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Posts Tagged "nutrition"

@ScientificAmerican

Satisfy Your Curiosity with Our New E-Book, Can We Feed the World? The Future of Food

Future of Food Cover

Still hungry after devouring our September 2013 single topic issue: Food? Engage in some guilt-free gluttony with our new companion eBook: Can We Feed the World? The Future of Food. With global population numbers projected to increase by 2 billion by 2050, a veritable food crisis is on the horizon. In this eBook, we examine [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

The Basics of Good Health Is the Subject of New E-Book–Eat, Move, Think: Living Healthy

Eat, Move, Think: Living Healthy

While many of us strive to live healthy lives, the task can be daunting and the information overwhelming. Should we be more concerned with our diet or with keeping our weight down? How important is exercise? What kinds of diseases should we really be worried about? In this eBook, “Eat, Move, Think: Living Healthy,” we’ve [...]

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Food Matters

That Time Big Tobacco Hired a Sugar Researcher to Help Them Muddle the Science on Health

candy-cigarettes_phillip_stewartz

Much has been made in recent years about the beverage and food industries borrowing from the tobacco industry’s playbook as they fend off increasing scrutiny about their role in preventable chronic health problems, like type II diabetes and heart disease. A case study published last week in the journal PLOS Medicine revealed a surprising early [...]

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Food Matters

Confessions of a Nanny-State Food Cop: The Truth about Public Health

The All-Seeing-Apple

I’m not really sure when I first started hating freedom. Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved controlling people, interfering with their lives, and keeping them from having any fun. That’s why I went into public health. For years, people like Michelle Malkin and Richard Berman have been warning you about the meddlesome food police—determined [...]

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Food Matters

Antioxidant Supplements: Too Much of a Kinda Good Thing

Emergen-C

There appears to be a continued public misconception (encouraged by the supplement industry) that free radicals are bad, and that antioxidants are good. Of course, like most phenomena affecting our health, it’s not that simple. Free radicals are molecules or atoms containing an unpaired electron. Unpaired electrons are attention seekers. They really don’t like being [...]

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Food Matters

Vitamania: Why We Swallow the Supplement Industry’s Magic Pills

Vitamania

Now and then a book comes along that educates and entertains at the same time. When an author manages this with the beaten-to-death topic of nutrition, it’s doubly impressive. Catherine Price’s forthcoming (Feb 24) “Vitamania: Our Obsessive Quest for Nutritional Perfection,” is the surprisingly fascinating story of vitamins—their discovery, their functions in our bodies, and [...]

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Food Matters

The World On A Plate: A Look At Diets Around The Globe

WorldOnAPlate2

From culture to religion, social status to political leanings, a lot can be learned from what’s on a plate. In What I Eat: Around The World In 80 Diets, photographer Peter Menzel and his wife, writer Faith D’Aluisio, take a fascinating look at diets of people around the world. Menzel and D’Aluisio have been doing [...]

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Food Matters

Is Our Focus on Obesity Holding Back Public Health?

gardening

What causes obesity? Advertising junk food to kids? Cheap soda? The demise of physical education in public schools? Too much screen time? Or maybe, it’s one of the little boxes in this Obesity System Influence Diagram, developed in 2007 by British researchers for their government’s Foresight Project: Holy cow, I believe are the words you’re [...]

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Food Matters

What To Eat When You’re High (up): Why Not Caviar? And Plenty Of H2O

Winter Park, Colorado, Image buy Author

If you are from the Midwest, or a place of comparable altitude, and have ever taken a trip to the mountains, then you are probably familiar with the humbling experience that is trying to breathe air that just doesn’t seem to be there. A simple task, such as walking up a hill can elicit dizziness, [...]

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Food Matters

Dear Beverage Industry: Yes, 12-Year-Olds Are Children.

advertising-to-kids

The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity (full disclosure: I work for them) just released the Sugary Drink Facts Report, exhaustively detailing the nutrition of products offered by the beverage industry, and how the industry markets them. The authors are very careful to point out that progress has been made since their last [...]

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Food Matters

Judging Food By Its Cover: Nutrition Labels Are One Area Where Consumer Is Not King

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 3.48.51 PM

It’s a tired refrain: “It’s all about consumer choice, we can’t limit choice, the consumer is king.”  Every time some pesky public health advocate wants to try to reform the food environment, the industry starts to shriek about limiting choices and taking away people’s freedom.  New York City’s attempt to remove “bucket” as an acceptable [...]

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Food Matters

An Open Letter to Dr. Oz: You’re Cheering for the Wrong Team.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 9.34.04 AM

Dear Dr. Oz: I caught the senate hearing earlier this week during which you answered for using “flowery language” to describe a number of weight-loss supplements that do not have (as you admit) the scientific backing for your claims. I’d like to think that you mean well. You are called “America’s Doctor.” You have huge [...]

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Guest Blog

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: America’s Greatest Health Risk of 2015?

Micrograph of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The liver has a prominent (centrilobular) macrovesicular steatosis (white/clear round/oval spaces) and mild fibrosis (green). The hepatocytes stain red.  Macrovesicular steatosis is lipid accumulation that is so large it distorts the cell's nucleus. (Credit: Nephron/Wikimedia Commons)

Today, up to 25 percent of people in the U.S. are living with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to the American Liver Foundation. NAFLD is a medical condition associated with obesity that can eventually lead to other liver conditions or even liver failure. In less than a decade, NAFLD will likely become the number [...]

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Guest Blog

Reducing Lifestyle Diseases Means Changing Our Environment

The gym. (Health Gauge/Flickr)

I’ve always found gyms a bit strange. Think about it: Dozens of people sweating in close proximity, running on conveyor belts going nowhere, lifting and dropping heavy objects for no reason. There’s a guy grunting as he flings a barbell to the ground, a woman repeatedly leaping on and off a stack of boxes, and [...]

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Guest Blog

How Overeating May Contribute to a Metabolic “Traffic Jam”

Oooh, donut! (Mark H. Anbinder/Flickr)

In what has been dubbed “The Great Crawl of China”, in August 2010 commuters in Beijing accumulated along a 74.5-mile-long stretch of road for a preposterous 11 days straight. No mere rush-hour delay, the absurdity of this pile-up—one of the worst in recorded history—suggests that multiple factors were to blame. Just as fewer cars and [...]

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Guest Blog

Artificial Sweeteners May Have Despicable Impacts on Gut Microbes

Sweet'N Low is a brand of artificial sweetener made primarily from granulated saccharin. (Credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr)

I find it ironic that Thanksgiving coincides with American Diabetes Month. In honor of that irony, two recently published studies have suggested a possible link between what you eat, how it impacts the behavior of the microbes living in your gut, and type II diabetes. To further explain, allow me use the most adorable analogy [...]

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Guest Blog

Lifestyle Choices Could Affect Gene Sequences That Code for Cancer

Couch potatoing. (Credit: El Alvi via Flickr)

It’s no secret that diet and exercise can directly impact our health. But for many people, genetic predisposition to disease – be it hypertension or diabetes or cancer – is often perceived as a risk that is out of their hands. New findings in the field of epigenetics, however, suggest that we may have more [...]

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Guest Blog

Will Carrots Help You See Better? No, but Chocolate Might

Bunches of carrots

I can’t count the number of times I have been asked by patients if carrots really can improve their eyesight. I think some are looking for carrots to be a magical cure for their refractive error. They want to eliminate their need for glasses and want carrots to give them perfect 20/20 vision. While proper [...]

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Guest Blog

Can sitting too much kill you?

We all know that physical activity is important for good health—regardless of your age, gender or body weight, living an active lifestyle can improve your quality of life and dramatically reduce your risk of death and disease. But even if you are meeting current physical activity guidelines by exercising for one hour per day (something [...]

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Observations

Cultured Beef: Do We Really Need a $380,000 Burger Grown in Petri Dishes?

cultured-beef-patty

For the first time, the public has been treated to the spectacle of lab-grown meat cooked and eaten via live Webcast. Backed by Google billionaire Sergey Brin, Dutch tissue engineer Mark Post unveiled his “cultured beef” at a press event on August 5, answering the question posed by a 2011 Scientific American feature: “When Will [...]

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Observations

Food Delivers a Cocktail of Hormone-Like Signals to Body

The chicken pesto pasta on your plate is more than just tasty fuel to keep you going. The dish has carbohydrates, fats and proteins to be sure, but it also contains other nutrients and chemicals that send subtle cues and instructions to your cells. More and more researchers are arguing that to better grasp how [...]

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Observations

Translating Calorie Counts into Exercise Equivalents Leads to Healthier Choices

By mid-2012, coffee shops and burger joints across the country will be required to prominently display nutritional information about their food products. Many of the larger franchises are already doing this. But does knowing the number of calories in a caramel latte make you more likely to choose a fat-free coffee? Unfortunately, no—most studies have [...]

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Observations

Feel the Burn: How Do Scientists Count Calories?

Counting calories today is as easy as checking the label in a grocery store, or perusing the menu in a restaurant. But how accurate are these numbers, and how do food manufacturers and restaurants come up with them in the first place? In a study published July 19 in the Journal of the American Medical [...]

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Observations

Mummy Says John Horgan Is Wrong about Fat and Carbs in Food

I was struck today by the juxtaposition of two recent articles here at ScientificAmerican.com. In “Thin Body of Evidence,” John Horgan expresses his skepticism about journalist Gary Taubes’s claims that carbohydrates, not fat, are the cause of obesity, heart disease and other health problems faced by many Americans. In “Mummy Says Princess Had Coronary Disease,” [...]

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Observations

Child nutrition law will require use of scientific dietary guidelines in serving up school lunches

child nutrition bill will institute nutrition guidelines for school lunches

Greasy French fries and calorie-dense pizza slices are common items on public school cafeteria trays across the U.S. But a new child nutrition bill, signed into law Monday by President Obama, will dedicate more federal funds to improving the health of school meals—and making sure the meals standards are based on solid science. "The act [...]

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Observations

FDA to beef up standards for “health” food labeling

fda smart choices food healthy labeling

Currently abundant on most grocery store shelves, seals of approval for purportedly healthful food selections may become scarcer in the coming year. Some labels claiming foods are "smart choices" or "heart healthy" are patently misleading, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has threatened to prohibit such promotional labeling when it ignores [...]

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Talking back

Got (Skim) Milk?: Maybe a Recipe for Obesity and Cancer

The USDA, the American Academy of Academy of Pediatrics and other august institutions recommend that all calorie-containing beverages, except low-fat milk, should be limited in people’s diets. The dairy industry made the “Got Milk” slogan one of the most famous of all time—and guidelines for healthy eat/drink incorporate that entreaty: three cuppa a day, less [...]

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Talking back

16-Ounce Cokes and 40 Joints a Month: When Government Dictates to Consumers

José Mujica is the Uruguayan Bloomberg. Like the mayor of New York, the president of Uruguay is a social engineer, convinced to the core that he knows best by getting citizens to do the right thing. Bloomberg and Mujica even have a mutual fan club going. Bloomberg donated $500,000 and called the Uruguayan leader nearly [...]

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