Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Higher-fat Breakfast May Help With Weight Management

Source: ScienceDaily (Summary by NIM)

It's often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Indeed, breakfast literally puts an end to your sleep-induced fast and kick-starts your metabolism for a new day. It's important to make healthy choices at breakfast time, as it sets the agenda for the rest of the day's eating habits. Now, researchers believe that the first thing you eat in the morning determines how your body will handle metabolizing different nutrients throughout the day.

In a new study, researchers have found in mice that if they eat a carbohydrate-rich breakfast, they preferentially metabolize carbs throughout the day for use as fuel. They also found that mice fed a higher-fat breakfast tended to use more fat as fuel throughout the day. The mice who ate a higher-fat breakfast had a lighter lunch and dinner whereas the mice who had a higher-carb breakfast ate a higher-fat dinner; these mice were also bigger, had more body fat and also showed signs of metabolic syndrome. The researchers wanted to stress the fact that even though the mice ate the same foods throughout the day, the timing of these foods plays an important role in weight maintenance.

Now don't take this as a green light to devour extra bacon and butter in the a.m. Remember, there are good fats and bad fats! In sum, individuals wishing to shed some extra pounds from fat might consider consuming a slightly higher-fat breakfast by adding in some nuts or seeds or even olive oil to a bowl of oatmeal or other complex-carb and protein-containing breakfast
(Muesli is a great example of such a balanced meal) and cutting down on fats and portion sizes later in the day.

To find out more about this study, check out the article called "Bacon or Bagels? Higher Fat at Breakfast May Be Healthier Than You Think". From Science Daily (Mar. 30, 2010)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

US Healthcare Reform Makes Restaurants Post Nutritional Info

Source: AOL News (Summary by NIM)

With all the talk about the US health care reform, many people are wondering what exactly it means for them. Well, anyone associated with a chain restaurant, whether they be customers or the CEO, will most definitely be affected by section 2572 of the 2,000 page document.

This particular section requires all major chain restaurants (any chain with more than 20 outlets) to post their nutritional information for all to see. And that doesn't just mean on the main menu board, either- it's everywhere you can see it including hand-held menus, drive-through displays and even vending machines!

This has been the norm for some time now in healthy-conscious states like New York and California, but it may be an eye-opener for unsuspecting chain-restaurant patrons. According to a release last year from the National Restaurant Association, "The only way to ensure consumers get the nutrition information they want and need is for the federal government to establish a uniform national nutrition standard that requires chain restaurants to provide consistent, detailed nutrition information in writing in their restaurants,"

Even if people don't currently know the exact magnitude of the calorie content of the foods they're choosing, on the whole, I think they can usually tell the difference between something that's low-cal and high-cal. Admittedly, however, this can be confusing as some foods that are touted as 'good for us' can be high in calories and fat. Nonetheless, I'm thrilled about this new development and believe that it will likely stop more than a few people dead in their tracks before they grab their next Venti frappuccino, gigantic burrito or Mc-Artery-clogging meal!

Find out more about these new rules by reading the article called "Hidden Health Care Clause: Menu Labels Go National" from AOL News (Mar. 22, 2010).

Monday, March 29, 2010

Junk Food May Actually Be 'Addictive'

Source: Medline Plus (Summary by NIM)

These days, we often hear people say they know they should eat less but they just can't seem to do it. It seems that "food addiction" is pretty common but it may not be entirely the fault of the consumer - certain foods (think: junk food) may actually be addictive, according to a new study.

In the study, rats were given an unlimited supply of unhealthy food, and they continued to seek it out and eat it, even when they were no longer hungry and their feet were being shocked when they ate. Before their feet were shocked there was always a warning signal, but despite the pain and discomfort, the rats just kept eating and getting bigger and bigger. Then came the twist - their junk food was replaced with healthy food and they refused to eat it - for two weeks. They went on a hunger strike.

Another group of 'regular' rats were given normal, healthy food, with limited access to junk food and they only ate when they were hungry and never became obese. When the signal for the foot shock came on, the rats knew to stop eating, unlike their obese counterparts.

The researchers believe that 'rewarding foods', those that trigger the release of dopamine in our brains (just like drugs do) keep us coming back for more despite the negative effects to our health. Worse yet, the reward system may be overpowering our regular 'hunger-satiety' signals, blocking out signals of fullness and triggering compulsive eating. The only way to re-wire the brain to function normally again may be to eliminate all junk food from the diet and eat clean, kind of like a 'food rehab'.

Find out more about this fascinating discovery by reading the article called "Junk Food 'Addiction' May Be Real" from Medline Plus (Mar. 28, 2010).

Saturday, March 27, 2010

"Higher" Protein Diet Isn't Bad For Women's Bones

Source: Reuters Health (Summary by NIM)

Women who eat a lot of protein don't have to worry about a negative effect of protein on the health of their bones, a new study has found. In the past, it has been found that when meat is eaten, chemicals are produced that cause our bones to break down, but at the same time, the right amount of protein is important for bone health.

That may sound confusing to some, and it's the reason why the authors of this study wanted to do this research in the first place - to find out if there's a point where the negatives outweigh the benefits, i.e. how much is too much?

The young women participating in the study consumed between 6 and 28% of their total daily calories from protein to see if there will be negative effects on their bones at the higher or lower ends of the spectrum. Even at the higher range of the spectrum, the researchers did not find any negative effects on the participants' bone density over time.

Health Canada recommends that adults consume between 15 and 35% of our daily calories from protein for optimal health. Anything higher is considered a 'high protein' diet and is not recommended, as that will result in a lower consumption of fats and carbohydrates along with other vitamins and minerals that are found in those foods. In order to keep our bones strong and our bodies nourished, it's important to eat a variety of foods every day and avoid eating any one food group in excess!

Find out more about this study by reading the article called "High protein diet won't harm young women's bones"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New 'Low Acid' Coffee May Soon Hit Shelves!

Source: Medline Plus (Summary by NIM)

Love your morning cup of Joe but hate what it does to your stomach? Like many people, you may simply have a sensitive stomach that reacts to a combination of chemicals found in coffee. Don't worry though, you may just be in luck soon as Austrian researchers have isolated a compound that may inhibit stomach acid production during coffee drinking!

The combination of caffeine and a few other chemicals naturally found in coffee appears the be the culprit when it comes to discomfort from stomach acid production. The researchers have found, however, that another chemical produced during longer roasting periods, naturally occurring in dark roasts like espresso, actually inhibits stomach acid production. The researchers believe that by simply tweaking the processing technology and adding in this extra chemical to lighter roasts, there is the potential that all roasts could be more stomach-friendly.

These preliminary studies were done on human cells in isolation, so it is unclear as to whether the same effects will be found in clinical trials. However, other scientists believe that there is usually strength in cell studies, and there is a definite potential that the same effects will be found in human trials.

Find out more about this new brew by reading the article called "Coming Soon: A Low-Heartburn Coffee?" from Medline Plus (Mar. 22, 2010).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Choice of Dietary Fats May Moderate Endometriosis Risk in Women

Source: Reuters Health (Summary by NIM)

Consumption of omega-3 essential fatty acids in foods such as fish, oils, nuts and seeds may help prevent endometriosis in some women. The exact opposite is true when it comes to trans fats (which serve no purpose in our diets) from foods like crackers, margarine or fried foods; they may markedly increase the risk of endometriosis, according to a new study.

Endometriosis is a painful disease of the uterus whereby endometrial cells, which make up the lining, grow outside the uterus and sometimes spread to other organs like the ovaries, causing infertility.

In this new US study, it was found that the type, rather than the quantity, of dietary fats consumed had a greater impact on the risk of endometriosis. Women who consumed more omega-3 fatty acids were 22% less likely to develop the disease, whereas women who consumed more trans fats were 48% more likely to develop the disease.

According to the study's leader, Dr. Stacey Missmer of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, one reason why trans fats are so deadly is because they increase inflammatory markers in the body, which has been connected to the onset and progression of endometriosis.

If women can make one simple change to their diets that could improve their health on so many levels, including potentially preventing endometriosis, it's by swapping those deadly trans fats for heart healthy and overall well-being promoting omega-3 essential fatty acids!

Find out more about this study by reading the article called "Trans fats may promote endometriosis" from Reuters Health (Mar. 24, 2010).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pepsi Plans to Cut Sugar, Salt and Fat

Source: Reuters Health (Summary by NIM)

And we have another one! You remember last week we told you that Kraft is cutting down on the amount of salt the use in their products - well now PepsiCo, makers of Fritolay and Quaker products, are planning to reduce the amount of sugar, salt and saturated fats in their products in the next ten years.

Pepsi plans to cut salt by 25% by 2015, saturated fat by 15% by 2020 and sugar by 25% by 2020. Again, it all sounds fantastic on paper, but do they really need ten years to do this? Sugar, salt and fat aka the deadly trifecta of the food industry have been proven to be killers in the long haul, if not kept in check. Check out this amazing video by Dr. David Kessler, former commissioner of the FDA and the author of the best-selling book The End of Overeating (which specifically talks about how sugar, salt and fat control our brains!).

At the very least, PepsiCo has promised to stop selling full-sugar soft drinks in schools on a global scale by 2012. According to PepsiCo chairman and CEO, Indra Nooyi, "We believe that a healthier future for all people and our planet means a more successful future for PepsiCo,".

Find out more by reading the article called "Pepsi to cut salt, sugar and saturated fats" from Reuters Health (Mar. 21, 2010)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ellen Pompeo Slims Down After Baby

Source: AOL Health (Summary by NIM)

Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo looks better than ever, and you'd never know she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Stella, only 6 months ago!

Pompeo, who plays Meredith Grey on the hit TV show says she gained 26 lbs during her pregnancy and is currently 10 lbs heavier than her highest weight, but she feels happier and healthier then before. Pompeo says she was never concerned about her weight, but others used to think she was too thin, so she was happy to go up a pants size to ensure the health of her baby.

In order to maintain good health post-pregnancy, Pompeo devotes one day a week to preparing and storing her lunch ingredients for the week so that they're easily accessible and lunches are quick to put together. She hard-boils her eggs, parboils her beets and chops and slices all her veggies and other ingredients so that all she has to do is throw on some chick peas or goat cheese and she's good to go any day of the week.

It's important to note that moms should never restrict calories post-pregnancy, in fact the body requires even more calories after delivering the baby than during the actual pregnancy! That's right - milk production and breast feeding burns anywhere from 200-500 calories per day, or about a pound per week, so moms naturally slim down in no time (Breastfeeding is actually the best way to get your body back into its pre-pregnancy state).

Dieting or restricting calories can result in a decrease in milk production or quality by missing key nutrients, negatively impacting the baby's growth and development. The baby's nutrition should come first above all, so it's important to consume enough energy and all the right nutrients, including protein for tissue healing and recovery, fats for fetal brain development and vitamins and minerals in order to maintain both baby and mom's health.

Find out more about Pompeo's post-baby experience by reading the article called "
Ellen Pompeo's Post-Pregnancy Diet" from AOL Health (Mar. 19, 2010)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Calorie-Free Chocolate and Coffee? Introducing: 'Le Whif'

Source: Daily Mail Online (Summary by NIM)

Chocoholics, your days of feeling guilty about indulging in the food of the gods is over! Now you can literally inhale that chocolate without consuming any calories at all! Same goes to you, coffee lovers!

Developed by Professor David Edwards at Harvard University, Le Whif is an aerosol powder that you inhale, fooling your brain and giving you the sensation of having consumed your favourite treat without actually eating anything. The inhaled particles in Le Whif enter into your mouth and fall on your tongue so you taste them, but they're too large to enter the lungs and cause any harm.

Le Whif has just come out with a new coffee flavour which actually contains the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, so you get a real jolt to boot! According to Edwards, 'Le Whif first offered the taste of chocolate without the calories, and now it offers the kick of coffee without the cup,'

Le Whif canisters now come in four flavours: pure chocolate, raspberry chocolate, mint chocolate and coffee. At it's introduction last year, the chocolate flavour sold out before many eager consumers could get their hands on any.

Find out more about Le Whif by reading the article "Le Whif: the calorie-free aerosol that lets you 'inhale' a cup of coffee (without the cup)" from the Daily Mail (Mar. 16 2010).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kraft On Board to Slash Sodium Levels by 2012

Source: Reuters Health (Summary by NIM)

With a wide variety of foods bearing their label, many of which are quite high in sodium, including Oreos, Triscuits, Cheez Bites and Lunchables, Kraft has vowed to cut the sodium levels in their North American products by an average of 10% over the next two years.

Kraft is joining the ranks of other brands like Campbell's, who have recognized the health and public concern over sodium levels and have taken a stand. Whether the 'adjusted' levels of sodium will really be that much lower or healthier for the general public is another issue, but at least these brands are taking a social responsibility (as well as improving their public image and perhaps boosting sales?).

Rhonda Jordan, President, Health & Wellness, Kraft Foods put it nicely - "We are reducing sodium because it's good for consumers, and, if done properly, it's good for business,". "A growing number of consumers are concerned about their sodium intake and we want to help them translate their intentions into actions."

Kraft has said that they intend to cut out more than 10 million pounds, or more than 750 million teaspoons of salt from some of their products. Though difficult to conceptualize, it sure sounds like a lot! A sodium reduction of 10% still may not be quite enough in some instances, but surely it's a good start!

Find out more by reading the article called "Kraft to cut sodium levels in food products" from Reuters Health, and check out the press release from Kraft here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Get Your Vitamin D and Keep Your Heart Healthy

Source: Medline Plus (Summary by NIM)

Yup, vitamin D is making headlines again! This 'sunshine' vitamin is one of the most critical, crucial nutrients in our diets, but it's also one that many of us are deficient in most of the year. As Canadians, it is simply not possible to produce vitamin D from sun exposure for a whopping 6 months of the year, highlighting the need for supplementation. The question that remains is how much should we be taking? New research may add to a growing body of evidence seeking to answer that question.

In the new study, participants to supplemented their Vitamin D intake reduced their rates of diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, high blood pressure and heart disease. They were also less likely to die during the study period. The researchers suggest that individuals should consume between 1,000 and 5,000IU of vitamin D per day, boosting their blood vitamin D concentrations to those higher than considered 'normal'.

Most modern research suggests that for adults, 1,000IU per day is required for optimal health. This, however, is not reflected in the DRI for Canadians, which was set back in 1997 and assumed adequate sunlight exposure.

Find out more about this study and vitamin D by reading the article called "
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good" at Medline Plus (Mar. 15, 2010).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Woman Strives to be World's Fattest

Source: The Daily Mail (Summary by NIM)

To say that she has an 'unusual' goal in mind is putting it lightly. Currently weighing in at 600lbs and wearing XXXXXXXL dresses, Donna Simpson's biggest wish is to weigh 1000lbs, making her the world's fattest woman.

Ms. Simpson currently holds the Guinness world record for being the world's fattest mom - she weighed 520 lbs when she gave birth to her daughter, making her the largest woman on record ever to give birth. It might be her daughter, however, that is preventing her from reaching her goal - Simpson has said that tending to a 3 year old is keeping her weight down, and she'd really just like to move around as little as possible (Funny, since she can't walk more than 20ft before needing to use her mobility scooter). To compensate for all her 'physical activity', Simpson eats whole cakes, bags of donuts and 70 pieces of sushi at a time, making her daily caloric intake around 12,000 calories, or more than 6 times that of the average woman.

Despite the risk to her own life and the responsibility of having two children, Donna insists she's not harming anyone; she loves eating and people "just love" watching her eat.

Find out more about this woman's quest by reading the article called "The super-sized 43st mother who is determined to become the world's fattest woman"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Humans May Have a Sixth Taste : Fat

Source: Science Daily (Summary by NIM)

Most of us know that our tongues can detect five distinct 'tastes': sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. Even when umami was 'discovered' as a taste, it was debated as to whether or not it was truly distinct from the rest, but it has ultimately been accepted as one. Now, in a new paper published in the British Journal of Nutrition, scientists out of Australia claim they've found one more 'taste' to add to the bunch - fat.

Yes, as odd as it seems, researchers believe that 'fat' may be a sixth taste that not everyone can detect to the same degree. The good news, however, is that the lucky few who can detect the fat taste the most may be leaner than the rest. The researchers found that individuals who were highly sensitive to the taste tended to avoid or eat less fatty foods, had lower BMI's and were less likely to be obese than others.

Using a range of fatty acids in testing, it was found that individuals were able to detect them, but at various thresholds - some people were more sensitive and others less so. As with salt and sugar, the researchers believe that our ability to detect fat has gotten out of whack, and we have become desensitized to high fat contents in foods. They hope that future research can elucidate what determines fat sensitivity, which many be helpful in battling the obesity epidemic.

Find out more about this study by reading the article "Discovery of 'Fat' Taste Could Hold the Key to Reducing Obesity" from Science Daily (Mar. 10, 2010).

Friday, March 12, 2010

Get More Calcium and Live Longer: Study

Source: Reuters Health (Summary by NIM)

Calcium: most people know it keeps their bones strong, but it's also vital for muscle contractions, the release of neurotransmitters and it keeps your heart pumping. And according to a new study, higher intakes of calcium may quite simply help you live longer.

In a new study out of Sweden, it was found that men who consumed the most calcium, upwards of 2,000mg per day, had a 25% lower risk of dying than their lower-calcium intake counterparts. The current RDA for calcium is 1,000mg - which is precisely the amount considered 'low' in this study, leading the researchers to conclude that "Intake of calcium above that recommended daily may reduce all-cause mortality,".

The researchers have stated that calcium could reduce the risk of dying in a number of ways, including by reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar levels. For the men in the study, the main sources of calcium in the diet were milk and milk products and cereal products.

Dairy is the gold standard when it comes to calcium, since it contains various factors that aid in the absorption of calcium, and it's very low in calories for the amount of calcium you get. The amount of calcium in a cup of whole almonds, 378 milligrams, is slightly more than in a cup of milk, about 300 milligrams, but you would be consuming about eight times as many calories.

Not everyone can tolerate dairy the same way though; many of us are lactose-intolerant and others abstain from consuming dairy for various reasons. Overall, however, there's really no excuse for a low calcium intake considering the many available sources, such as seaweeds like kelp, wakame and hijiki; nuts and seeds (like almonds and sesame); blackstrap molasses, beans, oranges, figs, quinoa, amaranth, collard greens, okra, rutabaga, broccoli, dandelion leaves, kale, and fortified products such as orange juice and soy milk.

Find out more about this study and calcium by reading the article called "Calcium may help you live longer: study" From Reuters Health (Mar. 11, 2010).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Could Hooping Be the Next Fitness Craze?

Source: The New York Times (Summary by NIM)

Exercise trends come and go but few are lucky enough to garner the backing of celebrity spokespeople. That said, hooping must be something special if celebs like Oscar winner Marisa Tomei and Michelle Obama are on board.

Mind you, this isn't your childhood hula hoop we're talking about - it's a weighted, adult-sized hoop that can be used on any part of the body to offer a muscle-toning and fat-blasting workout. In fact, Marisa Tomei loved it so much the first time she did it, she was hooked and is now making a fitness video all about hooping! “You just can’t help but laugh and smile when you’re hooping,” she said.

Some exercise physiologists are skeptical about hooping, stating that it probably won't be a hit in classes, since spacing is key and giant hoops can certainly be awkward if there are many of them being flung around in a room. But hooping instructors disagree, saying that a lot of hooping students want to do it for the exercise, but they also like the playfulness of it. Who knows - I guess only time will tell when it comes to this (somewhat) new trend!

Find out more about Marisa Tomei and Hooping by reading the article called "Hooping Already Has Its Own Jane Fonda" from the New York Times (Mar. 9, 2010).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Drink a Day May Help With Weight Control: Study

Source: The Globe and Mail (Summary by NIM)

A drink a day - does it keep the doctor away? Perhaps not, but it might help with keeping the numbers on the scale at bay. As the seemingly never ending debate regarding alcohol and health rages on, we have another study touting the benefits of a drink a day, but this time, in terms of weight control.

According to researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, one to two drinks per day may help women control their weight better than those who abstain from drinking all together. The study included 19,220 women age 39 or older with a body mass index in the normal range whose weights and drinking habits were monitored over a period of 13 years.

During the span of the study, the overall trend was that all women gained some weight, however those who never drank ended up gaining the most weight of all. Moderate drinkers gained the least weight. Red wine seemed to have the most beneficial effect in terms of slowing the rate of weight gain.

David Lau, president of Obesity Canada, says we should take these findings with a grain of salt:“It’s more of an association rather than a link to the mechanism whereby alcohol might actually bring about differences in energy balance,”

Find out more about the details of this study in the article called "A drink a day could help keep the pounds away" from the Globe and Mail (Mar. 9, 2010).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Steer Clear of Processed Meats for a Healthier Heart

Source: Medline Plus (Summary by NIM)

As so much research has found a link between red meat consumption and a number of health conditions and diseases, many of us steer clear of it all together. But now, according to new findings from Harvard, it may be processed meat that we have to limit or avoid, rather than all red meat.

In the study, processed meats were defined as those that were smoked, cured or preserved in any way. Unprocessed meats, on the other hand, were defined as those like hamburger meat or steak. The lead researcher of the study said "To lower risk of heart attacks and diabetes, people should avoid eating too much processed meats -- for example, hot dogs, bacon, sausage or processed deli meats,".

The study's findings suggest that having one serving of processed meats per week is only associated with a small risk of heart disease or diabetes, so it's not something to worry too much over. The best thing to do, according to one Registered Dietitian,
is to limit, not entirely restrict, our consumption of foods such as bacon, hot dogs, salami and pepperoni in order to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Ultimately, additional research is needed to figure out what component of processed meats contributes to it's negative effects on health.

Find out more about this study by reading the article called "
Processed Meat May Harm the Heart" from Medline Plus (Mar. 7, 2010)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Write to Win 5 Days of NIM Meals!

Don't forget that our write to win contest is open for two more weeks! So far it's a close competition!! We look forward to reading more posts.

Focus on Eating Plants to Cut Cancer Risk

Source: Reuters Health (Summary by NIM)

Soy lovers rejoice! New research suggests that diets with a greater focus on plant foods may significantly cut the risk of developing cancer.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, diets high in fruits, vegetables and legumes like soy can cut the risk of breast cancer in women by 30%. The study took place in Singapore where this pattern of eating is common, but the researchers have stated that it's really not all that different from an 'American-style' of eating.

In the study, the women were divided into two groups, the first consumed a lot more meat, whereas the second consumed a diet filled with cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and bok choy. It was found that the more vegetables, fruits and soy that was consumed, the lower the breast cancer risk among post-menopausal women was. According to one of the researchers, "Eating a diverse diet that can be characterized as having a lot of fruits and vegetables, and possibly adding soy also, would be beneficial,"

Find out more about this study and it's findings by reading the article called "Plant-focused diet may curb breast cancer risk" from Reuters Health (Mar. 4, 2010)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Whole Grains Can Cut Diabetes Risk

Source: Medline Plus (Summary by NIM)

Lucky for us, whole grains have been garnering a ton of attention in the past few years. It's not only due to their high fibre and vitamin and mineral content, but also due to the unequivocal health benefits that they provide us with. A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston has shown that simply switching from white rice to brown rice can cut your risk of type-2 diabetes by 16%, but switching to whole grains overall can reduce the risk by up to 36%.

There are actually 3 parts to grains - the outer husk which is high in B vitamins and is the main source of dietary fibre, the endosperm, or interior packed with carbohydrates and protein, and the germ, the tiniest part of the grain, making up only about 2% of it's weight but containing heart-healthy essential fatty acids like Omega-3's and just about every vitamin, mineral and amino acid you can name. It's also a great source of vitamin E.

To better put things into perspective, white flour only contain the endosperm, whole wheat flour contains the endosperm and husk, and whole-grain flour contains all parts of the grain. So you may be thinking fibre and vitamins aren't a concern if you buy 'fortified' white breads or pastas like 'Catelli Smart', and you may be right to an extent - it's true that those products are better than their 'regular white' counterparts. But despite fortification efforts on the part of food scientists, you are ultimately paying a premium for an engineered product designed to mimic an already existing, healthier and more nutritious alternative - whole grains! Choose whole grains more often, whenever you can in order to obtain their incredible nutrition and health benefits.

Find out more about the above study by reading the article called "Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk" from Medline Plus (Mar. 3, 2010) and check out these tips and tricks from Canada's Food Guide.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

What Diet is Best For You? Genetic Testing May Help You Pick

Source: Reuters Health (Summary by NIM)

With a multitude of diets out there, it can be confusing and difficult to choose the best one for you. Well, if you really want to know what the 'perfect' diet for you is (and you have some extra cash kicking around) why not let genetic testing give you the answer?

In a report from Interleukin Genetics Inc. released this week, being on the 'appropriate' diet for you can help you lose even more weight than any other diet. The researchers have based these findings on a small study of 150 individuals who showed these results after genetic screening, and adopting the 'best' diet for their genetic makeup. In a year, individuals on their 'genetically appropriate' diet lost an average of 5.3% body weight whereas those on 'mismatched' diets lost 2.3% - not a huge difference, but perhaps significant to some.

Going for around $150, the test looks for a mutation in three specific genes related to metabolism. According to one of the researchers in the study, "The potential of using genetic information to achieve this magnitude of weight loss without pharmaceutical intervention would be important in helping to solve the pervasive problem of excessive weight in our society,".

To me, this just seems like a waste of time - the only way to truly lose weight and be healthy for life is to make an entire lifestyle change, not to go "on" a crash diet (what happens when you come "off"?). The key is to reduce calories while maintaining the appropriate ratios of proteins, carbohydrates and fats in order to maintain good health, a strong immune system and optimal performance in daily activities.

Find out more about this new test by reading the article called "New gene test may help you pick your diet: report" from Reuters Health (Mar. 3, 2010).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Test Suggests Garlic has Anti-Cancer Properties

Source: Science Daily (Summary by NIM)

Although garlic may not actually ward off vampires, it's certain to deliver a bold, exciting punch of flavour to any recipe. What's more - it may also protect against heart disease and has been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity.

Garlic contains antioxidants called thiosulfinates, which scavenge for free radicals, preventing their ability to damage cells and cellular processes. Thanks to a new pilot study, we may have more evidence that garlic consumption may curb the ability of carcinogens within our bodies to cause cancer.

In the new study, urine markers were used to detect the presence of known carcinogens as well as for the level of garlic consumed. It was found that with increasing levels of garlic consumption, there was a lesser presence of the carcinogen in the urine. According to the senior researcher of the study from Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center, "Our results showed that those were inversely related to one another -- meaning that the more we had the marker for garlic consumption, the less there was of the marker for the risk of cancer."

To find out more about the study, check out the article called "New Testing Method Hints at Garlic's Cancer-Fighting Potential" from Science Daily (Mar. 2, 2010).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Drinking Coffee May Lower Diabetes, Stroke Risks: Study

Source: Health Day (Summary by NIM)

Coffee: To drink it or not to drink it? Most people do drink coffee, but if you ask them if it's good for them, they will probably think not. Rest assured, though, coffee drinkers - it isn't bad for you in moderation, and studies show time and time again that there are indeed be health benefits to drinking your daily cup of Joe.

According to a new study of 23,000 men and women who were followed for an average of 12 years, drinking any amount of coffee each day reduced stroke risk by 27% compared with those individuals who never drank it. One key point to note was that drinking 'more' coffee was not better - there was no increased benefit with additional cups consumed. Another piece of good news for those of you who get too jittery from caffeine - the reduced risk was "irrespective of the type of coffee consumed, caffeinated, decaffeinated, instant or ground,". Go for a cup of decaf and it'll protect you just the same. The researchers aren't clear on what gives coffee it's protective benefits, and agree that more studies need to be conducted in future. Previous studies have found that coffee may also be protective against type 2 diabetes.

Most experts agree that caffeine - whether it's from coffee, green tea or other sources - is good for you in moderation and has many proven health and performance benefits. If you're curious to know how much is safe - keep in mind that almost everyone metabolizes caffeine a little differently - as long as you're not shaky or jittery and caffeine continues to have an effect on you (still wakes you up etc.) you're probably fine. If a cup of Joe or two no longer gives you a boost - try switching to tea or abstaining for a week to 're-set' your tolerance.

Find out more about this study by reading the article called "
Coffee Drinking May Lower Stroke Risk" from Health Day (Feb. 25, 2010).

Monday, March 1, 2010

Kelly Osbourne Drops 42 Lbs, Now a Size 2

Source: AOL Health, The Daily Mail (Summary by NIM)

When you think of Kelly Osbourne it's not likely you envision a healthy, dainty, size-2 beauty, but that's what she's become in the past few months. Following a stint on the hit show 'Dancing with the Stars', Kelly has shrunk from a size 14 to a size 2 by adopting a healthier lifestyle complete with different forms of exercise and eating right.

In the past, Kelly has dealt with drug addiction, checked into rehab more than once, and turned to food for comfort. Her new comfort appears to be exercise - according to her, "it's addictive". In addition to taking long hikes through the California hills, Kelly has also adopted the "Bar Method", which is a 'ballet-meets-yoga-meets- Pilates class, which she attends 3 times per week for an hour. "Pilates is amazing, my posture is so much better and I'm even starting to get muscles on my tummy - it's incredible,' she has said.

Kelly chooses a to eat a lower-carb diet including egg whites, lean meats like turkey, chick peas, fruits and vegetables and low-fat cheese. You won't find Kelly on the Atkins diet, though - she said "I tried the Atkins Diet but you had to eat so much meat and cheese, I hated it. No vegetables. I felt dirty when I ate like that.". Another secret to Kelly's weight loss is to keep her metabolism humming at all times. She even nibbles on something small that won't spike her blood sugar (Low GI) before going to bed!

Find out more about Kelly's incredible transformation by checking out AOL Health and The Daily Mail's articles.