Food & Nutrition

Americans' use of many (but not all) dietary supplements declined between 1999 and 2012, is welcomed. But the increased use of some -- particularly vitamin D -- can have deleterious health effects. Hopefully, consumers will pay more attention to the science about supplements, and less to hyperbolic media reports about the latest "miracle" supplement.
The ADA and the CDC are among many groups which advocate for public health. All of them, including some 90 others, received occasional funding, in some fashion, from a large soda company in the past. And they are implicated in the American obesity epidemic. But you have to look a bit more closely to see what's really going on.
The CDC recently released data on the prevalence of tobacco use, and there's a regional pattern. Tobacco is most popular in Midwestern and Southern states, where roughly 20 to 25 percent of the population smokes. Meanwhile, as maps reveal, those same regions struggle with the highest percentages of people with obesity.
Northern California is home to a number of questionable lawsuits against various manufacturers, based mostly on activists trying to scare people to improve their own bottom lines. But there are places to find reliable health and wellness information, and the Council is one of them.
We did not evolve in a world of plentiful food; instead nature was out to kill us. Today, food is a commodity and when something becomes a commodity, it takes a while for culture to catch up. Science has outpaced our cultural maturity, and it has led to a certain amount of doublethink about food.
Cryotherapy Believer
First, it was the half-baked nuttiness of infrared saunas. Now comes cryotherapy, a full-body chamber offering insanely cold temperatures that its purveyors say can cure just about everything and anything -- that is, if you're gullible enough to believe them. And if it doesn't kill you, like it did last year to a 24-year-old Nevada woman.
Much current nutrition research aims to clarify possible links between eating and getting various diseases. Is diet really responsible for cancer? For multiple sclerosis? Hard to tell, because it's really hard to know what people really eat.
Since they're still growing, the nutritional requirements of young athletes differ to some extent from those of their more sedentary age-mates. A new review article takes these into account and provides some guidance that should help keep these youngsters active and healthy. Hopefully the habit of regular activity will last into their adult years.
Too many raisins will kill you, too.
A closer look at food science reveals that a tax on sugary drinks (such as soda, sports drinks, and tea), a policy being pondered by voters in the San Francisco Bay area, is deeply misguided. We get sugar in our diets from many different sources, some of which we would consider "healthy" foods. 
Time for a chemistry lesson.
Beer is chemically complex. Many different molecules are responsible for its wide variety of tastes and colors. Some of the least studied are those produced as a result of the Maillard reaction. Famous in kitchens worldwide, this reaction is responsible for the browning of meats and bread that occurs at high temperatures, when amino acids and sugars chemically combine.
Here's a dirty secret you might not be aware of: Scientists get grants because of work they have already done. Instead of being lured by money, Professor Stare, the founder of Harvard's Department of Nutrition, was a co-author on Panic In The Pantry in 1976, precisely because he saw the discourse had been hijacked by groups out to scare people about food.
Golden rice — bioengineered to contain beta-carotene — has the potential to decrease the toll of blindness and mortality due to vitamin A deficiency in the developing world. A new study modeled this potential when varying degrees of substitution and beta carotene content are involved. For the poorest, the benefit can be substantial.