пятница, 26 ноября 2010 г.

Vitamin Water Not a Healthy Option

A federal judge has ruled that the case against Coca-Cola will go forward for false advertising of its brand “Vitamin Water,” touted as a healthy alternative to water. However, if consumers would read labels, perhaps they would not have been deceived.
According to the label, a 20 ounce bottle of grape-flavored Vitamin Water, it contains a total of 125 calories and 13 grams of sugar. This means that the “vitamin water” is no more than a non-carbonated soda and soda is not a healthy alternative to water.
In order to use the term “healthy” a product needs to contain a certain level of specific ingredients, including vitamins, protein and fiber, etc. The statement issued by the plaintiffs’ attorneys reads “Vitaminwater… [is] providing unnecessary sugar and contributing to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases.”
What remains to be seen is if the lawsuit will be successful. While the name of the product and other information on the bottle may have mislead consumers, the nutrition label on the bottle contained all the information a drinker would need to know that it was not the healthiest option out there.
According to an Emaxhealth report, consumers are not interested in the labels. In the report, the consumers were asked if they would want nutrition labels at restaurants and the majority of respondents were not interested. That leads to the question: who’s really to blame?
If companies provide the nutritional information of products, listing all ingredients and amounts, and consumers do not read that information, do they not take some of the blame themselves? Or perhaps should there be more of an effort to educate consumers on what that information even means?
For instance, you read that the drink has 13 grams of carbohydrates in it. How much sugar is that? How good or bad is that? Well, some doctors recommend a simple trick: divide the number of grams of carbohydrates in a product by 4 and that will equal how many teaspoons of sugar it produces. This means for every bottle of Vitaminwater, you are consuming three teaspoons of sugar. Oh but wait! That’s just per serving. In each bottle of Vitaminwater, there are two servings. So that is SIX spoonfuls of sugar for every 20 ounce bottle of Vitaminwater.
There are websites out there that can teach you about nutrition labels and what the information really means. There are even videos for those that visually-minded. However, the best comes from the Mayo Clinic. Users can click here for an interactive guide. If you move your mouse over certain areas of a sample nutrition label, you will receive additional information, including a color-coded guide for what to avoid and what to get more of. With tools like these, there is now an easier way to make good health choices.

вторник, 23 ноября 2010 г.

Unrestricted Low-Carb Diet Wins Hands Down

The New England Journal of Medicine has just come out with perhaps the most definitive comparison of low-fat, Mediterranean and low-carb diets ever, and the findings dovetail very nicely with what we’ve been discussing here recently about the merits of the Primal Blueprint. I think it also addresses some of the concerns shared about the so-called “restrictiveness” of my PB plan.
This low-fat, Mediterranean and low-carb diet comparison study looked at over 300 people who followed their assigned diets strictly for two years, making this one of the longest diet studies in recent history. The bottom line was that the low-carb diet was hands-down the most impressive at improving health in all areas. Those on the low-carb plan lost more weight, experienced a greater reduction in the dangerous C-reactive protein, lowered their triglycerides, raised their HDL cholesterol and dropped their A1C more than those on either the Mediterranean or the low-fat diets, although the Mediterranean was a close second most of the time.
For those who read MDA religiously, you’ll be interested to hear that the low-fat diet was “restricted” to only 1500 calories per day for women and 1800 for men, as was the Mediterranean diet, but the low-carb diet was “unrestricted”, meaning those participants could eat all they wanted of non-carb foods (fat and protein, people). They started out at only 20 grams carbs a day for two months, then eased up to 120 grams a day maintenance at the end. Compliance was fairly high, too: of the 109 people assigned to the low-carb plan, 85 finished the entire two years.
For those of you asking for more “evidence” that the way Grok ate was healthful, I can now add this study to the ever-increasing body of work. Of course, we here at MDA can speculate (and do we ever) on why carbs are not-so-great from purely a gene-expression POV, on why fats are our “healthy friends” from an evolutionary biology perspective and why proteins should form the basis of a fat-burning, muscle-building Primal eating program. But it sure helps that a study like this – with zero attachment to any evolutionary rationale – comes up with a parallel conclusion. This quote is taken from the paper:
The similar caloric deficit achieved in all diet groups suggests that a low-carbohydrate, non–restricted-calorie diet may be optimal for those who will not follow a restricted-calorie dietary regimen.
When will guys like Dean Ornish and John MacDougal realize they have gone way too far down the wrong low-fat path?

пятница, 19 ноября 2010 г.

Light at Night May Contribute to Weight Gain

If you tend to stay up late and are exposed to light at night, whether it be the glow of a computer or TV screen or a reading lamp, your habit may contribute to weight gain. Researchers found that mice that lived with light during nighttime hours put on weight even when their food intake did not increase.

Weight gain may be linked to night light

In the new study, the results of which were published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers discovered that mice exposed to dim light at night over two months gained 33 percent more weight than mice that were exposed to a normal light-dark cycle. The weight gain occurred even though all the mice maintained the same activity level and food intake.
The difference between the two groups of mice, according to Laura Fonken, a neuroscientist at Ohio State University, and her colleagues, is that the mice exposed to night light ate at different times. Professor Randy Nelson, one of the study’s co-authors, noted that “light at night is an environmental factor that may be contributing to the obesity epidemic in ways that people don’t’ expect.”
Previous studies have indicated that shift workers are more susceptible to heart disease and diabetes, and that these risks may be associated with weight gain. In a recent study published in Nutrition Research Reviews, for example, investigators reported that in developing countries, overweight and obese individuals are more prevalent among shift workers than day workers, and that shift workers seem to gain weight more often than their day worker peers.
The investigators concluded that “there is considerable epidemiological evidence that shift work is associated with increased risk for obesity, diabetes and CVD [cardiovascular disease], perhaps as a result of physiological maladaptation to chronically sleeping and eating at abnormal circadian times.”
Regarding the mouse study, Nelson pointed out that “something about light at night was making the mice in our study want to eat at the wrong times to properly metabolize their food.” Yet when the researchers limited food intake to times when the mice would normally eat, weight gain did not occur.
Nelson suggested that people who often use a computer and watch TV at night may be disrupting their metabolism by eating at abnormal hours. “This environmental factor may explain why some people who maintain good energy balance still gain weight,” he said.
If the results of this study are verified in humans, people who want to ward off weight gain may want to turn off the night light and eat at regular hours.