Monthly Archives: November 2012

So if it’s just like sugar, why do the countries using the most High-Fructose Corn Syrup have 20% more incidences of Type 2 Diabetes? learned about the results of a new study today that focuses on High-Fructose Corn Syrup. We keep thinking about those “corn sugar” commercials. They claim that sugar is sugar and your body doesn’t know the difference between regular cane sugar and High-Fructose Corn Syrup. The claim never seemed to make sense to us because High-Fructose Corn Syrup is a heavily processed sweetener. A new study coming out of both the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of Oxford is finding evidence that repudiates that claim.

It appears that countries whose food supplies contain the highest amounts of High-Fructose Corn Syrup also have higher levels of Type 2 Diabetes amongst their populations In fact the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes is 20 percent higher in these nations. That’s a significant percentage and worth the attention of consumers everywhere.

The results of this research join many other studies that have linked health problems with the consumption of High-Fructose Corn Syrup. “HFCS appears to pose a serious public health problem on a global scale,” said principal study author Michael I. Goran, professor of preventive medicine, director of the Childhood Obesity Research Center and co-director of the Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. “The study adds to a growing body of scientific literature that indicates HFCS consumption may result in negative health consequences distinct from and more deleterious than natural sugar.”

The research studied reports from 42 different countries. The U.S. boasts the highest consumption of HFCS – 55 pounds per year, per person. Hungary comes in second – at 46 pounds. Japan, Canada, Mexico, Slovakia, Korea, Bulgaria and Belgium also consume high amounts of High-Fructose Corn Syrup. Serbia, Germany, Portugal, Greece and Finland come in at the lower end of the HFCS consumption scale. The countries consuming the least amounts include Australia, China, Denmark, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay.

The analysis of these reports discovered that those countries with the highest consumption of High-Fructose Corn Syrup had a level of prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes of 8% compared to 6.7% in those countries whose population consumed the lowest amounts. It clearly suggests a link between HFCS consumption and the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

The research suggests that the association between HFCS and Type 2 Diabetes most likely stems from higher levels of fructose in the food products made with High-Fructose Corn Syrup. While both Fructose and glucose are found in sugar in equal amounts, HFCS has a larger amount of fructose. That’s what makes it sweeter while also giving processed foods longer shelf life, and a more attractive appearance, especially when used in baked goods.

Unfortunately, the United States is the largest consumer of HFCS. In the late 90s, High-Fructose Corn Syrup accounted for 40% of all sweeteners and was the main sweetener used in soft drinks sold in this country. Since then, other countries like Mexico have been gaining ground in their consumption because the U.S. has been increasing its exports of HFCS.

Type 2 Diabetes is one of the world’s most serious health problems. It’s a major cause of death and often proves difficult for people to manage. While further study is required to prove a conclusive link between High-Fructose Corn Syrup and this chronic illness, is thrilled to see the association between the two being made so plainly by this study. High-Fructose Corn Syrup isn’t sugar and the assumption that your body will process it like sugar is, thankfully, coming closer to being proven false. This is an issue we will continue to follow and provide updates on.

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Chia, the hottest newest health trend has a very clear memory of the first time we ever heard of Chia. It was on television commercials advertising a unique novelty plant called a Chia Pet. It took off right away … and was spun off into many different forms. The original pet was a ceramic animal with seeds that a person would water and Chia grass would sprout on its body. They’re still sold. You can even buy a Chia Dinosaur.

Today, the Chia seed is the newest health trend. This tiny seed contains antioxidants, protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. It has all the properties of a “superfood.” The Chia seed is only a bit larger than a poppy seed, so it has a wide array of uses. It has binding properties, so it can even be used as an egg replacement in baking for people with egg allergies. One tablespoon of Chia powder dissolved in a quarter cup of water equals one egg. It’s gluten-free and contains anti-inflammatory properties. It has no discernible flavor, so you can’t have any real problem with the taste.

Looking at the nutritional content of one tablespoon of Chia seed, it’s easy to see why it’s becoming such a popular addition to the diets of so many people. It contains 60 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein and 2.4 grams of Omega-3, 64 mg of calcium and 40 mg of magnesium. One tablespoon of Chia seed actually contains the same amount of Omega-3 as does four ounces of salmon. It is important to note that the body can absorb Omega-3 from fish more easily than plant-based Omega-3.

Because of the high fiber content of Chia, it’s of great use to people trying to lose weight, as it will help you stay fuller for a longer period of time. In addition you can keep it in your pantry for about five years. The high levels of antioxidants it contains prevent it from becoming rancid.

So what can you use Chia seed for? In addition to an egg substitute in baking (as was mentioned previously), Chia seeds can be sprinkled over salads, cereal, or yogurt. They can be used as a thickener in sauces and gravies. Because of their binding properties, Chia seeds can be used to make fruit “gels” … puree the fruit of your choice and add some ground seeds. You can use the “gel” to top ice creams or cake. Mix them into hot cereal. There are so many ways to add these tiny nutritional giants into your diet, we could go on and on.

Look for white or black/gray Chia seeds. Brown seeds are not yet ripe, so you won’t gain all the nutritional benefits you would from the white or black/gray seeds.

All of us at are excited to try the myriad of different ways to incorporate Chia seeds into our diet. We bet the Chia Pet had no idea all those years ago that it would be the precursor the latest healthy diet and nutrition news!

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Setting out to prove that an apple a day really does keep the doctor away! learned about some interesting research that’s being planned right now that can ultimately give us a better understanding of how different fruits can actually improve heart and vascular health in our population.

The University of Warwick is teaming up with Unilever to attempt to discover if nutrients in fruits in the right combinations can have a positive impact on our health. The study is based on the concept that certain properties of fruits help to trigger cell defense mechanisms in the walls of blood vessels. This protects the vessels from damage caused by aging and prevents the onset of Type-2 diabetes. If the conclusions derived from this study show these links, it would be the first time research will have shown an association between fruit consumption and heart health improvement.

The study is planned as a three year endeavor. It will implement a new screening technology developed by the University of Warwick that can identify which fruits contain the nutrients that impact heart and vascular health. The findings will then be used to develop prototype products to be tested on human blood vessels. Clinical trials of the products would then be implemented on middle-aged, overweight participants using metabolism research equipment. The volunteers will have their blood vessel function and glucose levels monitored to illustrate which foods activate the blood vessel protection being hypothesized.

The hopes for this study are quite broad. In the first place, the findings could help influence consumers to make small dietary changes that may help them make huge health improvements. If you understood that eating certain fruits would help to bolster your body’s natural protective mechanisms, you could easily include more of those fruits in your daily diet. But beyond that, the hope is that a new line of health products could be designed that can leverage the ingredients present in the fruits that jump start the body’s protection system. If the healthy properties of fruits like grapes, strawberries and olives can be harnessed to assist the body’s own defenses against heart disease and diabetes, we may be able to make a real change in the problems associated with aging.

While is always reporting on new research findings, we were excited to learn of this new, planned research. This window into the future speaks to discoveries yet to be made regarding our nutrition health. It’s science waiting to happen and raises questions about how, in the future, it might be possible for us to reduce the health problems normally associated with aging because of the nutrients contained in our fruits.

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Rethinking the link between obesity and depression … read with interest today some new research findings linking a gene that’s considered a genetic component for the risk of obesity to a reduced risk of depression. We remember hearing terms like “fat but happy,” “jolly and fat,” and other terms used years ago that wouldn’t be considered very politically correct these days. And in the last few years, we’ve followed research that linked obesity to depression. This new study, however, might reinforce those older clichés regarding obesity.

Coming out of McMaster University, this study associates the same gene that can put a person at risk for obesity with a reduction in the risk of depression. According to these findings the obesity gene is also a gene that supports happiness.

The most interesting component of this research is that it was actually begun on the premise that obesity and depression stem from brain activity and the researchers were looking for a genetic link between the two conditions. There has been a common scientific assumption regarding this link. Specifically, it has been believed that obese people can suffer from depression due to their appearance which can lead to social discrimination. Alternatively, depressed people tend to lead less active lifestyles which can cause them to change their eating habits and cause them to become obese.

This new study investigated the genetic and psychiatric condition of patients involved in the EpiDREAM study which was led by the Population Health Research Institute. It analyzed 17,200 DNA samples from participants in 21 different countries. They discovered that the existence of the predisposing variant in the obesity gene was associated with an 8% rediction in the risk of depression among participants. This was then confirmed against results from three other international studies. Those studies are supporting these latest findings. Overall, there is a definite indication that the obesity gene can provide some protection from depression. is looking forward to future studies that explore the link between the obesity gene and a decreased risk of depression. It will be fascinating to find out how this new genetic knowledge can be used in the treatment or prevention of depression in our population. This could hold a lot of hope for so many people. We look forward to keeping you informed!

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10 ways food labels mislead consumers

Day after day we learn more about how misleading food labels continue to dupe consumers with keywords and bold statements that feed into people’s dietary needs and weight loss goals. This doesn’t mean all food labels are lying because plenty of products are “fat free” or made with “real fruit,” but what about the other nutritional facts or ingredients? observes that, unfortunately, the FDA does not regulate all food labels and cannot keep food manufacturers from using clever wording to avoid a potential lawsuit. What you can do is read the nutritional facts and ingredients list to find the truth behind the fancy wording and manipulative marketing. Here are 10 misleading food labels to look out for:

* “Zero grams trans fat”
Since trans fat have become the ultimate no-no in today’s diet, many companies have cut trans fat from their products. However, it has led way to a manipulative marketing move to promote 0 grams of trans fat, without indicating the product’s level of saturated and total fat. Food labels know people are looking for the label that says “0 grams trans fat,” but they may skip over the saturated and total fat amount, which is just as important.

* “All natural”
The “all natural” stamp is one of the most abused and misleading food labels used by food manufacturers today. Many of these so-called “all natural” products use citric acid, high-fructose corn syrup and other unnatural additives, but still get to bear that positive label. Always check the ingredients list to know exactly what’s in your food.

* “Whole grains”
Chances are you’ve seen the label, “Made with Whole Grains,” pop up on bread, crackers or rice products now more than ever. The reality is that many of these whole grain products are actually made with refined wheat flour and maybe a small percentage of whole grains. In order to check the validity of the whole grains label, check out the listed ingredients. Unless “whole grains” is one of the first ingredients on the list or if you see “enriched wheat flour,” it’s likely that your product contains a small percentage of whole grains.

* “Fiber”
Food products that contain fiber has become a growing trend in the food industry because consumers are looking for foods that are going to keep them fuller for longer, help regulate their digestive systems and lower their blood sugar. Shoppers might see their favorite cereal bar or yogurt is labeled “a good source of fiber,” but they won’t see where the fiber comes from listed anywhere. Many of the products you find with the label “contains fiber” actually contain isolated fibers, like inulin, maltodextrin, pectin, gum and other purified powders that are added to boost the not-so-fibrous foods.

* “Light”
When a food label says “light” as in “extra light olive oil,” consumers are misled to think that a product is light in fat or the fat content has been cut in half. Unless the product says reduced fat, “light” is generally referring to a lighter color of the original product, such as light-colored olive oil.

* “Heart healthy”
Many of today’s foods claim to be “heart healthy,” but don’t have FDA approval or scientific evidence to support such bold claims. These types of “heart healthy” labels mislead consumers into thinking they will improve their heart health by eating this particular food. Considering that heart disease is the number one killer in America, this food label is dangerous to promote if it’s not true.

* “Low fat”
The label “low fat” can be very misleading to consumers because, while it may be low in fat, it may also be loaded with sugar or sodium that won’t be highlighted. In addition, manufacturers are playing into people’s awareness of fats and efforts to lower their fat intake by advertising exactly what they’re looking for. Don’t be fooled by a “low fat” food label without examining the rest of the nutrition facts, and making sure that the product is well-balanced and healthy in its other areas.

* “Low sugar”
Just like “low fat” indicators, “low sugar” food labels are misleading for consumers because it plays up one nutritional factor to downplay a not-so-healthy factor, such as a high amount of calories, sugars or fat. Manufacturers also get around saying “contains sugar” by saying “lightly sweetened” or “no sugar added,” but you have to look at how much sugar is in each serving to know for sure.

* “Free range”
The “free range” food label can be found on meat, dairy and eggs at your local grocery store, but this progressive way of farming is not always as it seems. What consumers may not know and won’t see on their “free range” foods is that the USDA regulations only apply to poultry. Therefore, “free range” beef, pork and other non-poultry animals were fed grass and allowed to live outdoors, but their products are not regulated by the USDA. Another misconception consumers have about “free range” is that these products are also organic. Unless it’s labeled free range AND organic, free range animals may be fed nonorganic fed that could contain animal byproducts and hormones.

* “Fresh”
The “fresh” food label can be very misleading to consumers, by making them think their chicken was killed the day before, or their “freshly squeezed” orange juice was prepared that day. The label “fresh” simply means that it was not frozen or is uncooked, but many of these products are allowed to be chilled, kept on ice or in modified atmospheres to keep them from spoiling. does not endorse specific views about nutrition or exercise, but presents interesting news and information worth reading about. As always, consult a physician or nutrition professional before making any major changes to your diet. Be sure to SCORE your foods so that you’re empowered to make good food choices. The Food Facts Health Score is FREE to use with your free membership at

Research links the reoccurrence of colon cancer to high-carb diets wanted to share this research information with our community regarding the reoccurrence of colon cancer and a possible link to eating a diet high in carbs. There’s been plenty of back and forth opinion in the last few years regarding the value of a low-carb diet. So we thought this information was particularly noteworthy.

A new study was conducted on over 1,000 adults 60 and over who had undergone surgery and chemotherapy for Stage 3 colon cancer. In Stage 3, the cancer had already spread to the lymph nodes in the area surrounding the colon but had not moved to other parts of the body. Over a seven year period, the cancer reoccurred in 343 people. 262 of them died (and so did 43 others who did not have their cancer reoccur). Of these people, those who ate the most carb-rich diet were 80 percent more likely to have their colon cancer return. And among those who were overweight, high carb consumption more than doubled their risk for the recurrence of their cancer.

Colorectal cancer affects nearly 144,000 people in the U.S. every year. Most of those are over 50. This cancer ranks second in cancer deaths and affects both men and women.
It’s important to note that the dietary information reviewed in the study came directly from the participants’ responses to questionnaires that they were required to fill out periodically. Because of this the evidence is inconclusive. While the results to suggest a link between cancer recurrence and high-carb diets, it cannot prove that those diets are the cause of the cancer’s return.

So, as with most studies, more research will be required to confirm the association found between high carbohydrate intake and colon cancer reoccurrence., however, is encouraged to learn that we may possibly have an answer in the future to making sure this disease stays in remission for the people who are sadly affected by it every year. Small steps are good steps when it comes to nutritional help for disease.

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Link between Omega-3s and postpartum depression found some helpful information today regarding Omega-3s and postpartum depression.

A new study out of the University of Montreal has shown a possible link between levels of Omega-3s and this debilitating depression that occurs after giving birth in some women. Previously a link had been found between Omega-3 deficiencies and depression in mice.

Because omega-3 fatty acids are transmitted from the mother to her child while in utero and then after birth through breastfeeding, a deficiency can develop in the mother. This can cause an omega-3 deficiency to develop in the mother. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fatty fish and in certain nuts and seeds.

The research analyzed the data collected in 75 earlier studies on Omega-3 fatty acid levels and a gene known as the 5-HTT gene. This is the gene that controls the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a mood regulator in our brain. Typically, serotonin levels drop in pregnant women because tryptophan, the chemical used to produce serotonin is redirected to support the growing fetus. The research explored the idea that perhaps raising the levels of Omega-3 fatty acids might increase the 5-HTT gene and raise serotonin levels in the brain of the expectant mother … thereby alleviating depression.

It does appear that increased levels of Omega-3 fatty acids found in certain fish, nuts and seeds can, in fact, have a positive effect on postpartum depression. Gabriel Shapiro, who led the study, commented, “The literature shows that there could be a link between pregnancy, omega-3 and the chemical reaction that enables serotonin, a mood regulator, to be released into our brains. So much of what we know about postpartum depression has to do with risk factors that are difficult, if not impossible to change – things like socioeconomic status, personal history of depression or genetic exposures.” This study would seem to point to a new direction, one which might be more easily treatable, and ultimately, solvable.

While understands that more research must be done to conclusively prove these findings, it would seem fairly simple for pregnant women to up their consumption of Omega-3 fatty acid rich fish, nuts and seeds – or to safely supplement with appropriate nutritionals under the guidance of their doctors.

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First it was Monster Energy and now it’s 5 -Hour Energy. 13 deaths in four years …

Last month, shared information with our community regarding Monster Energy Drinks and their dangers. Today, we’re bringing you expanded information on the dangers of energy drinks.

Over the last four years, 13 deaths have been reported that implicate 5-Hour Energy drink as a cause of death. Keep in mind that energy drinks are regulated differently than other caffeinated beverages and that these reports seem to be coming to light more and more often.

It appears that in the last three years, this particular brand (5-Hour Energy) has been cited in at least 90 filings with the F.D.A. More than 30 of those citings involved serious and/or life-threatening injuries. These would include heart attacks, convulsions and a spontaneous abortion. Of course, the report filed with the F.D.A. doesn’t mean that the product was actually responsible for death or injury or in any way contributed to it. But the product was consumed by the people who died or were injured. And that commonality seems to be growing.

Living Essentials, the distributor of 5-Hour Energy made a statement that their product was safe when used as directed and said that it was unaware of any deaths PROVEN to be caused by consuming their product.

Energy drink manufacturers are coming up against heavy criticisms regarding health risks and how they are labeling their products. Because they can fall into the cloudy category of dietary supplements, they are not required to fully disclose their caffeine content. Many lawmakers are asking the F.D.A. to get tougher on their regulations of these products.
5-Hour Energy doesn’t look like most other energy drinks on the market. It’s a small bottle and refers to itself as a “shot”. So consumers are under the impressions that they are getting a smaller amount of an “energy drink”. Consumer Reports recently reported the caffeine content of 5-Hour Energy at around about 215 milligrams. That’s about twice the amount of caffeine as is contained in an 8-ounce cup of coffee. Since it’s about twice as small, some folks might not realize it.

The problems that the F.D.A. faces have to do with how manufacturers classify their products. Some energy drinks, like Red Bull, are classified as beverages. They are governed under different rules than those marketed as dietary supplements. Sort of shorthand for “they can get away with not reporting what they actually contain” if they are classified as dietary supplements.

Daniel Fabricant is the director of the F.D.A’s division of dietary supplement programs. He’s made a statement that the agency is looking into the death reports that have cited 5-Hour Energy. While he says that medical information can, in fact, rule out a link between the deaths and 5-Hour Energy products, he’s also stating that reports may contain insufficient information to implicate the product in the fatalities. has always remained wary of the benefits of energy drinks, most especially because of their appeal to teenagers. Recommended intake of caffeine is very different for young people than adults and we know that the appeal of energy drinks is largely with the younger population. We have a lot we need to say NO to as parents and as other adults who care for young people. Let’s make sure we add energy drinks to that list. Educate your own children and others that you care about regarding the dangers inherent to these controversial products.

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The fight to have GMOs labeled in our foods isn’t over yet! Goldfish Crackers have been cited in a lawsuit targeting genetically modified soy … and those in our community were very disappointed by the defeat of Proposition 37 in the California elections last week. But we are happy to report tonight that it’s becoming more and more obvious that the fight is not over yet and there are folks taking action against popular products that contain genetically modified ingredients.

Last week a complaint was filed by Sonya Bolerjack against Pepperidge Farm that states that the company has “mistakenly or misleadingly represented that its Cheddar Goldfish crackers are “Natural” when in fact, they are not, because they contain geneticially modified organisms in the form of soy and/or soy derivatives.” The plaintiff went further, stating that “genetically modified soy products contain genes and/or DNA that would not normally be in them, and are, thus, not natural.”

This is a $5 Million dollar class action lawsuit. The plaintiff is claiming that she never would have bought the product if she had been aware that it contained genetically modified ingredients. She went further to explain that she took the products labeling as truth. The front of the Goldfish cracker package reads “Natural” in rather bold display. She is, therefore saying that the labeling and advertising is false and/or misleading and because of that, she did not get what she paid for.

While lawsuits like this will become more and more common, is fairly certain that the food industry is feeling comfortable that the issue will fade with the election. We know for sure, in fact, that Illinois, Alaska, North Carolina, Iowa, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Washington, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Vermont, Tennessee, Hawaii, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Michigan and New Hampshire have all introduced bills that would require the labeling of GMOs. Additionally, in the last few years, lawsuits have been filed against other companies including Frito-Lay regarding product labeling for genetically modified ingredients. thinks that lawsuits like those filed by Sony Bolerjack make a lot of sense. She’s right, she didn’t get the product she thought she paid for. Check it out for yourself right here: And she spent money for a product repeatedly that was misrepresented as “natural” when many of the basic ingredients aren’t. Millions of food consumers take food companies at their word … or “at their labeling” and are often shocked to discover they’ve been misled. Why wouldn’t she want her money back? feels strongly that consumers everywhere need to make their voices heard, just like the plaintiff in this lawsuit. If we can speak loudly enough, they’ll hear us over the big money that put down Proposition 37 in the state of California and hear us in court cases like the one we’ve highlighted hear all over the country.

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Aspartame, cancer and controversy read an interesting new study today that we wanted to make sure to share with you. This long-term research has actually linked aspartame to blood cancers in humans. Cancers like leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma are all blood-related and of tremendous concern for the population

The research period lasted 22 years and showed that drinking one or more soft drinks containing aspartame every day increases the risk of the development of several blood-related cancers in men. Coming out of the Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

It was determined by the end of the study that men who consumed one or more sodas each day that were sweetened with aspartame had an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma compared with men who didn’t drink diet sodas. The women involved in the study showed no increased risk, regardless of whether or not they drank diet soda.

While the study was fairly intensive and certainly long-term, there are many questions surrounding the validity of the results. It appeared that the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma was also increased among men who drank higher amounts of soda sweetened with sugar. There are many different ingredients present in all soda – diet or regular – that may be carcinogenic, that and many are saying that this alone weakens the implication of aspartame as the cancer cause. A controversy is brewing over the “questionable” strength of the results.

It’s important to note that this is the longest study to date that has been done on the possible relationship between aspartame and cancer. The longest research before this spanned only four and a half months. While the beverage industry responded to this newest research by reminding us that aspartame has been declared safe by the world’s leading scientists for decades, the studies performed in the past were always short-term. Toxicity may not be apparent from this type of exposure.

Aspartame contains methanol. When methanol is metabolized by the body it becomes formaldehyde which can damage protein and DNA, leading to the risk of cancer and autoimmune disease. While understands that the concluding data in this research does hold some questions, we’re also well aware that aspartame is, to say the least, a questionable ingredient in our food supply. We also understand that food and beverage manufacturers using aspartame in their products have a lot to potentially lose from these findings. We’ll be keeping an eye on the controversy that may be forming around this study and keep you posted. In the meanwhile, read more about it: