Food & Nutrition

Vitamin B3 is in the news because of findings that it may prevent birth defects. But B3 (aka niacin) has a number of different names and also is similar in spelling and pronunciation to other molecules. We try to clarify things.
Although governmental and medical advisories warn the population to "eat less salt" on the theory that this will help deal with hypertension, there are some holdouts who avoid giving such wholesale advice. That includes ACSH, and a Doctor of Pharmacy who says it's sugar, not salt that is the root of all (vascular) evil. And, he says, we should eat more salt. Who to believe?
Did you even get sick from eating tuna? If so, you may have assumed that it happened because you ate it rare. But that's probably not the case. A particular food poisoning from tuna (and certain other fish) can occur even when the fish is well-cooked. And it's not only food poisoning. It's also an allergic reaction. 
So Chicago has followed in the footsteps of other cities — think Berkeley and Philadelphia — by levying a tax on sodas and other sweetened beverages. Even artificially sweetened ones. Do we think such taxes will benefit consumers' health? No, we do not. In fact, they may even fail to help municipalities' bottom lines, if past events are predictive.
Growing up, indoor tanning was considered part and parcel of one's beauty regimen. Male or female it was no matter, having a great off-season tan was an absolute must-have. Little thought, if any, was given to the fact that people might be walking into a cancer den. Or at least an increased risk of it.
As millions of uninspired, would-be exercisers know all too well, the reasons to avoid working out are endless. "I can't fit it into my schedule" ... "it takes too long" ... "I don't go enough to make a gym membership worthwhile" ... and "I don't see enough results from going" are just a few of the tried-and-true, go-to excuses.  If this is beginning to sound a little like your way of thinking, here are two words to strongly consider: jumping rope.
Once again, the meme that "natural" is good is disproven by the recent news that some Mexican papayas are contaminated with (natural) Salmonella. One person has died from the bacterial illness and people are being warned to avoid one particular brand.
Ever on the alert to protect consumers from non-existent threats, E.U. member states have voted to set legal limits on the amount of acrylamide in foods. Acrylamide, of course, is the chemical naturally formed when foods containing large amounts of carbohydrates are cooked at high temperatures — think fried and baked potatoes and bread. And we predict that no-one's health will benefit from this ruling.
While bariatric surgery is the most effective means of dealing with extreme obesity, subjects must still exercise some degree of dietary discipline to obtain the most benefit. A new analysis finds that the degree of early weight loss predicts long-term success, and both are linked to decreases in energy intake.
New research suggests that saffron – a spice used in some Asian, Indian and Mediterranean dishes – may have an intrinsic ability to fight cancer. But don't get too excited. Research on antioxidants suggests the same thing, but they fail in clinical trials.
What's happened to Chipotle during the past two years is too bad to be true. The food chain has given a whole bunch of people food poisoning, especially from norovirus. But the virus rarely strikes in the summer, so how did it end up hitting the same chain again? Could this be a conspiracy? Is Chipotle actually making the virus? Put on your tin foil hats and read this. 
If you believe the hype that the Organic Consumers Association puts out, you believe that organic foods are better for you than the conventionally raised variety. And you likely also believe that animals raised in line with organic principles are also treated more humanely. Oops!