Food & Nutrition

Kid loving her veggies
Flummoxed parents have had many a sleepless night trying to figure out how to get their kids to regularly eat fruits and vegetables. While some will stand firm in their resolve to be convincing, there's another group of parents that believes providing incentives -- critics would call it bribery -- is an effective way to get kids to eat more healthfully.
A recent study found that only about 15 percent of the sweetener sucralose, when consumed in a beverage, is actually absorbed into the blood. Within five days about 93 percent is excreted. Children, because of their smaller size, had significantly higher blood concentrations than adults. But these results don't imply negative health consequences for either group.
Gluten Free
Makers of gluten-free food are well aware of two main consumer groups that buy their products: (1) Those who have to for medical reasons, and (2) those who want to because they think they're healthy. But if consumers' misconceptions are not corrected, more and more of them without gluten sensitivities will continue to falsely believe that avoiding gluten is somehow better, and smarter and healthier.
New research supports using so-called traffic light labeling, in addition to numeric labels, to help consumers make healthier food selections. When both types of labels were combined on food items, consumers' choices were based less on taste than they had been when only numeric labels were used.
It's widely believed that a low basal metabolism predisposes a person to weight gain and obesity. And it makes sense since a low BMR can be a substantial part of a sedentary person's energy expenditure. But a recent study couldn't find such a connection, so the old I'm fat because I have a slow metabolism excuse won't hold water, at least according to this study.
So the latest is that fat is not the dietary villain it's been cracked up to be, but now sugar is. So people are avoiding foods like non-fat yogurt to decrease their intake of sugar and other constituents. But demonizing one ingredient or another, though it may move the food industry, is not such a great prescription for weight control.
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.