FOOD BITES: OCTOBER 2017

U.S. Obesity Rates Begin to Level

After years of increasing, adult obesity rates remained stable in 45 states from 2015 to 2016, according to a new report from the Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit health advocacy organization, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic organization that funds health research.

….FULL ARTICLE

FOOD BITES: SEPTEMBER 2017

Tomatoes No Longer Considered ‘Poison Apples’

Originating in Mesoamerica, tomatoes were part of the Aztecs’ diet as early as 700 A.D., but they weren’t grown in Britain until the 1590s. First arriving in southern Europe in the early 16th century via Spanish conquistadors returning from Mesoamerica, the tomato was considered a “poison apple”

….FULL ARTICLE

FOOD BITES: AUGUST 2017

Lead Found in Baby Food

Detectable levels of lead were found in 20 percent of 2,164 baby food samples. Analyzing 11 years of federal data, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) found the toxic metal most commonly in fruit juices, root vegetables and teething biscuits and cookies.

….FULL ARTICLE

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FOOD BITES: JUNE 2017

Diet Soda Can Cause Weight Gain

Diet sodas with aspartame can boost the appetite, said a study published in the International Journal of Obesity last December. The researchers found people who consumed diet drinks with aspartame felt hungrier than those who did not, and thus ended up consuming more calories. They additionally found, as previous research had, that aspartame can lead to a condition known as metabolic syndrome, which involves a cluster of symptoms such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and large waist size. The effects were the same when study participants used artificial sweeteners in tea and coffee. Other studies with mice have shown artificial sweeteners could cause people to absorb more glucose.


Sugar: Reduced Memory, Brain Volume

The sugar-brain connection is no longer a theory, according to a pair of research papers. Too much sugar in the diet is linked to cognitive and brain deficits, said the studies that derived data from the long-running Framingham Heart Study. One study showed sugary drinks are linked to pre-clinical Alzheimer’s disease, with poor memory and reduced brain volume in certain areas. The other study found artificial sweeteners aren’t much better because they are linked to a greater risk of stroke and dementia. The first study from the Boston University School of Medicine followed more than 4,200 people who were periodically tested for memory and cognition. The researchers performed MRI brain scans

on them to measure volume. The participants filled out questionnaires about their food intake, including sugary drinks, both sodas and fruit juices. Sugary drinks are a great way to study the effects of excess sugar since they have almost no redeeming nutritional qualities, such as protein or fiber to slow their absorption; their sugar performs like a straight drug into the system. The researchers found those who consumed more sweetened drinks had poorer memory and reduced overall brain volume – particularly in the hippocampus area that is known to store short-term memory – compared to those who did not imbibe sugary drinks. The authors calculated having one to two sugary drinks per day was associated with 1.6 years of brain aging; more than two drinks per day was associated with two extra years of aging. For memory, the association was even more pronounced: More than two sugary drinks per day corresponded to 11 years of brain aging. The other study wanted to see if there was a link between sugary drink consumption and artificially sweetened drink consumption with dementia and stroke. There was a link between artificially sweetened drink consumption and both types of brain disease. Participants who drank at least one artificially sweetened drink per day were three times as likely to develop stroke and almost three times as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.


Table Salt vs. Kosher Salt  

Salt is salt is salt at the end of a day when it comes to flavor – but measurement is where it matters. Kosher salt is thicker and flakier than table salt, which is finer and more uniform in shape. If a recipe calls for a certain amount of kosher salt, can you replace it with table salt? Yes, but you must be mindful of the amount you use. For instance, one quarter cup of kosher salt weighs 39 grams. The same amount of table salt weighs a whopping 76 grams – nearly twice as much. So if a recipe calls for kosher salt and you’re using a different salt, just season to taste as you go along. The only time the measurement difference will matter is when it’s for something you cannot taste as you are cooking, such as a brine or marinade. In these instances, be mindful of the type of salt called for and adjust accordingly if you use a different type of salt.

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

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