Starbucks gives non-dairy fans a reason to smile — coconut milk!

2D274907784499-starbucks.blocks_desktop_largeMore and more consumers are looking for non-dairy options for everything from their cereal to their coffee. And for some … soy milk has taken a back seat to other options they consider more healthful.  Coconut milk is becoming one of the favorite non-dairy options for so many. It tastes great and people are thrilled with the health benefits it offers.  While finding non-dairy options beyond soy milk has been a bit difficult for consumers, some forward-thinking coffee chains have been embracing the needs of the non-dairy consumer.   Starbucks is the latest chain to join the trend.

Starbucks announced it’s adding coconut milk to its menu starting later in February.

The coffee chain said customers have been asking for a non-dairy alternative to soy, and Starbucks chose coconut milk over almond milk because of fewer “allergen challenges,” according to a statement. But the brand’s latest option appears to have several additional benefits — including a potentially better cup of joe than other milk alternatives.

A Starbucks spokesperson told that more than 84,000 people voted that the brand should introduce another non-dairy alternative on its website, and it tested coconut milk in about 600 stores last year to see what customers thought.

Starbucks chose coconut milk because its “rich creaminess” tasted best with its coffee and espresso, the spokesperson added.

Alex Bernson, a barista for eight years who now writes for the Portland-based coffee website Sprudge, is no stranger to the alternative milk debate. He told that coconut milk is a good choice because it foams well — meaning you can have a real non-dairy cappuccino.

“Rice milk, you can’t steam at all. It gets hot but it doesn’t have any sort of foam,” said Bernson, who worked at several independent coffee shops. “Hemp doesn’t steam well and kind of tastes like milk that’s in the bottom of the bowl when you finish Lucky Charms.”

As for soy, Starbucks’ current only option for the non-dairy crowd, “it’s not the greatest,” Bernson said of the milk’s foaming abilities.

He questioned the mass market appeal of milks made from rice or hemp, for example, but noted coconut has already proven to be popular.

“There’s definitely been a coconut water craze in the last five years,” he said. “You see coconut oil used in lots of things, in holistic health and cooking.”

While soy has been a popular milk alternative for years, customers might be shifting away from soy milk for several reasons. Dana James, a nutritionist based in New York City, pointed out that it has more calories than milks made from nuts, like coconut.

“A cup of soy is 120 calories, versus a cup of coconut milk which can be anywhere from 40 to 60 calories,” James told Aside from additional calories, soy has been a controversial product for some time.

“It’s believed that 95 percent of soy is genetically modified, and it really raises concern for people,” James said.

Research into soy’s role in breast cancer is conflicted, but doctors suggest soy, like everything else, is okay in moderation. But while nut allergies are a well-known concern, some people may also have trouble tolerating soy.

Starbucks will offer coconut milk in its stores starting February 17. Just like soy milk, the option will cost customers 60 cents.

Starbucks joins a few other coffee chains who are catering to the needs of the substantial dairy-free population with an option other than soy milk. For instance, you can already find almond milk at Dunkin Donuts. is thrilled that Starbucks is recognizing the health needs of non-dairy consumers everywhere!

For a limited time only on your grocery store shelves … Red Velvet Oreos. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 11.39.10 AMIntroduced earlier in February and expected to last for about eight weeks — or until packages run out — Red Velvet Oreos are here to help you celebrate Valentine’s Day this weekend!

For all red velvet everything lovers, thought we should take a closer look at these very special limited edition Oreos. So let’s get started with the nutrition facts for a serving size of two cookies (even though we honestly don’t know anyone who eats only two):

Calories:                       140
Fat:                                7 grams
Saturated Fat:             2 grams
Sugar:                          13 grams

Admittedly, these don’t look any different than most cookies. The nutrition facts for Red Velvet Oreos are fairly standard. Of course, most folks would have to double those, because they’re likely eating four instead of two. But who are we to argue about the serving size? We can only hope that in the future the servings quoted will fall more in line with actual eating habits.

But what about the ingredients for these red-velvety treats?

Sugar, Unbleached Flour (What Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine, Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid) Palm and/or Canola Oil, Dextrose, Cocoa (natural and processed with Alkalai), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Brown Sugar, Cornstarch, Baking Soda, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Calcium Phosphate, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Artificial Color (Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Blue 1 Lake), Chocolate

While we didn’t think Oreos would approach the red in Red Velvet Oreos with beet juice (the natural and preferable way to achieve the expected color of red velvet anything), we didn’t quite expect the ingredient list to be as colorful as it actually is. Add to that some Natural and Artificial Flavor and a little High Fructose Corn Syrup and, as you might imagine, we’re not really thrilled.

While many may view it as complicated and time consuming, if we’re looking for a red-velvet Valentine’s Day treat, we’ll be making it ourselves in our own kitchens.

If you do decide to give Red Velvet Oreos a try, remember they’ll only be around for a short while.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

What is BHT and why does Food Babe want it out of our cereal? has always admired the hard work and perseverance of Vani Hari, the “Food Babe.” She’s taken on food manufacturers through petitions pointed directly at the removal of controversial ingredients, shining light through her blog on the dangers those ingredients pose to consumers. She’s been enormously successful on her quest — just last year she asked Subway to remove azodicarbonamide from its breads.

Now, she’s turning to cereal companies and started a petition just last week asking them to remove BHT from their products.

Butylated hydroxytoluene — or BHT — is a preservative that’s used to help foods retain their color, flavor and odor. It’s been linked to causing tumors in animals. It may be linked to the exacerbation of ADHD symptoms in children.

General Mills, Inc. said it began working to get butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) out of its cereals more than a year ago, or before blogger Vani Hari, better known as the “Food Babe,” started a petition Feb. 5 asking cereal companies to quit using BHT. More than 31,000 people out of a total U.S. population of 316,128,839, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, had signed the petition by midday on Feb. 6.

The Food and Drug Administration considers BHT, which is used to preserve freshness, as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for use in food, but Ms. Hari said scientific studies have found BHT caused tumors in animals such as mice. Also, cereal companies such as Minneapolis-based General Mills and the Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich., do not use BHT in the cereals they sell in Europe, she said.

“BHT is an F.D.A.-approved food ingredient, but we’re already well down the path of removing it from our cereals,” General Mills said Feb. 5. “This change is not for safety reasons, but because we think consumers will embrace it. We’ve never spoken with Vani Hari, and she did not play any role in our decision. Many of our U.S. Cereals do not contain BHT including: Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Trix, Kix and Lucky Charms. Our removal of BHT from cereals is well under way and has been for more than a year.”

Ms. Hari said several cereals sold in the United States, including Frosted Flakes, Wheaties and Froot Loops, contain BHT. She said General Mills on Jan. 21 sent an e-mail to her saying BHT was safe, but the e-mail said nothing about plans to remove BHT.

“I am not surprised that General Mills was so quick to announce their removal of BHT because obviously, as we have seen in Europe, they know how to formulate their cereals without BHT,” Ms. Hari said. “I am surprised and a bit amused by the response that the removal of this risky ingredient has been already in the works for a year. I understand from a business and legal perspective this is their response though I question the legitimacy of it taking so long to remove an ingredient they have already removed for citizens in other countries. Regardless I am happy and am ready to see General Mills care as much for the health of their consumers as they do their public relations and image as a company.”

Ms. Hari in her petition cited a study appearing in the January issue of Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. Researchers from the University of the Basque Country in Spain said the ubiquitous presence of BHT, its controversial toxicological data and a lack of information about its true dietary intake have increased consumer concern.

“Further research is needed to evaluate the current extent of human exposure to BHT and its metabolites, not only as a result of their presence in authorized foods, but also as related to other additional sources that reach the food chain, such as carryover processes from feed to farmed animal products, migration from plastic pipelines and packaging to water and food, and their presence in smoke flavorings and in natural environments,” the researchers said.

Some of the animal studies mentioned by Ms. Hari go further back in time, such as a study appearing in April 1989 in Carcinogenesis. University of Colorado researchers found that indirect and direct evidence implicates BHT-BuOH formation as a step in the chain of events leading to promotion of lung tumors in mice.

Keep up the great work, Food Babe! We’d love to see all food manufacturers addressing the issue of BHT by removing it from their products. Let’s all speak up with Vani Hari. Click here to add your name to the voices against the use of BHT in our foods:

Women drinking four cups of coffee every day reduce their risk of endometrial cancer

dgb550-cups._V162759609_Morning coffee. There are many people who can just hear the phrase and actually smell it, taste it and savor it in their mind. It wakes us up and somehow soothes us at the same time. Better yet, we know that there are health benefits associated with our favorite morning beverage. knows, though, that many are concerned with caffeine and try to limit their daily consumption. And, certainly, no one likes the jittery, bouncing off the wall feeling we can easily relate to consuming too much caffeine. We’ve just learned of yet another health benefit from coffee and thought it important to share — especially with the women in our community.

A new study has shown that a cup coffee may be more than enough in reducing women’s risk to endometrial cancer; researchers having evaluated dietary habits in more than 2,800 women diagnosed with the disease. The study found out that women who drank up to four cups of coffee on a daily basis had an 18% lowered risk of contracting endometrial cancer compared to women who drank less.

One trial test concluded that 37 ounces of coffee on a daily basis reduced endometrial cancer risk by 18% with another one attributing a reduction on 26 ounces a day. Endometrial Cancer is the most common type of cancer on female reproductive organs in the U.S., affecting nearly 1 of 37 women in their lifetime.

Researchers found a link between Coffee and lowered risk of endometrial cancer but not the cause and effect; the study also did not differentiate between regular and decaf. On the other hand, the study did not show how coffee lowered the risk although it has been found to be efficient in reducing estrogen levels.

It is estimated that approximately 54,870 women may contract the disease this year, which could lead to 10, 170 deaths. The finding of the study validates earlier research works that showed coffee may be beneficial in decreasing endometrial cancer with additional research still needed to affirm the link between endometrial cancer and Coffee.

No specific causes have been attributed to endometrial cancer although, researchers maintain hormonal imbalances as well as diabetes and obesity as some of the probable factors that may accelerate the risk of getting the disease.

Researchers in the study assessed the link between 84 foods and nutrients with a view of ascertaining the risk to endometrial cancer. Some of the foods that the study found could be associated with disease include total fat, phosphorus, carbohydrates as well as yogurt, butter and potatoes.

This is great information. While there’s no cause and effect realized from this study, the results are still valuable.

So, if you’re a woman and a coffee lover who isn’t too sensitive to the caffeine content of multiple cups — drink up! You may be reducing your cancer risks while you enjoy your morning joe!

Red wine the newest fat burner? thinks we all get excited when we hear that a food or beverage we feel somewhat guilty about is shown to have actual health benefits. Really, what’ s better than finding out that we really should be eating chocolate?

So what if you heard that red wine can burn fat? (Really, it’s red grapes and all products from them, including wine — but we’ll go with the wine — in moderation, of course.)

The latest research discovering the benefits of red wine was recently published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. The study, conducted by scientists working together at the University of Florida and the University of Nebraska, has revealed beneficial effects from many products of dark red grapes.

The new findings suggest that consuming dark colored grapes – whether in wine, grape juice, or straight off the vine – could help people manage metabolic disorders related to obesity, such as the accumulation of fat in the liver and the regulation of blood sugar. Of course, the benefits of eating or drinking grape products only appear when taken in moderation.

“We did not expect, and we did not find, these compounds to improve body weight,” said Neil Shay bluntly, a biochemist and molecular biologist at Oregon State University who formed part of the research team. However, “if we could develop a dietary strategy for reducing the harmful accumulation of fat in the liver, using common foods like grapes, then it would be good news,” he added.

In the study, lab-grown human liver and fat cells were exposed to four natural chemicals found in Muscadine grapes. Muscadine grapes are native to the southeastern United States, and are one of the deep red varieties. One of the chemicals in the experiment, ellagic acid, was observed to dramatically slow the growth of existing fat cells, and deter the growth of new fat cells. It also promoted the metabolism of fatty acids found in liver cells.

Another trial conducted by the researchers involved feeding diets supplemented by Pinot noir grape extracts to obese mice. A control group of mice with a normal diet of 10 percent fat was compared to other groups fed an unhealthy diet of 60 percent fat. Over a period of 10 weeks, the mice with the high-fat diet developed fatty liver and signs of diabetes, symptoms also commonly observed in overweight or sedentary humans.

However, some of the overweight mice were also fed the Pinot noir grape extracts. These groups were observed to have a reduced accumulation of fat in their livers, as well as lower blood sugar than other mice fed on the same high-fat diet. In fact, the grape extracts helped some mice achieve the same blood sugar levels as mice fed on the normal diet.

Red wine has been linked to many other health benefits, including fighting cancer and reducing memory loss, especially in the elderly. However, Shay does not want people to think that his intention is to replace medications. “We are trying to validate the specific contributions of certain foods for health benefits,” he said. “If you’re out food shopping, and if you know a certain kind of fruit is good for a health condition you have, wouldn’t you want to buy that fruit?”

We’ve known for awhile that red wine in moderation can offer a variety of health benefits. This new information gives us another great reason to enjoy a glass with a great, healthy meal. We’ll enjoy it even more knowing we may be doing more for our bodies than we originally thought!

Wendy’s new Bacon and Blue on Brioche … a bit much for fast food?

WendysWendy’s new Bacon and Blue on Brioche doesn’t sound much like a fast food burger. This limited edition burger attempts to elevate a fast food staple to a gourmet level. But are we really looking for gourmet fast food? isn’t sure about how to answer that. We know what we can answer though — and that’s what are we eating when we order the Bacon and Blue on Brioche.

First let’s take a look at the nutrition facts for the new burger:

Calories:                       650
Fat:                                39 grams
Saturated Fat:             16 grams
Trans Fat:                    1.5 grams
Sodium:                       1290 mg

We’d like to point out that even before we get to the ingredient list, we know we’re not going to be eating this one. The 39 grams of fat and 16 grams of saturated fat are bad enough. But that 1.5 grams of trans fat are 1.5 grams too many.

But let’s take a look at the ingredients and see what we think:

Tomatoes, Spring Mix: Baby Lettuces (red & green Romaine, red & green oak, red & green leaf, lolla Rosa, tango), Spinach, Mizuna Arugula, Tatsoi, Red Chard, Green Chard, Blue Cheese Herb Alioli: Soybean Oil, Water, Blue Cheese (milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), Egg Yolk, Distilled Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Herbs (including rosemary and thyme) And Spices, Garlic (dehydrated), Onion (dehydrated), Shallots, Mustard Seed, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate And Sodium Benzoate (preservatives), Glucono Delta Lactone, Xanthan Gum, Nonfat Dry Milk, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Calcium Disodium EDTA (to protect flavor). CONTAINS: EGG, MILK, Applewood Smoked Bacon: Pork Cured With: Water, Salt, Sugar, Sodium Phosphates, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite, Blue Cheese Crumbles: Blue Cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes, penicillium roqueforti), Powdered Cellulose (to prevent caking), Natamycin (to protect flavor). CONTAINS: MILK, ¼ Pound Hamburger Patty: Ground Beef. Seasoned with Salt, Brioche Bun: Enriched Wheat Flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Water, Sugar, Yeast, Buttermilk Powder (whey solids, enzyme-modified butter, maltodextrin, salt, guar gum, annatto and turmeric [color]), Egg Yolks, Butter, Salt, Dough Conditioner (wheat flour, DATEM, contains 2% or less of: silicon dioxide [flow aid], soybean oil, enzymes [wheat], calcium sulfate, salt), Dry Malt, Calcium Propionate, Dough Conditioner (degermed yellow corn flour, turmeric and paprika [color], contains 2% or less of: natural flavor), Egg Wash (eggs, water). CONTAINS: WHEAT, EGG, MILK.

So that confirms it. This one is a no for us. If the Bacon and Blue on Brioche was an effort to elevate the fast food burger, there were better ways to do it.

Another holiday, another new latte from Dunkin. The White Chocolate Raspberry Latte right in time for Valentine’s Day

1387790365401 (1)Valentine’s Day is coming up in a little over a week. As we make plans to show our love to the significant people in our lives, plan special Valentine’s dinners and perhaps even buy a special Valentine’s gift, we can be pretty positive that we’re going to see some special Valentine’s food products and beverages being offered up during this season of the heart. A little love in a cup, anyone?

Dunkin Donuts thinks they’ve got you covered this season with the White Chocolate Raspberry Latte. We’ll admit it, the name alone kind of puts us off a little because honestly we’re not expecting to find actual white chocolate and raspberries in there. We could be wrong, though, so before we pass judgement we thought it best to take a closer look.

Here are the nutrition facts for the medium White Chocolate Raspberry Latte (the most commonly sold size at Dunkin):

Calories:                    350
Fat:                            9 grams
Saturated Fat:          5 grams
Sugar:                       53 grams

You read that right — 53 grams of sugar in a 16 ounce cup. To put it in better perspective for you, a medium White Chocolate Raspberry Latte contains a little over 13 teaspoons of sugar.

Let’s see if the ingredients are any better:

Milk; Brewed Espresso Coffee; White Chocolate Raspberry Flavored Swirl Syrup: Sweetened Condensed Milk (Milk, Sugar), Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Salt; Heart Sprinkle Topping: Sugar, Rice Flour, Vegetable Oil (Palm, Palm Kernel), Corn Starch, Gum Arabic, Cellulose Gum, Confectioner’s Glaze, Carrageenan, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Red 40, Yellow 6, Soy Lecithin, Red 3, Artificial Flavor.

Yep … we called it. couldn’t find any white chocolate or raspberry in that list. Guess that’s what the natural and artificial flavors are for. There are plenty of other unappealing ingredients here.

Sorry Dunkin, the White Chocolate Raspberry Latte won’t be warming our hearts this Valentine’s Day.

Eat well, be happy

Diet-and-Mental-Health-300x245We’re all aware that the stigma surrounding mental health issues is beginning to dissipate. As it becomes more common for those affected to seek help and experience varying levels of relief and the science surrounding those issues has become more solid, knows that we’re definitely in better condition than we were thirty years ago. But the reasons the issues exist and finding effective treatment can sometimes remain elusive. A new study is showing that some of those answers have always been as close as our kitchen tables.

Published in The Lancet Psychiatry, leading academics state that as with a range of medical conditions, psychiatry and public health should now recognise and embrace diet and nutrition as key determinants of mental health.

Lead author, Dr Jerome Sarris from the University of Melbourne and a member of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR), said psychiatry is at a critical stage, with the current medically-focused model having achieved only modest benefits in addressing the global burden of poor mental health.

“While the determinants of mental health are complex, the emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a key factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders suggests that nutrition is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology,” Dr Sarris said.

“In the last few years, significant links have been established between nutritional quality and mental health. Scientifically rigorous studies have made important contributions to our understanding of the role of nutrition in mental health,” he said.

Findings of the review revealed that in addition to dietary improvement, evidence now supports the contention that nutrient-based prescription has the potential to assist in the management of mental disorders at the individual and population level.

Studies show that many of these nutrients have a clear link to brain health, including omega-3s, B vitamins (particularly folate and B12), choline, iron, zinc, magnesium, S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe), vitamin D, and amino acids.

“While we advocate for these to be consumed in the diet where possible, additional select prescription of these as nutraceuticals (nutrient supplements) may also be justified,” Dr Sarris said.

Associate Professor Felice Jacka, a Principal Research Fellow from Deakin University and president of the ISNPR noted that many studies have shown associations between healthy dietary patterns and a reduced prevalence of and risk for depression and suicide across cultures and age groups.

“Maternal and early-life nutrition is also emerging as a factor in mental health outcomes in children, while severe deficiencies in some essential nutrients during critical developmental periods have long been implicated in the development of both depressive and psychotic disorders,” she said.

A systematic review published in late 2014 has also confirmed a relationship between ‘unhealthy’ dietary patterns and poorer mental health in children and adolescents. Given the early age of onset for depression and anxiety, these data point to dietary improvement as a way of preventing the initial incidence of common mental disorders.

Dr Sarris, an executive member of the ISNPR, believes that it is time to advocate for a more integrative approach to psychiatry, with diet and nutrition as key elements.

“It is time for clinicians to consider diet and additional nutrients as part of the treating package to manage the enormous burden of mental ill health,” he said.

There have been studies conducted regarding the effect of junk food consumption on mental health. We know that eating well provides our bodies with the necessary fuel to function optimally. So we’re not surprised by these findings. We’d love to see this news on our televisions and on the web being broadcast loud and clear to the masses. Until then, let’s all share our knowledge and help people understand that healthy food is a necessary component to good mental health.

Sugar consumption driving obesity and diabetes has conscientiously covered news regarding the obesity crisis for the last few years. We’ve covered junk food, fast food, processed food, white bread, chocolate, and genetics (among hundreds of other things) as links to obesity and weight gain. The research we read today though, made so much sense. That sense began with the concepts behind the study.

In the report, published Thursday in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a team of researchers performed a literature review to determine whether certain ingredients are much more dangerous than others when it comes to diabetes, and to challenge the idea that all calories are equal. To do so, they looked at the effects of carbohydrates from similar calories. They compared starch, pure glucose and lactose to added sugars like sucrose (table sugar) and fructose, which occurs naturally in fruit but which we mostly consume as a sweetener, such a with high-fructose corn syrup, added to food and drinks).

What they found was that the added sugars were significantly more harmful. Fructose was linked to worsening insulin levels and worsening glucose tolerance, which is a driver for pre-diabetes. It caused harmful fat storage—visceral fat on the abdomen—and promoted several markers for poor health like inflammation and high blood pressure. “We clearly showed that sugar is the principal driver of diabetes,” says lead study author James J. DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute. “A sugar calorie is much more harmful.”

DiNicolantonio and his fellow authors say current dietary guidelines are harmful since they recommend levels of sugar consumption that are unhealthy. For instance, the Institute of Medicine says added sugar can make up 25% of the total calories we consume, and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans say up to 19% of calories from added sugars is alright. That varies greatly from the American Heart Association, which recommends no more than 6 tsp of sugar a day for women 9 tsp for men. The World Health Organization has proposed that added sugar make up only 5% of a person’s daily calories.

“The studies that we looked at clearly show that once you hit 18 percent compared to just 5 percent of your total calories from sugar, there’s significant metabolic harms promoting prediabetes and diabetes,” says DiNicolantonio. “In fact, there’s a two-fold increase.”

This is not the first time sugar has been fingered as a primary culprit in American’s bad health. Other researchers are pushing the message that it’s refined carbohydrates like added sugars that are the problem.

“We need to understand that it isn’t the overconsuming of calories that leads to obesity and leads to diabetes. We need to totally change that around,” says DiNicolantonio. “It’s refined carbs and added sugars that lead to insulin resistance and diabetes, which leads to high insulin levels, which drives obesity.”

DiNicolantonio recommends major changes to combat the problem. He says the government should stop subsidizing corn which makes high fructose corn syrup so cheap and should instead subsidize healthy foods so that consumers are encouraged to make the switch from processed foods to whole foods, since it’s the processed stuff that’s putting so much sugar in our diets. He adds that in his opinion, sugar-sweetened beverages should not be sold in schools or hospitals, and perhaps the government should put warning labels on them.

Such severe changes are not likely in the immediate future, but if sugar is indeed the number on cause for diabetes among all other foods, then more needs to happen to help Americans cut back. Especially since there is no real need for added sugar in our diets.

Sugar is addicting for millions of us. And food manufacturers have fed that addiction by adding sugar to most every product in our grocery stores. We’re eating too much of it. Sure, we believe in coincidences sometimes — but not here. The tremendous rise in obesity across the globe doesn’t simply coincide with the meteoric rise in the availability of processed food, junk food, fast food and sugary beverages. They go hand in hand and it’s time to make the real changes that will allow us to reverse this life-threatening trend.

Vitamin water … too much of a good thing?

main-vitamin-enhanced-drinks-may-be-harming-your-health-study-findsWe hear all the time that most of us aren’t getting the vitamins our bodies need to keep us healthy. So it’s no surprise that vitamin water has been such a big consumer hit. We’re going to drink water anyway — why not include some extra vitamins while we’re doing it? It’s good for us.

A study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism finds that it may be just the opposite.

Researchers analyzed 46 beverages, with and without added sugar, and found many “contained vitamins B6, B12, niacin and vitamin C in quantities ‘well in excess’ of the average daily requirements for young adults,” the New York Times reports.

These juices, waters, and sports drinks entice consumers with mood- or performance-enhancing benefits as well as immune system boosts, but the added nutrients are unnecessary and potentially harmful; for example, a 2012 study published in the Cochrane Database found that heart disease patients treated with folic acid and B12 had higher mortality and cancer rates.

Furthermore, a 2012 nationwide study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that the most common vitamins added to these beverages are already plentiful in the average person’s diet, between the foods we eat and the supplements we take. Conversely, the vitamin niacin (naturally found in mushrooms, fish and avocados) is difficult to ingest in large quantities, but is found in excess within a single bottle of “formula 50” Vitaminwater, the New York Times reports—it contains 120% of the daily recommended value.

“You couldn’t possibly get that much from any natural foods,” Dr. Tarasuk told the New York Times. “That’s concerning to me as a nutrition scientist because we don’t know what the effects of chronic exposure may be. With these products, we’ve embarked on a national experiment.”

Most folks we know are taking vitamin supplements. They’re also trying to eat a healthy, balanced diet consistently. is also aware that most in our community conscientiously avoid most processed foods that are devoid of nutritional value. Because of these significant lifestyle practices, the addition of vitamin water to an already healthy diet may in fact be too much of a good thing. Whatever your beverage choices are, make them carefully and consciously.