Tuesday, April 14, 2015

3 Ways to Tell If a ‘Natural’ Food Is Actually Good for You

 

     
  
As a nutritionist I loathe “diet” foods, meaning processed products with labels including terms like reduced fat and sugar free—and according to a recent report, consumers are with me. Shoppers are curbing their consumption of foods with “better for you” label terms like low sugar, low carb, and fortified. In fact, the data show that these kinds of products are in their sixth straight year of decline.
Part of the shift is a movement toward foods that are real, rather than altered. As a fan of natural foods and clean eating, I’m all for it. But “natural” doesn’t inherently mean healthy. Here are three key points to consider when evaluating natural products, and some pitfalls to avoid.
  
Read the ingredient list
You may be surprised to learn that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t developed a legal definition for the term natural. They allow its use if a product doesn’t contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances, but there is definitely a lot of gray area regarding the interpretation of natural. For example, carrageenan is an ingredient that can be derived from seaweed, but I bet you’ve never seen it sold at your local farmer’s market or supermarket.
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- See more at: http://www.stonehearthnewsletters.com/3-ways-to-tell-if-a-natural-food-is-actually-good-for-you/confusion/#sthash.qmRbrebM.hKRGND1s.dpuf

Just 5 days of eating fatty foods can alter how your body’s muscle processes food: Virginia Tech researchers

 

     
  
You might think that you can get away with eating fatty foods for a few days without it making any significant changes to your body. Think again. After just five days of eating a high-fat diet, the way in which the body’s muscle processes nutrients changes, which could lead to long-term problems such as weight gain, obesity, and other health issues, a new study has found.
“Most people think they can indulge in high-fat foods for a few days and get away with it,” said Matt Hulver, an associate professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “But all it takes is five days for your body’s muscle to start to protest.”
  
In an article published recently in the online version of the journal Obesity, Hulver and other Virginia Tech researchers found that the manner in which muscle metabolizes nutrients is changed in just five days of high-fat feeding. This is the first study to prove that the change happens so quickly.
“This shows that our bodies are can respond dramatically to changes in diet in a shorter time frame than we have previously thought,” said Hulver, who is the head of the department and a Fralin Life Science Institute affiliate. “If you think about it, five days is a very short time. There are plenty of times when we all eat fatty foods for a few days, be it the holidays, vacations, or other celebrations. But this research shows that those high-fat diets can change a person’s normal metabolism in a very short timeframe.”
When food is eaten, the level of glucose in the blood rises. The body’s muscle is a major clearinghouse for this glucose. It may break it down for energy, or it can store it for later use. Since muscle makes up about 30 percent of our body weight and it is such an important site for glucose metabolism, if normal metabolism is altered, it can have dire consequences on the rest of the body and can lead to health issues.
Hulver and his colleagues found that muscles’ ability to oxidize glucose after a meal is disrupted after five days of eating a high-fat diet, which could lead to the body’s inability to respond to insulin, a risk factor for the development of diabetes and other diseases.
To conduct the study, healthy college-age students were fed a fat-laden diet that included sausage biscuits, macaroni and cheese, and food loaded with butter to increase the percentage of their daily fat intake. A normal diet is made up of about 30 percent fat and students in this study had diets that were about 55 percent fat. Their overall caloric intake remained the same as it was prior to the high fat diet. Muscle samples were then collected to see how it metabolized glucose. Although the study showed the manner in which the muscle metabolized glucose was altered, the students did not gain weight or have any signs of insulin resistance.
Hulver and the team are now interested in examining how these short-term changes in the muscle can adversely affect the body in the long run and how quickly these deleterious changes in the muscle can be reversed once someone returns to a low-fat diet.
###
Hulver worked on this study with Associate Professor Brenda Davy, Professor Kevin Davy, Assistant Professor Madlyn Frisard, and Research Assistant Professor Ryan McMillan, all from the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise. Former graduate students Angela Anderson, Kimberly Haynie, Kristin Osterberg, and Nabil Boutagy also contributed.
The research was sponsored by the American Diabetes Association and the National Institutes of Health.
Source
- See more at: http://www.stonehearthnewsletters.com/just-5-days-of-eating-fatty-foods-can-alter-how-your-bodys-muscle-processes-food-virginia-tech-researchers/fat/#sthash.36XVn3E9.gwqImvM3.dpuf

Monday, April 13, 2015

Iron level is important to good health


President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Certainly, when something is feared, it is easy to become irrational about it.
Currently, a fear of iron stems from a theory proposed in 1981 by Dr. Jerome Sullivan that iron accumulation in the body increases the risk for coronary heart disease. A quarter of a century later, Sullivan's theory remains unproved, and several studies have refuted the theory.
Question: Should we fear iron?
Answer: Approximately one out of every 200 people carries a gene that can make them more susceptible to a condition called hemochromatosis, or iron overload disease. Too much iron for someone with this condition can lead to a variety of serious health problems.
In contrast to the fairly low prevalence of hemochromatosis, iron deficiency is one of the most common and serious nutrition problems in the world. Even in the U.S., the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia is reported to be as high as 29 percent among low-income women of childbearing age.
Q: How does iron deficiency affect people?
A: Iron deficiency can cause a type of anemia that reduces the capacity of blood to deliver oxygen to cells throughout the body. This results in fatigue among other possible symptoms.
Not fully appreciated is the fact that iron deficiency, even without anemia, can have serious consequences. Potential effects include sleeping problems; depression; inability to think clearly; memory and learning problems; restless legs syndrome; ridged, flattened or "spooned" fingernails; hair thinning and loss; dizziness or vertigo; abnormal heart function; decreased immune function; inability to tolerate drugs normally; reduced ability to produce thyroid hormone; etc.
Bruce Ames, a highly respected researcher from the University of California-Berkeley, has recently expressed concerns that chronically low iron status could cause many health problems throughout the body. He is particularly concerned about impaired brain function and accelerated aging processes resulting from low iron status. Interestingly, iron deficiency can cause oxidative damage to cells, and so can iron excess.
Iron deficiency is especially common in adolescent and pre-menopausal women. Due to monthly blood losses, these women have iron needs about twice those of men their age. Men also can develop iron deficiency, especially athletes with a diet short on good iron sources.
Our next column will explain daily iron needs and how to get enough from food. So, if you are not hopping like the Energizer Easter bunny, be sure to read our next article two weeks from today.


Alan Titchenal, Ph.D., C.N.S. and Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S.
are nutritionists in the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences,
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, UH-Manoa.
Dr. Dobbs also works with the University Health Service

© 2008 Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- http://starbulletin.com
http://www.nutritionatc.hawaii.edu/HO/2008/389.htm

Meditation and yoga’s mental health benefits documented in new Dutch study

 


 
  
Yoga practitioners know firsthand the physical and mental benefits the activity produces, as meditation is often embedded in yoga sessions. Now, yogis have got science to back their claims of well-being and focus, as new research shows more clearly how yoga-induced mindfulness has an impact on pain perception.
The findings come from research carried out by PhD student Tim Gard at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. He started with recent findings showing that mindfulness can attenuate pain, and set out to discover more about the underlying brain mechanisms that are involved.
  
To do that, he carried out an experiment that involved applying unpleasant electric stimuli to a group in a meditative state and to a control group with a similar healthy lifestyle, each group comprising 17 volunteers. All test subjects were in an fMRI scanner when the stimuli were applied.
The experiment produced surprising results, as it revealed that mindfulness practitioners were able to reduce pain perception by 22 percent and anticipatory anxiety by 29 percent during a mindful state.
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- See more at: http://www.stonehearthnewsletters.com/meditation-yoga-mental-health-benefits-documented-in-new-dutch-study/mental-health/#sthash.C20zAV2m.vYQfCujX.dpuf

Monday, April 6, 2015

15 Ways Exercise Makes You Look and Feel Younger

 


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The powers of a steady fitness routine are impressive: regular exercise can help you build stronger muscles, stave off chronic illnesses, and make your clothes fit a whole lot better. But there’s another benefit of physical activity that deserves a shout-out: the way even moderate amounts seem to shave years off your age, no matter how many birthdays you’ve actually celebrated.
Of course, you can’t change your chronological age, but exercise can improve your health to the point where you look and feel younger than you are, says Frank Frisch, PhD, director of kinesiology at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. Behold the 15 physical and mental effects a sweat session can have on your brain and body.
  
Just reading this list will motivate you to never blow off a gym session again.
A workout is like nature’s energy drink, firing up your brain and body so you feel more alert and alive. “Exercise puts your body in a state of arousal, which translates into more vitality and a greater sense of well being,” says Frisch. “Daily tasks become less strenuous and require less exertion.” It’s the kind of pep in your step that makes you feel like you’ve peeled off a decade or two.
More
- See more at: http://www.stonehearthnewsletters.com/15-ways-exercise-makes-you-look-and-feel-younger/benefits-exercise/#sthash.6NsQRRe8.5Ic6SVFr.dpuf

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Win A Trip to Las Vegas for Mayweather-Pacquiao


 
Enter for a chance to win a trip for two to Las Vegas and two tickets to the megafight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Manny Pacquiao on May 2 at the MGM Grand. The grand prize winner will receive two tickets to the fight, three nights of lodging on the Las Vegas strip and a $700 travel allowance per person.  
 
The second place winner will receive a $1000 equipment package from provider Sting and the third place winner will be awarded a $300 USA Boxing apparel package.
 
For just a $10 suggested donation, you can enter our sweepstakes to witness the fight of the century firsthand and support USA Boxing and the United States' best Olympic-style boxers at the same time.  
 
Though a donation is not necessary to enter and it will not improve your chances of winning, don't miss your chance to win this once in a lifetime experience. Enter now and enter often. The sweepstakes will end on April 15, 2015.
 
Click here to enter the sweepstakes. 
 
See Official Rules for details, including eligibility and entry deadlines.  Void where prohibited.  No purchase or donation is necessary to enter or win.   

Monday, March 30, 2015

17 Ways to Lose Weight When You Have No Time

 



 
  
If packing your lunch, cooking dinner every night, and getting to the gym regularly sound like things you’ll be able to do half past never, you may think that real weight loss just isn’t in the cards for you right now. It’s true: healthy weight loss can be a time commitment, especially if you’re overweight thanks to a job that keeps you sedentary for much of the day or a schedule that lends itself to fast food and unhealthy snacking.
Don’t throw in the towel just yet. You don’t need extra minutes in your day to eat less or to move more, the two basic pillars of weight loss. Here’s how to reevaluate the time you do have, and smart strategies to make dropping pounds easier, no matter how swamped you are.
  
Ditch the all-or-nothing mentality
Every small step you take toward a healthier lifestyle matters, says Jeff Katula, PhD, associate professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University. “People often think they have to spend an hour at the gym or eat a diet full of hummus and superfoods, and when they can’t attain that level they just give up and don’t even try,” he says. Instead of looking at your whole day as a success or failure, says Katula, consider every decision you make a chance to do something healthy. Just because you skipped the gym doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch your calorie intake for the rest of the day, for example. (In fact, it means the exact opposite!)
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- See more at: http://www.stonehearthnewsletters.com/17-ways-to-lose-weight-when-you-have-no-time/updates/#sthash.D7DY4CZz.WGQlPYfF.dpuf