Most of the time seasonal flu activity can last as late as May. The flu spreads easily from person to person. Prevention is the key to maintaining a healthy environment during the entire flu season.
It will be a great contribution if you get this message to as many people as possible. You provide a great public service to help fight this flu that has affected so many people.
Britons devour an average 11 kg of chocolate each per year, with a fair chunk consumed over Easter. With chocolate claimed to boost our mood, this should make us blissfully happy this Sunday. But is this true? What really happens to our bodies when we binge on an egg or ten?
Just like the caffeine in coffee, the cocoa in chocolate is a chemical powerhouse, rich in active compounds that are quickly absorbed, affecting everything from our energy levels to mood. Nutritionally, cocoa in chocolate contains many biologically active substances that have positive effects on human health, including flavonoids, theobromine and magnesium.
Of course, much depends on the kind of chocolate you scoff – the healthy compounds are in the cocoa, so the darker the chocolate the better it is for you.
Dark chocolate that contains at least 70 per cent cocoa is a much cheerier option than milk chocolate. Within one to two hours, the active compounds in the cocoa are absorbed into the blood stream, and give us pleasure. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which has some aphrodisiac-like properties. However, the body gets rid of it very quickly, so the actual effect of this is very small and more likely to be psychosomatic. But chocolate does increase serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain to give that short post-eating high. In fact, the elation really is momentary. According to a 2007 study published in the journal Appetite – chocolate soothes a bad mood for just three minutes.
There is some evidence that chocolate has a natural calming effect one to two hours after eating it. A Swiss study in 2009 found that subjects who ate 40g of dark chocolate a day over two weeks had reduced cortisol levels, our natural stress hormone.
THE FIRST BITE
Chocolate gives us immediate sensory pleasure from the taste on our tongues, and within 15 minutes sugar is converted to blood glucose that gives us an energy burst. But after an hour or so our blood glucose levels fall and “crash” – this is most severe with milk chocolate, the most sugary kind. A spike in insulin causes a lower blood sugar level than you started with, causing headaches, fatigue and lethargy.
Chocolate has appetite-suppressing properties that can help you lose weight. Not only is it high in fat, which makes you feel full for longer, researchers in Italy have found the flavonol in dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity, which improves our ability to absorb sugars rather than store them as fat. Another study in the Netherlands showed that even smelling dark chocolate resulted in a decrease in the hunger hormone, ghrelin. This only applies to dark chocolate, as milk chocolate can often have the opposite effect. Tests in animals suggest that the flavonols in chocolate could potentially play a part in preventing obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Chocolate contains caffeine, a bowel stimulant that can trigger symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as it transits through the small and large intestine 4-5 hours after eating it. Caffeine also raises acid levels in our stomach, which facilitate digestion, but can also result in heartburn, acid reflux or inflammation of an existing stomach ulcer. If you struggle with acid reflux or other gut problems, you might find that chocolate tastes great going down but not so good once it hits the stomach.
An Easter egg won’t make you an immediate genius, but regular doses of dark chocolate can improve our brainpower and memory, according to a number of studies. Moreover, a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012 found a “surprisingly powerful” correlation between chocolate intake per capita and the number of Nobel laureates in various countries.
A 2012 Cochrane Group report into dark chocolate found that a couple of squares each day – about 100g – can lead to a small reduction in blood pressure. The report said flavonols in cocoa produce nitric oxide, which 'relaxes' blood vessels and makes it easier for blood to pass through them, lowering blood pressure.
Heart health and cholesterol
Several long-term studies have linked eating dark chocolate to a small decrease in “bad” LDL cholesterol, which can occur as little as two hours after eating chocolate. One study also suggests that bacteria in the stomach ferment chocolate into useful anti-inflammatory compounds that are also good for the heart health and reduce the death rate in heart attack survivors.
But any health benefits from chocolate are based on moderation and cocoa content. Most of the studies say the beneficial effects of chocolate are in the range of 80g a week. And although both milk and dark chocolate both contain cocoa, milk chocolate contains a much higher amount of dairy product and sugars. Go for dark.
"ULTRA-PROCESSED" FOOD MAKES UP MORE THAN HALF OF THE AMERICAN DIET — AND THAT’S EXACTLY AS UNHEALTHY AS IT SOUNDS
The term 'processed food' applies to any food that has been altered from its natural state in some way, either for safety reasons or convenience
In a huge cross-sectional study of what Americans eat every day, researchers at the University of São Paulo and Tufts University in Massachusetts found that more than half of the foods that Americans eat are “ultra-processed.”
The researchers define ultra-processed foods as those containing substances you wouldn’t ordinarily use while cooking—“flavors, colors, sweeteners, emulsifiers and other additives”—that either “imitate unprocessed or minimally processed foods” or “disguise undesirable qualities of the final product.” They’re packed with stuff designed to trick your senses into thinking that the gunk you’re about to eat actually tastes, smells, or looks like the real food you should be eating.
Ultra-processed foods, on the other hand, are literally sham food. And they make up a whopping 57.9% of the American diet. By comparison, minimally processed or unprocessed foods—like meat, most fruits and vegetables, eggs, pasta, and milk—make up only 29.6% of Americans’ daily food consumption. The rest of the average American diet consists of just plain "processed" foods (as opposed to ultra-processed or minimally processed ones) like cheese.
One advantage of cooking food from scratch at home is that you know exactly what is going into it, including the amount of added salt or sugar. However, even homemade food sometimes uses processed ingredients. Read on to find out how you can eat processed foods as part of a healthy diet.
What counts as processed food?
Most shop-bought foods will have been processed in some way. Examples of common processed foods include:
Food processing techniques include freezing, canning, baking, drying and pasteurizing products.
Not all processed food is a bad choice. Some foods need processing to make them safe, such as milk, which needs to be pasteurized to remove harmful bacteria. Other foods need processing to make them suitable for use, such as pressing seeds to make oil.
Freezing fruit and veg preserves most vitamins, while tinned produce (choose those without added sugar and salt) can mean convenient storage, cooking and choice to eat all year round, with less waste and cost than fresh.
What makes some processed foods less healthy?
Ingredients such as salt, sugar and fat are sometimes added to processed foods to make their flavor more appealing and to prolong their shelf life, or in some cases to contribute to the food's structure, such as salt in bread or sugar in cakes.
This can lead to people eating more than the recommended amounts for these additives, as they may not be aware of how much has been added to the food they are buying and eating. These foods can also be higher in calories due to the high amounts of added sugar or fat in them.
Furthermore, a diet high in red and processed meat (regularly eating more than 90g a day) has also been linked to an increased risk of bowel cancer. Some studies have also shown that eating a large amount of processed meat may be linked to a higher risk of cancer or heart disease.
What is processed meat?
Processed meat refers to meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. This includes sausages, bacon, ham, salami and pâtés.
The Department of Health recommends that if you currently eat more than 90g (cooked weight) of red and processed meat a day, that you cut down to 70g a day. This is equivalent to two or three rashers of bacon, or a little over two slices of roast lamb, beef or pork, with each about the size of half a slice of bread.
However, it's important to remember that the term "processed" applies to a very broad range of foods, many of which can be eaten as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
How can I eat processed foods as part of a healthy diet?
Reading nutrition labels can help you choose between processed products and keep a check on the amount of processed foods you're eating that are high in fat, salt and added sugars.
How do I know if a processed food is high in fat, saturated fat, sugar or salt?
There are guidelines to tell you if a food is high or low in fat, saturated fat, salt or sugar. These are:
r example, if you are trying to cut down on saturated fat, try to limit the amount of foods you eat that have more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g.
Conclusion: It’s fine to eat processed foods in moderation. Look at the nutrition facts label and ingredients before you come to the conclusion if a processed food is good or bad.
Processed Foods - What's OK, What to Avoid
Reviewed by Jill Kohn, MS, RDN, LDN
Published November 09, 2015
If the fructose in sugar and high fructose corn syrup has been considered alcohol without the buzz in terms of the potential to inflict liver damage, what about the source of natural fructose, fruit?
Only industrial, not fruit fructose intake was associated with declining liver function. Same thing with high blood pressure. Fructose from added sugars was associated with hypertension; fructose from natural fruits is not. If you compare the effects of a diet restricting fructose from both added sugars and fruit to one just restricting fructose from added sugars, the diet that kept the fruit did better. People lost more weight with the extra fruit present than if all fructose was restricted.
These deleterious effects of fructose were limited to industrial fructose, meaning table sugar and high fructose corn syrup, with no evidence for a negative effect of the fructose in whole fruit. This apparent inconsistency might be explained by the positive effects of other nutrients (e.g., fiber) and antioxidants in fresh fruit.
If you have people drink a glass of water with three tablespoons of table sugar in it, which is like a can of soda, this is the big spike in blood sugar you get within the first hour. Our body freaks out and releases so much insulin we actually overshoot, and by the second hour we’re relatively hypoglycemic, dropping our blood sugar below where they were when we started out fasting. In response, our body dumps fat into our blood stream as if we’re starving, because our blood sugars just dropped so suddenly.
What if you eat blended berries in addition to the sugar? They have sugars of their own in them, in fact an additional tablespoon of sugar worth, so the blood sugar spike should be worse, right? No, not only no additional blood sugar spike, here’s the critical part, no hypoglycemic dip afterwards. Blood sugar just went up and down without that overshoot and without the surge of fat into the blood.
This difference may be attributed to the semisolid consistency of the berry meals, which may have decreased the rate of stomach emptying compared with just guzzling sugar water. In addition, the soluble fiber in the berries has a gelling effect in our intestines that slows the release of sugars. To test to see if it was the fiber, they repeated the experiment with berry juice that had all the sugar but none of the fiber. As you can see, a clear difference was observed early on in the blood sugar insulin responses. At the 15 minute mark, the blood sugar spike was significantly reduced by the berry meals but not by the juices, but the rest of the beneficial responses were almost the same between the juice and the whole fruit, suggesting that fiber may just be part of it. It turns out there are fruit phytonutrients that inhibit the transportation of sugars through the intestinal wall into our blood stream. Phytonutrients in foods like apples and strawberries can block some of the uptake of sugars by the cells lining our intestines.
Adding berries can actually blunt the insulin spike from high glycemic foods. Here’s what white bread does to our insulin levels within 2 hours after eating it. Eat that same white bread with some berries, though and you’re able to blunt the spike. So even though you’ve effectively added more sugars, in the form of berries, there’s less of an insulin spike, which has a variety of potential short and long-term benefits. So if you’re going to make pancakes, make sure they’re blueberry pancakes.
The truth is that corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup are two different products.
Both products are made from corn starch, but regular corn syrup is 100 percent glucose, while high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has had some of its glucose converted to fructose enzymatically.
Scientists are examining the potentially negative effects of consuming large amounts of fructose in the form of HFCS, but regular corn syrup is not part of that consideration, as it does not contain fructose.
That doesn't necessarily mean the corn syrup you buy in the store is HFCS-free, unfortunately.
Manufacturers sometimes add HFCS to regular corn syrup, but it will be listed as an ingredient if that is the case. So read labels carefully or stick with Karo, which does not add HFCS to their products.
Of course, like all refined sweeteners, corn syrup should be consumed in moderation. A few times a year around the holidays — in your grandmother's famous pecan pie recipe or the caramel candies everyone loves — sounds just about right.
Despite the long presentation to be an advertisement from the Nucific company to sell the product BIO X4, it is also quite informative.
Dr. Amy Lee is a certified Bariatric Physician whose lifetime work specializes in internal medicine and physical nutrition. She is the founder and director at the Integrated Wellness Center in Los Angeles, CA and has degrees from the American Board of Internal Medicine, National Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists (NBPNS) and American Board of Obesity Medicine.
If you watch the presentation, you will find her healthy weight management approach is rooted on avoiding 3 harmful foods that we should all stop consuming and using on a daily basis along with adding her 4 natural weight loss boosters and digestion helpers.
She also gave way to her number one carbohydrate to avoid in olestra/olean (banned in Canada, China and Europe) which was created by Proctor & Gamble to be a calorie and cholesterol fat free substitute. She was quick to point out that carbs, gluten and sweets are okay to eat in moderation but to completely stay away from soda, pop and even diet sodas.
Do you have chronic pain that has lasted 12 weeks or more? If so, you’re probably popping painkillers. But drugs should be your last resort. Reason: You can knock out some discomfort with drugs, but side effects are common—and the pain is unlikely to go away altogether.
What’s better? Most people don’t realize that dietary changes—eating certain foods and avoiding others—can have a big effect on chronic pain, such as joint pain, back and neck pain, headaches and abdominal pain. I’ve seen for myself with patients who have a variety of chronic pain conditions (as well as my own back pain) just how effective dietary changes can be.
Where to Start...
INCLUDING THE FRUIT THAT WORKS BETTER THAN ASPIRIN
Bonus: The vitamin C in cherries and other berries has additional benefits. It’s used by the body to build and repair joint cartilage, important for people with joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. Like anthocyanins, vitamin C also is a potent antioxidant that can reduce CRP.
GIVE UP SUGAR
And it isn’t only sugar per se that does the damage. The American College of Clinical Nutrition has reported that foods with a high glycemic index—these include white bread, white rice and other “simple” carbohydrates that are quickly converted to glucose during digestion—increase inflammation even in healthy young adults. For those with arthritis or other ongoing painful conditions, even a slight increase in inflammation can greatly increase discomfort.
My advice: Try to eliminate added sugar and processed carbohydrates from your diet. Give up candy, soda, baked goods and highly refined grains. If you really enjoy a bit of sugar in your morning coffee, go for it. Treat yourself to the occasional sweet dessert. But in my experience, people with chronic pain usually do better when they give up sugar altogether.
SWITCH TO OLIVE OIL
EAT SEAFOOD TWICE A WEEK
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
SOURCE: Mel Pohl, MD, a physician who specializes in treating addiction and chronic pain. He is the medical director of the Las Vegas Recovery Center and author, with Katherine Ketcham, of The Pain Antidote: The Proven Program to Help You Stop Suffering from Chronic Pain, Avoid Addiction to Painkillers—and Reclaim Your Life.
BY DR. STEVEN WITHERLY
With recent news that the federal government is urging Americans to limit their sugar intake to only 10% of calories consumed there are a lot of people left scratching their heads. New labelling mandates could require food manufacturers to denote whether or not their products contain added sugar in an effort to raise awareness. With over 300 million cases of diabetes worldwide and no sign of slowing, it’s time to take a look at what we can do to steer the nutrition ship back on course.
There are myriad sweeteners available to consumers, but almost no cohesive summary about what they are and which ones make metabolic sense. This article aims to shed a little light on what’s out there and how sugar alternatives stack up against each other.
Sugar is a carbohydrate and carbohydrates are broken down into four distinct groups – complex sugars (starch), simple sugars (glucose), indigestible carbohydrates (fiber), and sugar alcohols (sweeteners). That final one, sugar alcohols, are not sugars or alcohols, but their own group of nutritional compounds that happen to taste sweet. Contrary to popular belief, many of these are found naturally in smaller quantities, but because they’re mass manufactured they get a bad reputation as being created by science, and therefore, seen as artificial. Pretty soon the FDA may require food manufacturers to state whether or not their foods have “added sugar.” So what does this mean for sweeteners? Take a look below:
High Intensity Sweeteners (HIS) are called such because they taste several hundred times sweeter than sugar (sucrose). See the section below for an in-depth look at this category. The HIS are broken down by type, sweetness, caloric value, glycemic index and digestive tolerance.
HIGH INTENSITY SWEETENERS
There are three things to examine when categorizing simple sugars: Sweetness compared to sucrose, Energy (calories) and Glycemic index. Since sucrose is a 1 on the sweetness scale, each corresponding number under sweetness illustrates its taste compared to sugar. The calories category, denoted as “kcal/g,” stacks up pretty evenly. The last category is the glycemic index. This is based on the ability of the sweetener to raise blood glucose levels. Glucose is the standard form of simple sugar so it has a glycemic index of 100 and each of the other sweeteners are in comparison to glucose.
The final category in the sweetener game is the polyol or sugar alcohol group. They’re a versatile group of sugar supplements and bulking agents with a taste similar to sugar with little caloric value. Many are non -cariogenic, meaning they won’t aid tooth decay. Sugar alcohols are only partially digested in the small intestine and move to the large intestine. This means some sugar alcohols can cause bloating and gas if they are consumed in large amounts. That’s why so many foods contain a combination of high intensity sweeteners, simple sugars and sugar alcohols. It makes it easier on your gut biome to break down without causing discomfort.
Sucralose – Widely used and approved by over 100 countries, sugar-like taste
Allulose – found in nature, low glycemic index, remarkable sugar-like taste
Erythritol – high digestive tolerance, low calories, found in fruits
Stevia – Plant-derived, pleasant taste (in proper amounts)
Xylitol – Sugar-like taste, but has low digestive tolerance.
Sorbitol -- Low digestive tolerance and lacks sweetness, occurs naturally in many fruits and berries.
Isomalt – Minimal effects on blood sugar and diabetic friendly, but lacks sweetness and has low digestive tolerance.
Honey – Completely natural and rich with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, but has high fructose content.
Sucrose – Since it’s table sugar it tastes great, but greatly contributes to obesity and diabetes.
Glucose – sweet taste, but directly effects glucose levels in the body.
Fruit Juices – Sweet taste and found naturally, but depending on type, can increase glycemic index.
Maltitol – Can cause severe intestinal upset, but still widely used in chocolates.
High Fructose Corn Syrup – Directly linked to raising obesity across the world, prevalent in almost all sweet drinks.
Maltose – Higher glycemic index than table sugar, bad for diabetics and aids in tooth decay.
Maltodextrin – Can damage gut bacteria and has a high glycemic index.
Agave – Very high levels of fructose contributes to diabetes and obesity.
Acesulfame K – Synthetic, has been linked to cancer in rodent studies.
Aspartame – Contains known cancer causing agent phenylalanine.
Saccharine – Must be labeled as cancer causing in lab animals, should be avoided at all costs.
BY DR. STEVEN WITHERLY
Dr. Steven A. Witherly is a leading expert in the field of food science, nutrition, and product formulations. His extensive career includes high-level product development positions at many of the world’s most recognized food and health companies and he is an esteemed member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.