Category Archives: healthy eating

Does your grocery store need a report card?

86bf5e4c9ba8cc34898721bf992b4bf5Does your grocery store do its best to encourage healthy eating for its customers? FoodFacts.com knows that there’s a lot of promotion going on in grocery stores throughout America. There’s signage promoting sales. There are displays throughout the store emphasizing a variety of different items. Vegetables and fruits that are in season often take center stage. Sale items are often on display. It’s all done in the hope that you’ll modify your shopping list to include those items they want you to purchase. There’s a possible down side to that though, with the possibility that individual stores may be putting unhealthy items on display.

Is your favorite grocery store making you fat? According to new research findings, a Grocer Retailer Scorecard may be an effective, healthy shopping tool that benefits both grocers and shoppers. “Grocers can benefit from encouraging healthy shopping practices because they can sell more perishable items like fruits and vegetables rather than tossing them in the dumpster after a few days,” says lead researcher Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University and author of the new book, Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life, “The benefit to shoppers is obvious; healthier groceries result in healthier eating!”

Using principles of behavioral economics and psychology, Food and Brand Lab researchers identified 100 changes that grocers could employ to make it easier for shoppers to make healthier food selections used them to create a Grocery Retailer Scorecard. They then tested the scorecard in a large grocery store chain to see if it could be reliably used by shoppers to rate whether a grocery store is helping them to be healthy or heavy.

The researchers concluded that Grocer Retailer Scorecards can be a reliable way to rate how healthy a grocery store is. A person with no training can confidently use such scorecards to rate their favorite store to determine whether it makes it easier or harder for them to select and purchase healthy foods. The scorecards can also be used by the grocers themselves to make evidence based healthy changes to their stores that promote healthier purchases.

FoodFacts.com will be curious about the results of the tests that have been done. While we know and understand that shopping the outside aisles is an important way to keep the majority of your purchases fresh and healthy, we also know that it’s very easy to find yourself perusing the other areas. It’s easy to understand how the store itself can influence purchases through sales, signage, and displays. Is the store making it easy for their customers to find and choose fresh, healthy foods? Are seasonal displays attractive and easy to locate? Are only processed foods in boxes and cans on sale?

How do you think your grocery store would score?

This is an interesting idea and one that we’ll follow up on after the results are published. We look to food manufacturers to improve the quality of their offerings. We educate ourselves on the foods available in our grocery store. It makes sense to involve the stores themselves in the process of grocery shopping for good health. They’re a link in the chain of healthy eating and they should participate in the process.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150722154617.htm

Introducing the sixth taste … meet the flavor of fat

te of fatFoodFacts.com is curious as to how many in our community can name the five tastes. Think about it for a minute because we’re sure a few of them will roll off your tongue. And then you might get stuck.

They are as follows: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (or savory). Even though you may not have gotten all the way to umami, these are pretty familiar concepts and have to do with what our taste buds can identify in food. Now scientists say there’s actually a sixth and the new taste doesn’t appear to be incredibly tasty.

Move over sweet and sour, scientists say they’ve identified a distinct new taste: fat. And while fat has a reputation for making foods taste good (think bacon or french fries), researchers say in isolation it’s not so appealing.

The taste of fat, which researchers call “oleogustus” (a combination of the Latin terms for oil and taste), is a distinct flavor and, as a new study in the journal Chemical Senses reports, quite unpleasant.

Identification of this new taste could provide insight into ways to fight obesity and how to develop food products to optimize health.

To see if people could identify the distinct taste of fat, volunteers sampled a variety of tastes, including non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), free fatty acids that are the building blocks of fat, and sorted them into groups with similar tastes. All of the food samples in the study had the same texture and only a difference in flavor. The volunteers wore nose clips during the experiment so their sense of smell would not sway their perception of taste.

Participants grouped the samples into piles that they self-identified as sweet, sour, salty and bitter. The bitter pile included nebulous flavors that participants could not quite label, such as umami (often described as meaty or savory) or fat.

In a second experiment, participants sampled only from the bitter pile, were able to isolate fat as its own flavor, and it was described as bitter and unpalatable.

“They were struggling to say something that they don’t have a word for,” the lead author of the study, Dr. Richard Mattes, a professor of food and nutrition at Purdue University, told CBS News. “They said things like irritating, nauseating — generic terms to say this is really unpleasant.”

Mattes suggested that the taste of fat might have been so unpleasant because of the high concentrations of flavors used in the study. He likened it to the same way bitter stimulus is unpalatable, except when it is used in lower concentrations or put in the right context like in coffee or wine.

Thus high qualities of the fat taste are a warning sign that food is bad or rancid.

“Depending on the form of fat in food, you either get a message that promotes or discourages ingestion,” Matte said.

Mattes believes that his work could help to improve the quality of fat modified products and how we understand taste.

“Taste, perhaps is not quite as limited a sense as we thought,” he said.

Fat is a taste and apparently it’s not a pleasant one. Instead it notifies us when a food has turned bad. When combined with other flavors like salt and sweet, however, we’re getting different signals about the taste.

FoodFacts.com wonders if science will ever discover the taste of health … a signature taste you identify upon eating foods that are good for your body that you immediately perceive as pleasant and want more of.

We’re waiting for that one. Science, are you listening?

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/scientists-discover-the-taste-of-fat-and-its-disgusting/

How about some Baconater Fries to go with that Baconater?

Wendy's_logo_2012.svgWho knows, maybe someday Wendy’s will find a way to offer a Baconater Coke. Or maybe a Baconater Frosty.

Seriously, Wendy’s is doubling down on the bacon with the introduction of Baconater Fries. This can’t be good folks. It doesn’t take the FoodFacts.com database to figure that out. All we need to do is read the name and we can make certain assumptions. Too much fat. Too much salt. Nasty ingredients. Let’s see if we’re right.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                          490
Fat:                                   28 grams
Saturated Fat:                9 grams
Sodium:                          550 mg

These fries pack on the calories, fat and sodium. And they’re simply a meal component, not a meal by themselves. Based on that idea alone, these fries are a bad idea.

So what’s inside these French fries slathered in cheese sauce and bacon?

Cheddar Cheese Sauce: Water, Cheddar Cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), Milk, Cream Cheese Spread (pasteurized milk and cream, cheese culture, salt, carob bean gum), Modified Cornstarch, Non Fat Dry Milk, Soybean Oil, Palm Oil, Whey, Sodium Phosphate, Cream, Cheese Culture, Milk Fat, Parmesan Cheese (pasteurized part-skim milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzyme), Butter, Salt And Sea Salt, Sodium Alginate, Carob Bean Gum, Mono & Diglycerides, Annatto And Apocarotenal (for color), Lactic Acid. CONTAINS: MILK. Natural-Cut Fries: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (contains one or more of the following oils: canola, soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, corn), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (to maintain natural color). Cooked in Soybean Oil, Vegetable Oil (may contain one or more of the following: canola, corn, cottonseed), Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid (preservative), Dimethylpolysiloxane (anti-foaming agent). Cooked in the same oil as menu items that contain Wheat, Egg, and Fish (where available). Seasoned with Sea Salt. Cheddar Cheese, Shredded: Cultured Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto Color, Potato Starch and Powdered Cellulose (to prevent caking), Natamycin (natural mold inhibitor). CONTAINS: MILK. Applewood Smoked Bacon: Pork Cured With: Water, Salt, Sugar, Sodium Phosphates, Sodium Eryhthobate, Sodium Nitrite.

Not the recipe for french fries we like to see. That’s an awful lot of ingredients for one order of fries. Baconater French Fries aren’t a healthy choice. If you pair them up with a Baconater Burger, you’ve got quite a recipe for unhealthy effects happening. It’s definitely not something we’ll be eating.

https://www.wendys.com/en-us/nutrition-info

New sugar consumption recommendations out of England may be worth taking a look at for other nations

Added-fructose-is-key-driver-of-type-2-diabetes-warn-experts_strict_xxlIt appears that the U.S. isn’t the only country with an excessive sweet tooth. New recommendations have been introduced recommending another significant reduction in sugar consumption for the British population.

• Adults and children should get no more than 5%, down from the previous 10%, of their energy intake from ‘free’ sugars – this is equivalent to 5-7 teaspoons of sugar

• Sugar-sweetened beverages should be drunk as infrequently as possible by both adults and children

• The recommended fibre intake should increase to 30g per day (equivalent to about a quarter more than the old guidelines)

That’s a big change – so what happens next? And how is this linked to cancer anyway?

Importantly, there isn’t conclusive evidence that sugar itself causes cancer cells to grow or spread (despite persistent myths that claim there is). But what is crystal clear is that eating more sugary food and drink increases total energy intake, which can lead to being overweight or obese – the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. Being overweight and not having a healthy, balanced diet causes 49,100 extra cases of cancer every year.

The UK consumes too much sugar. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that every age group exceeded even the previous guidelines – that people should get no more than 10% of their energy intake from free sugars. This is a particular problem for teenagers, who appear to get more than 15% of their energy intake from free sugars – three times the new guideline.

The new guidelines also reaffirm a definition for ‘free sugars’, which until now has not been a well-understood term. The Committee recommends that free sugars are defined as both sugars which are added to food by the cook, customer, or manufacturer (sugars like glucose and fructose), and sugars naturally present in products like honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices.

Halving the recommended maximum level of sugar intake is a clear statement that the Committee agrees with the evidence that reducing the amount of sugar in our diets can have clear benefits for a person’s health.

FoodFacts.com knows that the whole world has a sweet tooth. We also know that it’s growing increasingly difficult for anyone to do anything about reducing their sugar intake while still relying on processed, prepared products. It’s the same story everywhere. The only remedy is cooking real food with fresh, whole ingredients in our own kitchens. When we take control of our diets, we take control of our health.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-07-health-england-halving-sugar-consumption.html

Possibly the best tasting heart healthy food that exists … eat more chocolate for a healthier heart!

chocEating up to 100 g of chocolate every day is linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk, finds research published online in the journal Heart.

There doesn’t seem to be any evidence for cutting out chocolate to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, conclude the researchers.

They base their findings on almost 21,000 adults taking part in the EPIC-Norfolk study, which is tracking the impact of diet on the long term health of 25,000 men and women in Norfolk, England, using food frequency and lifestyle questionnaires.

The researchers also carried out a systematic review of the available international published evidence on the links between chocolate and cardiovascular disease, involving almost 158,000 people–including the EPIC study participants.

The EPIC-Norfolk participants (9214 men and 11 737 women) were monitored for an average of almost 12 years, during which time 3013 (14%) people experienced either an episode of fatal or non-fatal coronary heart disease or stroke.

Around one in five (20%) participants said they did not eat any chocolate, but among the others, daily consumption averaged 7 g, with some eating up to 100 g.

Higher levels of consumption were associated with younger age and lower weight (BMI), waist: hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, inflammatory proteins, diabetes and more regular physical activity –all of which add up to a favourable cardiovascular disease risk profile.

Eating more chocolate was also associated with higher energy intake and a diet containing more fat and carbs and less protein and alcohol.

The calculations showed that compared with those who ate no chocolate higher intake was linked to an 11% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 25% lower risk of associated death.

It was also associated with a 9% lower risk of hospital admission or death as a result of coronary heart disease, after taking account of dietary factors.

And among the 16,000 people whose inflammatory protein (CRP) level had been measured, those eating the most chocolate seemed to have an 18% lower risk than those who ate the least.

The highest chocolate intake was similarly associated with a 23% lower risk of stroke, even after taking account of other potential risk factors.

Of nine relevant studies included in the systematic review, five studies each assessed coronary heart disease and stroke outcome, and they found a significantly lower risk of both conditions associated with regular chocolate consumption.

And it was linked to a 25% lower risk of any episode of cardiovascular disease and a 45% lower risk of associated death.

This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn. And the researchers point out that food frequency questionnaires do involve a certain amount of recall bias and underestimation of items eaten.

Reverse causation–whereby those with a higher cardiovascular disease risk profile eat less chocolate and foods containing it than those who are healthier–may also help to explain the results, they say.

Nevertheless, they add: “Cumulative evidence suggests that higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events.”

And they point out that as milk chocolate, which is considered to be less ‘healthy’ than dark chocolate, was more frequently eaten by the EPIC-Norfolk participants, the beneficial health effects may extend to this type of chocolate too.

“This may indicate that not only flavonoids, but also other compounds, possibly related to milk constituents, such as calcium and fatty acids, may provide an explanation for the observed association,” they suggest.

And they conclude: “There does not appear to be any evidence to say that chocolate should be avoided in those who are concerned about cardiovascular risk.”

FoodFacts.com knows that there are so many in our community who will love this idea. An indulgence that actually does something good for the heart … now, perhaps someone can find something heart healthy about ice cream (doubtful, we know, but we can dream.)

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150615191518.htm

Only one in five Americans are eating their five a day

parsnip soup1There’s definitely a good reason why every adult remembers being sternly told to “eat your vegetables,” and why those same adults tell their children the same thing. Our bodies need fruits and vegetables. They’re an essential component to our good health. So FoodFacts.com was dismayed to read information today that clearly shows that not many of us have really gotten the message.

In every state in the U.S., fewer than one in five American adults are eating enough fruit and vegetables, new federal data shows.

In a report published July 9 using nationwide surveys that looked at produce intake in 2013, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that while states vary when it comes to fruit and vegetable consumption, they all could use improvement in the produce department. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans consume 1.5 to two cups of fruit every day, along with two to three cups of vegetables. Fruits and vegetables add necessary dietary nutrients, which help maintain healthy body weight and keep health risks like heart disease, stroke and some cancers at bay, the CDC reports.

Even so, only 6% of people in Mississippi met government recommendations for vegetables, while 13% of people in California met them. Fruit didn’t fare much better. The most fruit-averse state was Tennessee, where only 8% of people met government recommendations, while in California, 18% of people met those recommendations.

The new data, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, reveals that overall, only 13% of the survey respondents met the recommendations for fruit intake and only about 9% met the vegetable intake recommendations. Past research indicates that children in the U.S. are often not meeting produce requirements either, the study authors write.

“Substantial new efforts are needed to build consumer demand for fruits and vegetables through competitive pricing, placement, and promotion in child care, schools, grocery stores, communities, and worksites,” the study authors conclude.

We’ve always thought that the best thing about fruits and vegetables is the variety available to us. If you don’t find one palatable, there are others to try. Incorporating fruits and vegetables into a healthy diet is actually easier than removing or reducing your consumption of other foods. While it may take some thought and some experimentation, the addition of healthy fruits and vegetables into your daily meal planning can, in fact, present you with new flavor combinations and a better overall eating experience. Five a day (or seven as some have stated) doesn’t have to be a chore. Let’s all try to pay more attention to giving our bodies the healthy, clean and beneficial foods they deserve. A little extra thought can go a long way to getting your five a day!

http://time.com/3950253/fruits-vegetables-intake/

Are full-service restaurants healthier choices than fast food chains? Not really.

Spanish_Eating_Out_070615Here at FoodFacts.com we spend a lot of time talking about how unhealthy fast food restaurants are. We talk about calorie and fat levels. We’re continually shocked by the amount of sodium packed into one hamburger. And we always want to stay far away from ingredient lists that could possibly double as science experiments.

Many people assume that any food that isn’t fast food has to be better for you. We’ll admit that it’s a logical assumption. A full-service restaurant has an actual chef. The food doesn’t arrive already prepared and frozen. It’s prepared in a real kitchen, and it’s fresh. That has to make a difference, right? Read on.

When Americans go out to eat, either at a fast-food outlet or a full-service restaurant, they consume, on average, about 200 more calories a day than when they stay home for meals, a new study reports. They also take in more fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium than those who prepare and eat their meals at home.

These are the findings of University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An, who analyzed eight years of nationally representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. An looked at 2003-10 data collected from 18,098 adults living in the U.S.

His analysis, reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, revealed that eating at a restaurant is comparable to — or in some cases less healthy than — eating at a fast-food outlet. While people who eat at restaurants tend to take in more healthy nutrients — including certain vitamins, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids — than those who eat at home or at a fast-food outlet, the restaurant diners also consume substantially more sodium and cholesterol — two nutrients that Americans generally eat in excess, even at home.

“People who ate at full-service restaurants consumed significantly more cholesterol per day than people who ate at home,” An said. “This extra intake of cholesterol, about 58 milligrams per day, accounts for 20 percent of the recommended upper bound of total cholesterol intake of 300 milligrams per day.”

Those who ate at fast-food outlets also took in extra cholesterol, but only about 10 milligrams more than those who ate at home.
Fast-food and restaurant diners consumed about 10 grams more total fat, and 3.49 grams and 2.46 grams, respectively, more saturated fat than those who dined at home.

“The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of saturated fats one eats to less than 5 to 6 percent of one’s total daily calories,” An said. “That means that if one needs about 2,000 calories a day, less than 120 calories, or 13 grams, should come from saturated fats.”

Eating at a fast-food outlet adds about 300 milligrams of sodium to one’s daily intake, and restaurant dining boosts sodium intake by 412 milligrams per day, on average, An said. Recommendations for sodium intake vary between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams per day, but Americans already consume more than 3,100 milligrams of sodium at home, he found.

“The additional sodium is even more worrisome because the average daily sodium intake among Americans is already so far above the recommended upper limit, posing a significant public health concern, such as hypertension and heart disease,” he said.

“These findings reveal that eating at a full-service restaurant is not necessarily healthier than eating at a fast-food outlet,” An said. “In fact, you may be at higher risk of overeating in a full-service restaurant than when eating fast-food. My advice to those hoping to consume a healthy diet and not overeat is that it is healthier to prepare your own foods, and to avoid eating outside the home whenever possible.”

The conclusion emphasizes what FoodFacts.com has been saying for years. Fresh, whole foods prepared in your own home kitchen are the healthiest option for all of us. As we become busier and busier in a world that becomes increasingly more sophisticated and complicated, it is so important for us all to carve out time every day focusing on ourselves. We’ve already got the hang of that in some areas. Folks who go to the gym, for instance, do that pretty successfully. But we’ve got to commit to time to prepare meals, as well. We’ll all be better off for the effort.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150701123350.htm

Moms who love their families serve vegetables. Who knew???

child_eating_vegetablesFoodFacts.com has always known that when it comes to parenting, our kids remember the little things. They like it when we remember to take the crusts off their peanut butter sandwiches, or add just the right amount of milk to their oatmeal. They remember how we taught them to tie their shoes with bunny ears and how we cut shapes out of their sandwiches to make their lunches more fun. So it didn’t surprise us to read this information about serving vegetables at dinner.

Do you want to be seen as a better cook and a more loving parent? It’s as easy as serving a vegetable at dinner, according to recent Cornell Food and Brand Lab research.

In the first study, 500 American mothers were presented with one of five common meat-based hypothetical meals that either contained a side vegetable or no vegetable. The five meals included entrees such as steak, chicken, and lasagna and sides such as potatoes, broccoli and breadsticks. Those who were presented with a meal including a vegetable side, such as broccoli, indicated that the main dish would taste better and that the server was a better cook. “Simply having a vegetable on the plate made the whole meal be perceived as tastier,” said lead author Brian Wansink, PhD director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and author of Slim by Design, “Even if they didn’t particularly like the vegetable.”

In the second study, these same 500 people read a day-in-the-life story of a woman named Valerie as she woke up, went to work, ran errands, made dinner for her family, and watched TV with her husband before going to bed. In one version of the story she prepared frozen green beans with dinner and in the other version she didn’t. After finishing the story, people were asked to describe Valerie as a person. When Valerie’s day included serving green beans she was more likely to be described as “thoughtful,” “attentive” and “capable.” When she was not described as serving a vegetable, she was more often described as “neglectful,” “selfish” and “boring.”

Families are most likely to consume vegetables at dinner time, yet only about 23% of dinners contain a full serving of vegetables. “If families want to eat more vegetables, dinner’s the place to start. If you serve vegetables at dinner, not only will your family think you’re a better cook, they’ll also think you’re a more loving parent,” said Dr. Wansink, “Within two days of discovering this, I changed the way I cook. I no longer say I’m too tired to make a vegetable. If nothing else, at least I open up a can of green beans.”

These findings compliment a recent publication in Public Health Nutrition, and it will be presented at the Society of Nutrition Education and Behavior’s Annual Conference 2015 in Pittsburgh.

So just remember, all that complaining you hear back from your kids about not wanting to eat their vegetables … all that almost visceral hatred directed towards an innocent pile of green beans or broccoli or Brussel sprouts … it doesn’t matter. They secretly think it means you love them more.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easier to get them to eat what’s good for them. It just means that somewhere inside, they really do get it and it’s worth it.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150626083917.htm

Lose abdominal fat, get smarter and live longer. A fast-mimicking diet might just do the trick!

Scientists-say-five-day-fast-mimicking-diet-is-safeRemember all those crazy fad diets from when you were a teenager? The grapefruit diet. The cabbage soup diet. The 7 day fast diet. Most of us happily tried those and more. Of course we lost weight. We put it right back on though. And we were, most likely, grumpy and irritable through the process. There’s been some research that points to the idea that fasting may have a place in a healthy lifestyle. (Of course, no one’s mentioned anything about fasting on cabbage soup!) New Information is linking a fast-mimicking diet to many important health benefits.

New research led by USC’s Valter Longo shows that periodically adopting a diet that mimics the effects of fasting may yield a wide range of health benefits.

In a new study, Longo and his colleagues show that cycles of a four-day low-calorie diet that mimics fasting (FMD) cut visceral belly fat and elevated the number of progenitor and stem cells in several organs of old mice — including the brain, where it boosted neural regeneration and improved learning and memory.

The mouse tests were part of a three-tiered study on periodic fasting’s effects — testing yeast, mice and humans — set to be published by Cell Metabolismon June 18.

Mice, which have relatively short life spans, provided details about fasting’s lifelong effects. Yeast, which are simpler organisms, allowed Longo to uncover the biological mechanisms that fasting triggers at a cellular level. And a pilot study in humans found evidence that the mouse and yeast studies were applicable to humans.

Bimonthly cycles that lasted four days of an FMD which started at middle age extended life span, reduced the incidence of cancer, boosted the immune system, reduced inflammatory diseases, slowed bone mineral density loss and improved the cognitive abilities of older mice tracked in the study. The total monthly calorie intake was the same for the FMD and control diet groups, indicating that the effects were not the result of an overall dietary restriction.

In a pilot human trial, three cycles of a similar diet given to 19 subjects once a month for five days decreased risk factors and biomarkers for aging, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer with no major adverse side effects, according to Longo.

‘Strict fasting is hard for people to stick to, and it can also be dangerous, so we developed a complex diet that triggers the same effects in the body,’ said Longo, Edna M. Jones professor of biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute. Longo has a joint appointment at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. ‘I’ve personally tried both, and the fasting mimicking diet is a lot easier and also a lot safer.’

The diet slashed the individual’s caloric intake down to 34 to 54 percent of normal, with a specific composition of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and micronutrients. It decreased amounts of the hormone IGF-I, which is required during development to grow, but it is a promoter of aging and has been linked to cancer susceptibility. It also increased the amount of the hormone IGFBP-, and reduced biomarkers/risk factors linked to diabetes and cardiovascular disease, including glucose, trunk fat and C-reactive protein without negatively affecting muscle and bone mass.

Longo has previously shown how fasting can help starve out cancer cells while protecting immune and other cells from chemotherapy toxicity.

‘It’s about reprogramming the body so it enters a slower aging mode, but also rejuvenating it through stem cell-based regeneration,’ Longo said. ‘It’s not a typical diet because it isn’t something you need to stay on.’

For 25 days a month, study participants went back to their regular eating habits — good or bad — once they finished the treatment. They were not asked to change their diet and still saw positive changes.

Longo believes that for most normal people, the FMD can be done every three to six months, depending on the abdominal circumference and health status. For obese subjects or those with elevated disease risk factors, the FMD could be recommended by the physician as often as once every two weeks. His group is testing its effect in a randomized clinical trial, which will be completed soon, with more than 70 subjects.

‘If the results remain as positive as the current ones, I believe this FMD will represent the first safe and effective intervention to promote positive changes associated with longevity and health span, which can be recommended by a physician,’ Longo said. ‘We will soon meet with FDA officers to pursue several FDA claims for disease prevention and treatment.’

Despite its positive effects, Longo cautioned against water-only fasting and warned even about attempting the fasting mimicking diet without first consulting a doctor and seeking their supervision throughout the process.

‘Not everyone is healthy enough to fast for five days, and the health consequences can be severe for a few who do it improperly,’ he said. ‘Water-only fasting should only be done in a specialized clinic. Also, certain types of very low calorie diets, and particularly those with high protein content, can increase the incidence of gallstones in women at risk’.

‘In contrast,’ he added, ‘the fasting mimicking diet tested in the trial can be done anywhere under the supervision of a physician and carefully following the guidelines established in the clinical trials.’

Longo also cautioned that diabetic subjects should not undergo either fasting or fasting mimicking diets while receiving insulin, metformin or similar drugs. He also said that subjects with body mass index less than 18 should not undergo the FMD diet.

For the study, Longo collaborated with researchers and clinicians from USC as well as from Texas, Italy and England. The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging.

FoodFacts.com is once again impressed by the power of diet in our health. This information is an impressive example pointing to the importance of diet on our longevity and function. It does sound as though the study authors will be pursuing further research and hopefully seeking out FDA approval for the fast mimicking diet as a preventive measure for disease and a boost for longevity. Food might be the real fountain of youth, after all.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150618134408.htm

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Food: Ingredient Word Clouds

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Food: Ingredient Word Clouds

Eating healthy can be tricky. Even when you make a conscious effort to make smart nutritional choices, it’s not always easy to know exactly what’s in your food. At the grocery store, shoppers can check the ingredient list on any packaged product, but when you’re out to eat, or grabbing something to go, you might not notice the long list of chemicals or additives that make up your favorite treats.

Foodfacts.com decided to have some fun with word clouds to illustrate just how extreme the difference is between whole, natural foods, and overly-processed, fast food menu items. As you might have guessed, fruits and vegetables are chock full of vitamins and minerals while processed foods like Culver’s fried cheese curds and Taco Bell’s epic Double Decker taco are brimming with complicated-sounding artificial ingredients.

Check out the word clouds below to see what different foods are made up of.

Taco Bell’s Double Decker Taco


 

Culver’s Wisconsin Cheese Curds


McDonald’s Big Mac


Black Beans


Quinoa


Broccoli