Nutrition and Lifestyle

Coming up before you know it will be the perfect opportunities for holiday toasts. But what should we toast with? Diet cola just doesn't seem appropriate when there are some really traditional holiday drinks available — e.g. eggnog and champagne. Assuming only one will do, on what basis should one choose? Both contain at least some alcohol, so a designated driver could be useful in either case. Maybe we should anticipate the post-New Year's resolution to lose weight, in which case calories certainly count. Here's an ingredient list  and a calorie count for a classic bowl of eggnog:

Ingredients...

I'm concerned about Santa. I really am. Think of it, he's wriggling down chimneys all over the world, toting his bag of toys, and in gratitude people are leaving snacks for him under the tree. Nothing wrong with that, of course. The problem is that the snacks are traditionally cookies and milk. This could be a serious health issue. At the suggestion of Dr. Jamie Wells, ACSH medical director, I considered this aspect of Santa's annual trek, and wish to make some other suggestions.

Even though, as Dr. Wells reports, Santa is in good health and ready to perform his yearly tasks, (and of course he's immortal), still, the annual cookies binge disturbs me. Surely we can do better than...

Elderly people are constant targets. From fearmongering politicians who want votes to scam artists who want money, unscrupulous people try to scare our parents and grandparents into giving them money. 

Perhaps there is no better way to shake people down for cash than by frightening them about their health. Peddlers of organic food and alternative medicine, both multibillion-dollar industries, have profited handsomely by undermining public confidence in the safety of our food supply and the efficacy of modern medicine. 

The dietary supplement industry benefits from this, as well, to the tune of $5.7 billion. The dirty little secret about multivitamins is...

As with many other foods, egg purveyors present a variety of eggs (and we still mean only those produced by chickens) for consumers to choose from. So many, in fact, that one is likely to be confused by the labels — what's the difference between brown eggs and white, or between free-range and cage-free eggs? Or is there one? To demystify the labeling of these sources of complete protein and other nutrients, we searched the website of the Egg Nutrition Center to try to make some sense out of the egg marketplace. We've done this before, but in the year or so since then, even more categories have been added. Some...

Just happened to stumble across a website that REALLY doesn't like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). So much so that celestialhealing.net (1) takes the trouble of listing more than 300 foods that contain the stuff. But they leave out, intentionally perhaps (?) one, because it is universally portrayed as nature's magical remedy, which is good for whatever ails you—honey.

Honey does not technically contain HFCS, but, as you will see, it makes little difference. First, let's take a look at the oft-demonized HFSC.

The HFCS that is used as a substitute for sugar in soda is HFCS-55. Let's take a look at it. Unlike sucrose (cane sugar), HFCS-55 does not contain equal amounts of fructose and...

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines were born of good intentions. They were created to make Americans healthier.

The guidelines, however, were not inscribed on stone tablets and handed to mankind. Instead, they are the result of a bureaucratic process and, as such, are susceptible to dubious conclusions and adverse influence by activist groups.

In 2015, journalist Nina Teicholz conducted an investigation, published in BMJ, that criticized the dietary guidelines for being based on "weak scientific standards" and "vulnerable to internal bias as well as outside agendas." 

For instance, the guidelines recommend against saturated fat, which is commonly believed to cause cardiovascular disease. But...

For years now, we've been writing about and assessing the importance to Americans' nutrition from organic foods (not very) and genetically modified (GMO) or genetically engineered foods (potentially highly). Based on comments from our own website and journalists' reports in the popular media, it's been hard to tell what people (except for activists pro and con) really think. Nearly two years ago we noted how different the assessments of scientists and non-scientist consumers were with respect to GMO foods, for example. Thus it's instructive to examine a recent report from the Pew Research Center about attitudes...

A hearty breakfast is the way to start the day, right? Maybe not so much any longer, because breakfast foods seem to be leaking into lunch and even dinner times these days. Perhaps you sleep late or work through the traditional breakfast time, but not to worry — food purveyors have your back. According to an article from the American Egg Board (we admit, perhaps a slightly biased source), at chains such as McDonald's, White Castle and Golden Corral you can get breakfast foods all...

The importance of aerobic health

Right now it's a recommendation, but what a very smart one it is.

Hats off to the American Heart Association for raising the visibility and importance of aerobic fitness, and declaring that the metric be considered a vital sign which should be monitored and measured in physical checkups administered by physicians.

The scientific statement makes it clear that exercising the heart and lungs is essential to an individual's overall health, and that those prone to inactivity are at greater risk for life-threatening conditions.

"Mounting evidence has firmly established that low levels of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) are associated with a high risk of cardiovascular disease, all-cause mortality, and mortality rates attributable to various cancers,"...

Hold on tight — the nutrition pendulum is still swinging — there is yet another report about the dangers of diet. You thought dietary fat had acquired a clean (OK, cleaner) bill of health compared to dietary sugars, but we seem to still have some anti-fat folks out there. Should we worry? Probably not, and here's why.

The report, recently published in the BMJ, is another compilation of observations from the Nurses' Health Study (73,147 women) and the Health Professionals Follow Up Study (42,635 men). These, as we've explained before, are longitudinal, observational studies that are based on self-reported food intakes. As such, they're subject to any and all errors in food recall, which would certainly lead to errors...