Thursday, February 27, 2014

Nutrition Facts Makeover? Much Ado About Nothing.

Early returns are underwhelming for the proposed makeover of the Nutrition Facts Label found on food packaging. We have will have a detailed analysis shortly. Here is the FDA's press release.

Immune Boosting Star We Know Well.

Daily supplements of the probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 may improve the activity of white blood cells in elderly adults, a population with higher susceptibility to infections. Researcher in the Journal of Nutritional Science found that a daily dose of the probiotic for three weeks led to significant increases in the activity of monocytes and granulocytes in elderly people, thus improving clearance of bacteria from the body without contributing to the low-grade inflammation observed in the elderly population.

Alterations in the gut microbiota and immune functions of elderly adults are associated with higher susceptibility to infections and metabolic disorders. Phagocytosis, by which immune cells ‘eat’ bacteria or infected cells, is one of the mechanisms that help to resist infections. Bi-07 may provide health benefits to elderly individuals by increasing the activity of phagocytic cells.

Bonnie: Look on the label of your probiotic and some of you will see Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07. Several high quality supplement brands use this strain.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Monsanto Goes Organic and Wins Sustainability Award

Some good news on childhood obesity

While obesity rates for most Americans haven't changed significantly over the past decades, researchers have found among kids ages 2 to 5 the obesity rate dropped from 14% in 2003-2004 to just over 8% in 2011-2012, according to a report out Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That represents a drop of 43%, CDC said.

Older children made no progress, with nearly 18% of kids ages 6 to 11 being obese, as well as 20.5% of kids ages 12 to 19. In women over age 60, obesity rates climbed from 31% to 35.4% in the same period, the study shows.

CDC research has found two dietary changes that could help explain any progress: Americans are consuming fewer sugary drinks and more women are breastfeeding.

Steve: along with the White House announcement today for new school wellness standards, these young children will have a much easier time keeping the weight off once they get into full-time schooling. This is great news that we have finally made progress for a generation. The question is, how much of a financial toll will the ill health of the four generations ahead of them take? 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tylenol's effect during pregnancy reminds us yet again...

To be very careful what medications/drugs you take right before and during your pregnancy.

High cost for produce = High BMI Kids

High prices for fresh fruits and vegetables are associated with higher Body Mass Index (BMI) in young children in low- and middle-income households, according to the journal Pediatrics.

When the prices of fruits and vegetables go up, families may buy less of them and substitute cheaper foods that may not be as healthy and have more calories. The study focused on households under 300 percent of the federal poverty line, or a family of four earning $70,650 in 2013.

In recent decades, while the prices of snacks and sugar-sweetened beverages have gone down, the prices of fruits and vegetables have increased 17 percent between 1997 and 2003 alone.

The study also identified a small association between higher-priced soft drinks and a lower likelihood of obesity among young children.

Steve: As long as most of the government subsidies go to corn, wheat, soy, sugar, and dairy, these numbers are unlikely to change. I don't know how many studies are needed to show that the real financial help is required by fruit and vegetable growers. Or at the least, let there be a level playing field.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Anti-inflammatory Diet for IBD

The anti-inflammatory diet (IBD-AID) is a nutritional regimen for inflammatory bowel disease that restricts the intake of certain carbohydrates, includes the ingestion of pre- and probiotics, and modifies dietary fatty acids to demonstrate the potential of an adjunct dietary therapy for the treatment of IBD.

Patients with IBD were consecutively offered the IBD-AID to help treat their disease, and were retrospectively reviewed. Most patients had either a good or very good response after reaching compliance and followed the diet for 4 or more weeks. After following the IBD-AID, all (100%) patients were able to discontinue at least one of their prior IBD medications, and all patients had symptom reduction including bowel frequency.
The case series in the January issue of Nutrition Journal indicates potential for the IBD-AID as an adjunct dietary therapy for the treatment of IBD.

Bonnie: Our version of this is called The Pain Relief Diet

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How long do flu shots last?

Different from what CDC says.

Vitamin C may give stroke protection.

Elevated brain aluminum linked to Alzheimer's

Research at Keele University in Staffordshire, UK, has shown for the first time that an individual who was exposed to aluminum at work and died of Alzheimer's disease had high levels of aluminum in the brain.

While aluminum is a known neurotoxin and occupational exposure to aluminum has been implicated in neurological disease, including Alzheimer's disease, this finding is believed to be the first record of a direct link between Alzheimer's disease and elevated brain aluminum following occupational exposure to the metal.

The work exposed him to aluminum sulfate 'dust' on a daily basis over 8 years. An 'ordinary' dust mask was supplied to protect against inhalation of the materials. Within a short time of starting this work the man complained of headaches, tiredness and mouth ulcers. By 1999 he started to show problems in relation to memory and suffered depression.

Following his death, aged 66, in 2011, a neuropathological examination confirmed advance stage Alzheimer's disease. There then followed the most comprehensive investigation ever of the aluminum content of the frontal lobe of a single individual with 49 different tissue samples being measured for aluminum.

The results suggest very strongly that occupational exposure to aluminum contributed significantly to the untimely death of this individual with Alzheimer's disease."

Bonnie: Aluminum is added to vaccinations to create a stronger immune response to pathogens. There is no normal immune defense because the aluminum bypasses the gastrointestinal tract and skin. One wonders what that aluminum is doing to young brains? There should be research done on this specific issue.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Doctor's Offices Are a Cesspool of Infection

New research shows that well-child doctor appointments for annual exams and vaccinations are associated with an increased risk of flu-like illnesses in children and family members within two weeks of the visit. This risk translates to more than 700,000 potentially avoidable illnesses each year, costing more than $490 million annually. The study was published in the March issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

"Our results demonstrate that healthcare professionals should devote more attention to reducing the risk of spreading infections in waiting rooms and clinics. Infection control guidelines currently exist. To increase patient safety in outpatient settings, more attention should be paid to these guidelines by healthcare professionals, patients, and their families," said the lead author of the study.

The authors found that well-child visits for children younger than six years old increased the probability of a flu-like illness in these children or their families during the subsequent two weeks by 3.2 percentage points.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Effectiveness of Peer-Based Healthy Living Lessons

JAMA Pediatrics 2/10/2014

Importance: Schools are considered an attractive setting to promote healthy living behaviors in children, but previous school-based interventions aimed at preventing weight gain in children have yielded mixed results. Novel school-based approaches are needed to modify healthy living behaviors and attenuate weight gain in children.

Objective: To assess the effectiveness of a peer-led healthy living program called Healthy Buddies on weight gain and its determinants when disseminated at the provincial level to elementary school students.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Cluster-randomized effectiveness trial performed during the 2009-2010 school year. Baseline and follow-up measurements were made in October 2009 and May 2010, respectively. The study was performed in 19 elementary schools in Manitoba, Canada, and included 647 elementary school students aged 6 to 12 years (48% girls).

Intervention Schools were randomized to receive regular curriculum or Healthy Buddies lesson plans. Lesson plans were delivered by older (9- to 12-year-old) elementary school students to the younger (6- to 8-year-old) peers and targeted 3 components of health: physical activity, healthy eating, and self-esteem and body image.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  The primary outcome measures were the change in waist circumference and body mass index z score. Secondary outcomes included physical activity (steps per day), cardiorespiratory fitness, self-efficacy, healthy living knowledge, and self-reported dietary intake.

Results:  At baseline, 36% of children were overweight or obese and 11% achieved the recommended 13 500 steps per day. Intention-to-treat analyses showed that waist circumference declined significantly in the intervention group relative to controls. Reductions in waist circumference were particularly significant for children who were younger, overweight or obese, or attending First Nations schools. No difference in body mass index z score was observed between groups. Self-efficacy, healthy living knowledge, and dietary intake significantly improved in younger peers who received the intervention compared with students from control schools. No differences were observed in daily step counts or cardiorespiratory fitness between the groups.

Conclusions and Relevance:  The implementation of Healthy Buddies lesson plans delivered by older peers within an elementary school setting is an effective method for attenuating increases in central adiposity and improving knowledge of healthy living behaviors among elementary school students. Improvements were achieved with parallel improvements in diet quality, self-efficacy, and knowledge of healthy living.

Juicers Get Sugar Shock

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Common Herb/Vegetable Reduces Muscle Pain

A new study in the Journal of Pain has found that ginger may help with muscle pain after exercise. In this research, two identical studies were conducted to test the effects of raw ginger versus placebo (study 1) and heated ginger versus placebo (study 2). The components per gram of the raw ginger capsule were as follows: 4.1 mg of 6-gingerol, 1.9 mg of 10-gingerol, and 2.2 mg of 6-shogaol. The composition of the heated ginger capsule was 2.8 mg/g 6-gingerol, 1.0 mg/g 8-gingerol, 1.6 mg/g 10-gingerol and 2.6 mg/g 6-shogaol.

Patients were given 2 grams of ginger or placebo for 11 days, during which they underwent specific strength tests. The patients then filled out surveys reporting their muscle soreness 1, 2, and 3 days after the exercises.

The researchers found that 1 day after the exercises, those in the raw ginger group had 25% less muscle soreness compared to the placebo group and those in the heated ginger group had 23% less muscle soreness compared to the placebo group.

The study demonstrates that daily consumption of ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain following exercise-induced muscle injury and further demonstrate ginger’s effectiveness as a pain reliever.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Girls Scouts Go Gluten-Free

The Girl Scouts is taking on the gluten-free sector, adding gluten-free cookies during its 2013-2014 cookie sale in select markets.

ABC Bakers, a licensed Girl Scout cookie maker, is testing Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies in 20 markets as part of the Girl Scouts’ 2013-2014 cookie sale.

Made with a blend of rice flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch and potato starch, the bite-size cookies contain no artificial flavors or colors, high fructose corn syrup, palm oil or hydrogenated oils. The cookies meet the 5 parts per million (p.p.m.) limit established by the Celiac Sprue Association, which is 75% lower than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 20 p.p.m. proposed restriction.

Test markets include California’s central coast, central Maryland, eastern Wisconsin, southern Nevada, western New York, eastern Iowa and western Illinois, eastern Massachusetts, eastern Pennsylvania and Maine, among others.

The Girl Scouts also addressed the use of bioengineered ingredients in its cookies.

“At the current time, there are genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) in Girl Scout Cookies," the organization said on its website. “Our bakers determine whether to use GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies based on a range of market-related factors and depending on the specific cookie recipe. Girl Scouts recognizes that many people have concerns regarding GMO ingredients, and we monitor member and consumer opinion on this matter."

Bonnie: We have vociferously opposed the awful ingredients in Girl Scout cookies. It's nice to see they are making strides.