavior or morality. Instead? Let the consumer become educated and own responsibility for their own actions.

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

US Adult Obesity Rate Rises Again

Nothing makes me madder than to see an obese adult at a convenience store, with an obese little child at hand, buying junk food. Those kids will likely never have a chance at a decent life because of the way they are starting life, courtesy of their parent(s). I have a fat relative who constantly complains of knee pain. I have no fear of that relative reading this,...this person would never read anything on health! They just suffer joint pain and health problems relating to their inability to accept responsibility for their own over eating.

US Adult Obesity Rate Rises Again

By Amanda Chan, posted on Yahoo! Health

The new obesity numbers are out, and they are higher than ever. Gallup-Healthways released its latest data on obesity in the United States, showing that in 2014, 27.7 percent of adults were considered obese — up from 25.5 percent in 2008.

The rate is the highest in the seven years Gallup-Healthways has tracked obesity. The new report is based on data from phone interviews conducted from Jan. 2 to Dec. 30, 2014, with 167,029 adults throughout the U.S.

Obesity is determined as having a body mass index (BMI) score of 30 or higher. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal weight, and a BMI of 18.4 or less is considered underweight.

Even though the number of Americans who are of normal weight has not changed since 2013, more people who were previously considered overweight are now obese based on their BMI.

Of the people polled, those ages 65 and older experienced the biggest increase in obesity (a 4 percentage-point increase from 2008 to 2014), followed closely by 45-to-64-year-olds (with an increase of 3.5 percentage-points). Other groups that experienced large increases since 2008 include Midwesterners (an increase of 2.9 percent) and women (an increase of 2.8 percent). However, adults ages 18 to 29 only saw a 0.3 percentage-point increase in obesity from 2008 to 2014 (going from 17.4 percent to 17.7 percent). And even though black people still have the highest obesity rate of all measured demographics of 35.5 percent, their obesity rate increased only 0.5 percentage-points from 2008 to 2014 (from 35 percent to 35.5. percent).

At this point, most people know that exercise and healthy eating are key to achieving a healthy weight. So why, still, the creep up in obesity?

It might have something to do with the association between obesity and indicators of well-being (such as purpose, social well-being, financial well-being and physical well-being). Gallup- Healthways researchers found an association between obesity and low reports of well-being, and even though each element influences the other — obesity influences well-being, and vice versa — researchers did note that past data shows well-being affects future obesity outcomes more than the other way around.

"To date, most efforts to curb obesity focus on driving weight loss through diet and exercise, without addressing other aspects of well-being that may contribute to obesity," Janna Lacatell, Healthways Lifestyle Solutions director, said in the report.

"The rising obesity rate suggests these efforts have been largely ineffective. While access to evidence-based, proven weight loss programs emphasizing better nutrition and more physical activity is a critical component to reducing obesity, these interventions alone are not enough," Lacatell added in the report. ”To make a truly measurable impact on reducing obesity rates, interventions should also address other factors known to influence weight management, such as financial and social well-being.”

Past research conducted on Americans’ eating habits also shows that in general, Americans are eating more healthfully now than a decade ago. But as LiveScience points out, diet quality differs dramatically depending on income and education, with those at the high end of the spectrum having healthier diets than those with lower incomes and education levels. These findings were based on data from 29,000 adults who were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

10 of the Most Nutritious Vegetables You Can Eat

I like this article (originally published on Wall St Cheat Sheet) I because one of my four legs of a healthy lifestyle is to "maximize the good foods and minimize the bad." Any article that can point out some of the better foods we can eat is worth reading. But the consumer will never know for sure what they are eating in today's world of GMO foods, and with vegetables losing much of their nutrient content in the picking-processing-shipping-purchase cycle. Still, best to do as well as you can in picking and eating foods. Optimally, we could eat whole foods and get all the nutrients our bodies need for optimum health. But that's not the case, so another leg of healthy lifestyle is take the best quality nutritional supplements you can get. And let's not forget the two other legs of a healthy lifestyle, a physically life (be physically active), and, avoid toxins - the worst being tobacco.

10 of the Most Nutritious Vegetables You Can Eat

We have already established that eating healthy is hard. Navigating a Whole Foods is not for the faint of heart. Which fats are bad? Which vegetables are best? Does anyone really know? Maybe, maybe not, but thanks to the Nutrition Action Healthletter, we can at least see how all the famed veggies stack up.

What do you think?

The agency responsible for the newsletter gathered nutritional info made available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database, and it ranked the world’s most popular vegetables, taking into account their calories and Vitamin K, lutein, Vitamin C, Potassium, and fiber content. Some veggies were obvious superstars, racking in scores of over 1,000 points, but others didn’t fare so well, coming in with a score of 54 points, and yes, iceberg lettuce, we’re looking at you.

So just in case you’re interested to see if you’re favorite veggies make our top-ten list, check out these top nutrient powerhouses that experts are particularly impressed with. Corn, parsnips, and celery surely aren’t inspiring awe in anyone, but we bet you can guess who are.

10. Carrots

Coming up first on our list, sitting at the No. 10 spot is a vegetable that is arguably pretty easy to love: the carrot. One serving of this orange veggie is only 30 calories, and it comes packed with fiber, Vitamin K, and lutein. Lutein is a caretenoid concentrated in the retinas of your eyes, and it’s a necessary component of normal vision. It is suggested that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables that contain lutein may also decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, so it appears as though your grandma was actually on to something. There’s a reason she told you eating carrots is good for your eyes.

9. Radicchio (raw)

Radicchio is next! Sounds like the king of the vegetables, yes? And the Nutrition Action Healthletter supports that ranking. Sometimes known as Italian chicory, two cups of this good stuff yields a whopping 20 calories and a score of 467 points on the newsletter’s rank. Radicchio also comes laden with Vitamin K and lutein, along with Vitamin C and potassium. When you’re on the hunt for radicchio in the grocery store, seek out the leaf vegetable with white-veined red leaves. Though it has a bitter and spicy taste as raw, grilling or roasting helps mellow out its flavor. Unfortunately, radicchio is only listed at No. 9 on our list in its raw form, but we won’t blame you if you wade into the radicchio waters roasting the vegetable first.

8. Sweet potato

Coming in at No. 8 is American’s favorite superfood, the sweet potato. The white potato’s healthy counterpart racks up a score of 492 points on the Nutrition Action Healthletter’s list, and it’s all thanks to the ample amount of Vitamin C one small potato with skin provides, along with potassium, fiber, vitamins, and magnesium. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, there’s a reason healthy eaters love to love this naturally sweetened carbohydrate.

7. Mustard greens

But the sweet potato still isn’t healthier than seven other vegetables that reign supreme, and one of them is the mustard greens. One serving of these veggies yields just 10 calories, but its nutritional profile is worth much, much more. Mustard greens are chock full of Vitamin K, lutein, Vitamin C, and fiber. They’ve been noted on lists as the world’s healthiest foods, and just in case you’re ready to give mustard greens a try, look out for the plant that often occurs in some form in African, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and soul food cuisine.

6. Pumpkin (canned)

Continuing to make our way down the list, we come to another favorite orange veggie, because pumpkin shouldn’t only be purposed as a vehicle for your Halloween jack-o-lanterns. Rather, in its canned form, it racks up 577 points on the list highlighted on the Nutrition Action Healthletter, and there, experts praise its Vitamin K, Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber content. Bake this baby into baked goods and pride yourself on eating one of the top six healthiest veggies.

5. Turnip greens

Back on our greens game, we come to another impressive plant, the turnip greens. Turn up for turnips. One serving of these babies comes to only 20 calories, and for that measly total, you get vitamin K, lutein, vitamin C, and fiber. Sorry, potassium, turnip greens aren’t a vehicle for you. These root vegetables go by a lot of different names, but Americans tend to either roast them, sauté them, mash them (with bacon!), or puree them into a soup. It’s your choice how you consume them, but as their score of 714 points evidences, you should definitely say yes to the turnips.

4. Swiss chard

Swiss chard comes in at the No. 4 spot, boasting an impressive score of 717 points, just slightly higher than the value of turnip greens. This leafy green vegetable is often used in Mediterranean cooking and covers all the nutrient bases, coming packed with Vitamin K, lutein, Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. It is also rich in minerals and protein. Healthy eaters have been chomping down on this veggie for decades now, but if you’re new to swiss chard land, sauté it or roast the chard leaves first. Cooking mellows out the bitter taste of this vegetable and yields a pleasant, albeit earthy, flavor.

3. Collard Greens

And you don’t have to be from the South to enjoy this next highlighted vegetable, although that’s where collard greens enjoy the most fanfare. These plants are known for their large, dark- colored, edible leaves, and they’re easily made into a number of popular dishes, including good old sautéed collard greens with bacon. Loaded with Vitamin K, lutein, Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, there really is no reason you shouldn’t be at least trying to incorporate collard greens in some of your meal plans, especially considering one serving only yields 20 calories. C’mon now.

2. Spinach (raw)

Getting closer to the distinction of best, vegetable, ever, we come to spinach, a vegetable that many consumers have grown to love — no pun intended. In its raw form, spinach totals 968 points on the scale provided by the Nutrition Action Healthletter, and it’s no surprise, considering the green vegetable is teeming with vitamin A, lutein, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Hide spinach on your salad, in your eggs, in your smoothies, or even in your desserts, and you’ll be benefiting from its impressive nutritional profile.

1. Kale

And the greatest vegetable of them? King Kale, killing the competition with its score of 1,392 points. It’s hardly a surprise that kale takes the No. 1 distinction, considering it’s the it veggie healthy eaters love to love, but now we fully understand why. This vegetable has been around since the dark ages, but it’s now one of hottest greens that can be found on foodies’ plates, especially if it is massaged. Raw kale previously seemed almost unpalatable due to its bitter taste and unappetizing texture, but now that chefs and foodies have discovered that massaging the vegetable with olive oil and salt can break down its tough cellulose structure, healthy consumers are all about reaping the benefits of the greens packed with Vitamins A, C, and K, B6, and calcium. Case in point? Eat your kale, and like it too.

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Is Your Pharmacy Selling Snake Oil?

The title above is the original title by an article by Amy Rushlow a contributing writer on Yahoo! Health. She leads with - "Controversial supplements with unproven health claims are often stocked just outside the pharmacy windows. But that doesn’t mean your pharmacist recommends them."

How true. It really is a buyer beware world. The smart consumer does the research and spends their money wisely. The cheapest supplements are just that. Often, clinical trials are conducted in-house. The word "certified" is nice, but certified by whom, the company's CEO? Ultimately, the proof will be in the pudding.....the supplements will have effects if they are effective. You stop getting sick so much. You feel better. Maybe your blood pressure drops. Your AIC levels go down a bit. Maybe your cholesterol levels drop somewhat. This type of individual, results oriented proof is what going to separate the snake oil and the supplements that are actually effective. And it's pretty much going to be true that the supplements are not going to the best for quality, purity and efficacy unless they are made using a pharmaceutical grade manufacturing process.

Is Your Pharmacy Selling Snake Oil?

At a large pharmacy chain, one shelf features products that have been tested in clinical trials, shown to be effective, and approved for sale by the FDA. The other shelf, right below the first, promotes products that are, as obesity specialist Yoni Freedhoff, MD, puts it, “At best, yet-to-be-proven hope — and at worst, useless hogwash.”

Could you tell which is which?

OK, it’s pretty obvious when we phrase it that way.  But when you’re browsing the rows upon rows of boxes in the health aisles of your local pharmacy, the differences between evidence-based drugs and poorly researched supplements aren’t always so clear.

As Freedhoff argues in a recent post on his website, selling trendy, unproven, herbal or so-called “natural” remedies only a few feet away from the pharmacy counter gives them an air of credibility that may not be deserved. “People see pharmacies as both business and service, where their service is to provide healthy products to their customers,” Freedhoff tells Yahoo Health. Pharmacists are regularly reported to be among the most trusted health professionals, he adds. As a result, many people assume that the “natural” products available for purchase in the pharmacy section meet the approval of the pharmacist.

Most often, that assumption would be incorrect. “The pharmacists I know are mortified by the [non-evidence-based] products their pharmacies sell,” Freedhoff says, referring specifically to supplements and devices such as raspberry ketones pills and ionic technology bracelets, which have little to no research to support the benefits they advertise.

“Most of the stuff out there is a total waste of money at best, and can be outright dangerous at worst,” says weight-loss expert Charlie Seltzer, MD. “Supplements are confusing as it is, and most people, even really smart ones, do not have the knowledge to look at a package and know whether the claims are based on real science or just marketing hype,” Seltzer tells Yahoo Health.

Many hot natural products, such as the green coffee bean extract pills that are suddenly in every grocery checkout line, simply don’t have much research conducted on them. So we often don’t know the side effects these products could cause or how they react with other drugs.

That’s in stark contrast to the rigorous research that prescription and over-the-counter medications must undergo. In the U.S., pharmaceutical companies must show proof that medications are safe and effective before they can legally hit the market. But supplements don’t. Instead, the government relies on consumers to report serious adverse effects that may be due to supplement use, and only then reviews the product’s safety. (For more on the distinction between drugs and supplements, the FDA website offers a helpful FAQ page.)

To make smart decisions about the dizzying array of options on pharmacy shelves, experts offer these tips:

Don’t assume that something is safe just because it claims to be natural. “Plenty of ‘natural’ mushrooms grow in my front yard that I wouldn’t want to eat,” Freedhoff quips. 

Know that not all doctors and pharmacists are supplement experts. “Much of what we learned in medical school about supplements was incorrect anyway regarding efficacy and safety,” Seltzer says.

Before you take a controversial new herbal product, Seltzer recommends, talk with a health professional who specializes in the condition that you are trying to treat. He or she will have the expertise to let you know if the compound in question could possibly help your problem, and can offer alternate or additional solutions.

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