On Monday, The Environmental Working Group launched a new program known as the Food Scores Database, which encompasses the nutritional values of over 80,000 foods you may find in your local supermarket. Each product has been rated on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the most nutritious. The current push from consumers to know what is in packaged foods or how heavily processed they are, has helped to fuel this project. Also included, is product information from food companies and research conducted by The Environmental Working Group themselves, regarding pesticides, additives, preservatives, and dyes. Food Scores will soon be available as a phone app and allow consumers to scan product bar codes. Thus far, the scoring system has faced ridicule from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, but the founder of the environmental group trusts that the general public will both embrace and utilize this new program. As your patients become more health conscious, how do you teach them to evaluate the quality of their food? What other programs are available at this time to help consumers purchase healthier choices?
A new study has revealed that eating eggs does not have bad effects on cholesterol level in people with type 2 diabetes. In contrast, egg-rich diet has more benefits than harm. The study, conducted in Australia and presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes 2014 Meeting, has found that eating 2 eggs per day for 6 days per week for 3 months did not show a significant change in the cholesterol level comparing to eating less than 2 eggs a week for the same period. On the other hand, the high-egg group showed a trend toward HDL improvement. Moreover, egg-rich diet was reported to be more enjoyable and hunger-fulfilling. What are your favorite egg recipes?
For additional information, please visit WebMD.
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Phthalate is a chemical substance that is known to make plastic more pliable. It is foreign to our bodies and can have negative effects on reproductive system. A new study in the journal Environmental Health reported that despite minimizing exposure from infant toys we are still consuming twice the amount recommended by the Environmental Working Group. What are your recommendations on minimizing phthalate exposure? Do you agree with the tips researchers provide?
For additional information, please see Washington Post.
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The Mediterranean Diet has shown to be beneficial in reducing the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in elderly patients. The PREDIMED (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea) cardiovascular prevention trial was a multicenter trial in Spain involving 3,451 participants, aged 55-80 years old, who were randomized into three groups: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, or a control diet low in fats. The participants were asked not to increase their physical activity and were also given food advice from dieticians on which foods to eat. Median 4.1 years follow-up showed people eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with EVOO had a relative reduction of 40% in diabetes risk compared with the control group, while people eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts had a relative reduction of 18%. How often do you discuss Mediterranean diet with your patients? What other chronic conditions benefit from the Mediterranean diet based on the recent research?
For additional information, please see JAMA.
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In a five year study sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to reduce childhood obesity in the United States, an estimated 6.4 trillion calories were reduced in food and beverages by some of the nation’s largest food companies including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Campbell’s. This resulted in an average of 78 calories cut out of an American’s daily diet. What are your thoughts about this research? How great of an impact do you think this will have on the struggle to eliminate childhood obesity?
For additional information, please see NY Times.
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A study conducted by Marie Bragg from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University (New Haven, CT) found that some of the advertisements promoted by athletes were unhealthy food and drinks. Out of the all the brands supported by athletes in 2010, about one quarter included food/drinks such as burgers, cookies, cereal, and sugary beverages. Not only is it misleading that fit and healthy sports stars encourage consumption of such foods, the fact that they are role models may further influence teenagers. Bragg and colleagues note that parents may teach their children that not all ads supported by athletes may be healthy, but top companies know that such advertising works. Do you think adults are influenced as much as teenagers? How can we stay educated about food advertisements?
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Milk is in the headlines today with new striking findings. A recent review unfolds how milk can be linked to a variety of illnesses. Researchers stated that milk nutrients and exosomes (protein complexes) activate mTORC1, a processthat promotes postnatal growth and transfers species-specific programs. This is highly beneficial for infants, but problems arise when large amounts of cow milk consumed during adolescence and adulthood causing unnecessary growth. How would these finding affect your daily intake of milk and recommendation to patients?
For more information see Nutrition Journal.
How the Taste of Food Is Affected By the Weight, Size, Shape, And Colour of The Cutlery Used To Eat It
A recent study published in Flavour Journal, evaluated the influence of visual and proprioceptive effect on perception of food’s taste and flavor. More than a hundred students participated in this study. Plastic cutlery of varying shapes, colors, sizes and weights along with toothpicks were used in this study. The study compared the impact of this cutlery variation on participant’s ratings of sweetness, saltiness, overall tastiness and value. Results showed that light spoons, are preferred for a denser taste of yoghurt, darker colored spoons intensified the sweet taste of yoghurt and finally cheese was found to be saltier when tasted with a knife rather than a spoon, fork or toothpick.Would you consider using these findings to enhance the taste of your food?
Please click here to access the study
A report published by ConsumerLab.com finds that the purity and amount of antioxidants amounts of green tea varies from different consumer products. Green tea brewed from loose tea leaves is the best choice,since bottled teas may contain mostly sugar water. Some loose leaves may contain lead although the lead is not found in the liquid portion of the tea after brewing. How selective are you in the green tea you consume and recommend to your patients?
For the full article, please click here.