Food & Nutrition

Does getting food assistance from the federal SNAP program mean that people improve their diets? Not so much — at least according to recent nutritional research. Is it even reasonable to expect it to do so?
Reducing sodium consumption to ward off hypertension, stroke and heart disease has been the goal of nutritionists for many years. They warned that much of the sodium intake comes not from the salt added at the table, but from processed foods. But a new study indicates that the sodium content of such foods has decreased over a recent 15-year period.
Orthorexia — "straight eating" — is the latest entry on the list of eating disorders that can afflict us. But so far it hasn't been acknowledged as a separate entity by the psychiatric professionals. Is it really something new, or an offshoot of an older type?
EWG warns the public about pesticide residues on produce, and tell people to buy organic instead. What they leave out is all of the organic pesticides, some even sprayed on the day food gets on the truck.
A team of Spanish researchers believes it's discovered a fruity concoction that reduces muscle soreness. The formula is a combination of watermelon and pomegranate juice enriched with citrulline and ellagitannins, ingredients that are linked to beneficial metabolic effects and performance enhancement.
So how's your sex life?  If not to your liking, then thinking differently about it will likely help improve it, and perhaps your health as well. That's according to a new study which found that enjoyable perceptions and participation regarding sex will make middle-aged adults feel better – and younger – than their actual age. However, while adults 40-years-old and up were included in the research, the participant group of just over 1,000 skewed heavily towards those who were white, married and employed. So while these findings are interesting and potentially important, it's not certain that they also apply to single adults, and those of other races. (Future research with a wider participant pool would likely produce better insight on this topic.)
An important question is what type of exercise — aerobic, such as walking, swimming or bike riding; or resistance, such as weight lifting — would help the older obese person who's looking to lose weight? The answer is both, particularly when done in tandem.
As a busy working parent, I admit that I sometimes (ok, frequently) grab a granola bar as a substitute for lunch... and breakfast. I am not saying that it is the healthiest choice. But, in today's world of running from work to school to the gym to everything else - sometimes there is no time to sit down and prepare a well balanced meal - or any meal at all.  This is exactly the space that Soylent, a full time meal replacement product, is trying to fill.  What is Soylent? Just in case there was any doubt, the informative video on the soylent website states right away that "soylent is food" and "although it it not intended to replace every meal, it is able to replace any meal." 
Many things in life invite skepticism, but the safety of pasteurized milk is not one of them. In fact, the CDC's new report states that unpasteurized dairy products cause 840 times more illnesses and 45 times more hospitalizations than pasteurized products. But guess what? Raw milk sales are rising as people (falsely) believe it's healthier.   
Once again, the Ramazini Foundation published a study suggesting that the artificial sweetener sucralose causes cancer —specifically blood cancers — in mice. But a panel from the European Food Safety Authority analyzed that study and found that its conclusions were spurious and in no way should be construed to indict the sweetener. Can we say we told you so?
The search for the "best" way to lose weight has lately focused on the idea of intermittent fasting. But unfortunately for its enthusiastic proponents, a new well-designed study indicates that simply changing the pattern of calorie restriction isn't more effective for weight loss than simply restricting energy intake consistently.
Not all nuts – the kind that grow on trees – are created equal. Some, like cashews, macadamia nuts and Brazil nuts, are thought to have too much saturated fat to allow them to bear a FDA "heart-healthy" label. But new research suggests that the type of saturated fat in cashews is actually neutral when it comes to raising LDL-cholesterol.