Nutrition and Lifestyle

It's World Organic Month. It's also Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Sepsis Awareness Month. (1) You'll be forgiven if you don't know all that. With only 12 months in a year and an infinite number of causes there is going to be some crowding. But suicide, cancer and sepsis are all real things, and that is where they are distinguished from organic food, which attributes any number of otherworldly powers to food grown and manufactured using their particular process.

One supernatural belief is that organic food will "detoxify" you. I was intrigued by the recent claims of Geeta Sidhu-Robb, who bills herself an inspirational mother of three (as opposed to you other non-inspirational mothers of three, and certainly not you...

Children's nutrition is, of course, important for healthy growth and development, thus the concern about what they're eating at home, at school, virtually everywhere. One common assumption is that what kids bring from home is going to be better than or as good as, for example, what they eat in school lunch programs. A recent story in the British press suggests that isn't always (maybe often?) correct. 

The article cites a survey from Leeds University that examined the contents of several hundred home-packed lunches found that only 2 percent of them met all the British nutrition standards. For example, fewer than 20 percent met the standards for energy, vitamin A or...

Hard-boiled eggs (Credit: Shutterstock)

Boiling an egg is useful. It kills bacteria, such as Salmonella, which may be on or even inside the egg. Heat treatment also triggers chemical reactions (specifically, protein crosslinking) that convert the egg into a gel, which makes it tastier and far easier to eat.

However, these same chemical reactions can also cause heated eggs to smell like farts. (This is particularly true of hard-boiled eggs.) A major protein inside the egg, called ovalbumin, possesses the sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine. When heated, these sulfur atoms are converted to hydrogen sulfide, the nasty gas associated with rotten eggs and bodily functions. It doesn't take much to wrinkle our noses....

We here at the council enjoy debunking health fads. We especially enjoy debunking — in both print and video — weight loss fads. In fact, just last week I debunked one of the hottest trends in weight loss: body wraps. I don't know why this is, but something about selling unrealistic goals to vulnerable consumers for financial gain that only benefits the person at the top of the pyramid scheme really irks me. 

Enter hypnosis for weight loss. While driving to work the other day, a radio commercial came on about an upcoming seminar for hypnotism to help you lose weight. "Hypnosis helped me shed the pounds and keep them off," exclaimed one testimonial. "The seminars work! I didn't even have to...

We all know aerobic exercise (e.g. running, swimming, walking briskly) is good for the heart, and apparently it's also good for the brain. Of course, if one neglects to keep up with the activity, fitness declines. Dr. J. Carson Smith from the University of Maryland in College Park and colleagues wanted to know what happens to the brains of older folks who exercised vigorously and often if they stopped exercising. The report of their study was published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. In particular, they investigated what would happen to the blood flow to two parts of the brain — the overall cerebrum (controls voluntary actions, emotions, etc.) and the hippocampus (area under...

When it comes to picking produce at the grocery store, don't judge a book by its cover! Spotted fruits and veggies aren't spoiled or harmful — they've simply been through a lot, and they need a little TLC.

 

 

Folate, the B vitamin, protects against malformations of the central nervous system early in pregnancy — if the pregnant woman has enough in her system. In the U.S., fortification of enriched cereal grain products has been mandated since 1998. Since that time, the incidence of so-called neural tube defects has indeed decreased. Canada also mandated folate fortification for the same reasons in 1998, and a new study in Circulation indicates that such fortification benefits babies' hearts as well as their nervous systems.

Dr. Shiliang Liu, from the Public Health Agency of Canada, in Ottawa, ON, Canada and colleagues analyzed records of nearly 6 million live births, stillbirths and late pregnancy...

The Brookings Institute released a report on the significant but unheralded role of the school principal in determining the diet children receive while in school. They cite three prior studies:

  • Universal Free Breakfast – which concluded “… the policy resulted in small increases in breakfast participation … We find limited evidence of policy impacts on academic outcomes.
  • ...

Okay, folks, we've seen this before in various forms, and now we're experiencing it once again. It has all the right buzzwords from devotees, like "detoxify" and "rejuvenation" and "cleansing," and a celebrity set hopping on board. That means it's time for the level-headed among us to tap their inner skepticism before the purveyors of cool have us all bamboozled and reaching for our wallets.

This time the miracle cure talk involves saunas, or more precisely, a "better, healthier" way to sauna that aids sleep, clears skin and provides improved stress relief. Hollywood's fit and fabulous say that instead of being heated from the outside you can be cooked from within -- sort of.

Say hello to the infrared sauna, coming to an overpriced salon near you. And then say goodbye (...

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) today released a summary of its report on the likelihood that excess body fat is linked to cancer. IARC is the cancer agency of the World Health Organization.

The summary is published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Led by Dr. Béatrice Lauby-Secretan, the IARC Handbook Working Group evaluated the current research findings linking excess fatness (overweight status and obesity) to various types of cancer.

They primarily included epidemiological data on 1000 human studies and also some animal studies. Most of the human studies were...