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 at a healthy diet prior to a diagnosis of ovarian cancer will increase the odds of survival in the following years. A healthier diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and low in processed foods will help build immunity and reduce inflammation in the body. Both of these factors can be crucial when fighting the disease. In this observational study, women who consumed the healthiest diets were 27% less likely to die than those with the poorest diets. Those consuming the healthiest foods were also more likely to continue their good habits post-diagnosis and have access to better care. However, those with diabetes and a waist circumference over 34 inches, appeared to have lower survival rates. Before lifestyle recommendations can be standardized regarding prevention and increasing survival of ovarian cancer, randomized control trials should also be completed. Which lifestyle changes do you recommend in your practice for those looking to prevent ovarian cancer or better their prognosis?
For additional information on this study, go to Reuters.
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The Food and Drug Administration just released Nutrition Basics reminder to help parents look at nutrition facts labels (ingredients, percent daily value, nutrients, and serving size) before buying food for their children. The main goal of this program is to fight childhood obesity with better food choices. How often do you discuss food labeling with your patients?
For additional information, please see the FDA Consumer Update .
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 published in Nutrition Journal compared the use of a joint supplement with placebo in 100 men and women (aged 50-75) for relief from joint issues. All subjects agreed to avoid using NSAIDs and were given either the joint supplement Instaflex TM (containing glucosamine sulfate, methylsufonlylmethane (MSM), white willow bark extract, ginger root concentrate, boswella serrata extract, turmeric root extract, cayenne, and hyaluronic acid) or placebo for 8 weeks. The results favored the joint supplement showing significant improvements in joint paint severity, stiffness and physical function with improvement being the greatest for those experiencing knee pain. How often do your patients ask about supplements for joint health?
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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.
Heat wave may have passed where you live but it is still summertime. Foods that keep you cool during the summertime are: raspberries, red bell peppers, tomatoes, oranges, peaches, and strawberries. Raspberries provide fiber which will lower colon cancer risk as well as provide better overall health. Red bell peppers contain vitamin C in large amounts and they are good source for vitamin A and folate. Tomatoes are great for you as they contain vitamin C and lycopene. Oranges are good source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium and calcium. Peaches are great antioxidants giving protection against disease and also a good source of vitamin C and fiber. Strawberries are a great source of fiber and only contain 50 calories per cup. These are some foods recommended by nutritional experts to keep you cool as well as nourish your body. What foods would you recommend to your patients to beat the heat?
For more information, please click here.
The USDA’s new nutrition standards “Smart Snacks in School”, set limits for fat, salt and sugar in food and beverages sold in schools. Foods must contain at least 50% whole grains or have a fruit, vegetable, dairy or protein as the first ingredient or at least ¼ cup of fruit/vegetables. Beverages allowed include low calorie sport drinks, low-fat and fat-free milk, 100% fruit and vegetable juice, and no-calorie flavored waters. This is the first nutritional overhaul of school snacks in more than 30 years and school and food and beverage companies must be in compliance by July 1, 2014. How do you feel about this new public policy? When do you expect to see its outcomes?
For more information, see the article on CNN.
A recent publication in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture evaluated the amount and nutritional value of canned vs. frozen produce, concluding that it is almost the same, if not better. Canned food can lose some of its nutrients, specially water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin B and C. However, being protected from oxygen,it retains nutrient stability.Fresh fruit and vegetables, although starting with higher vitamin and nutrient content, tend to lose some during shipping and processing.
What are your thoughts about these findings? How often do you chose fresh fruits over canned ones? How often does your fresh produce travel long distance to get to you?
For additional information, please click here to see NY Times.
Researchers are exploring the benefits of consuming a small portion of nuts per day with a low-calorie diet. There have been some speculation as to whether or not nut intake would increase the risk of obesity. However, studies have shown that incorporating nuts in diets may help improve high blood pressure, diabetes and lower the risk of death. Researchers and physicians recommend only a handful of nuts a day is needed to provide optimal health benefits. What other high fat foods do you routinely recommend to your patients?
For additional information, please check Reuters. Image courtesy Wikipedia.