Nutrition and Lifestyle

Imagine sinking your teeth into a nice, juicy hamburger. Then, imagine being told that the hamburger isn't made from beef after all. Instead, it's entirely vegetarian. Impossible, right? Soy burgers are nasty. There's no way that anyone could pull this off.

Not so, says Impossible Foods, a company that claims to have done just that. (I have not yet had the honor of trying one of these veggie burgers, but Reason's Ron Bailey has -- and he loved it.) Not only does it taste good, but because it is entirely made from plants and plant products, it is far better for the environment. Apparently, this company has found a way for you to have your "beef" and eat it, too.

All of...

What is a conscientious dieter to do? Is there a correct mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fats that are nutritious and healthful? The literature used to blame fats for our problems; perhaps it’s carbohydrates turn. But like the report from the Lancet on salt, a new report on carbohydrates, again from the Lancet is going to raise some academic and clinical eyebrows. Spoiler alert – like salt, carbohydrates effects on health look more like Nike’s logo than a straight line.

The Study

Researchers made use of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) dataset – a prospective, observational, study of mid-life adults (45 to 64) in four representative US communities; recruited 30 years ago and seen approximately every five years. At those visits,...

We all need protein in our diet, unfortunately for chickens, pigs, and cows. It is also unfortunate for us because raising these livestock sources have inefficiencies driving concerns about the sustainability of these animals as a continuing source of protein. Before jumping to a meat-use tax, we might consider some alternative protein. A study in Scientific Reports looks at another protein source, insects, more specifically crickets.

Entomophagy – Eating Insects

Entomophagy is a habit shared across the world, motivated by “cultural and nutritional value as well as their numerous [insects] environmental benefits.” They are both a source of protein and insoluble fiber and when processed “properly” cause no physiologic harm. The study sought to determine...

Consuming salt, sodium chloride is demonstrably associated with increased blood pressure, but the effect is small, roughly a half teaspoon raises your blood pressure by 2mm (for reference, the recommended daily intake is approximately two teaspoons) And hypertension, in its turn has been associated with cardiovascular disease. So for many, there is a chain of causality where reducing salt reduces hypertension, and that reduction subsequently reduces cardiovascular disease. While seeming logical new evidence demonstrates that logic to be flawed.

The Current Research

The Lancet report utilizes data from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE – have to love those acronyms) study, involving 168,000 adults, age 35-70, in 664 global urban and rural...

Our bodies break down carbohydrates and starches you eat into a simple sugar called glucose, which is transported from the bloodstream into our cells by the hormone insulin where it can be used for energy. Insulin also signals the liver to stop producing sugar.

Sometimes things go wrong, such as in diabetes, when our bodies allow blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal. This hyperglycemia comes in two forms. In Type 1 Diabetes, the body does not produce insulin and it must be introduced artificially. In Type 2 Diabetes, which is 95 percent of people with diabetes, the body instead develops insulin resistance, primarily due to overconsumption of food, and the pancreas which made extra insulin to handle the extra blood glucose became overtaxed until it was no...

While trade groups and economists debate the merits or impacts of tariffs designed to create more equality in U.S. trade, one group of barnacles that remain a free rider on the ships of commerce using FDA exemptions, a lack of common sense, and a tariff imbalance is really nervous: The $45 billion American dietary supplement industry.

In a comment they also published on the Proposed Modification of Action Pursuant to Section 301: China's Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer,...

A new study using data from 5,293 U.S. adults determined that smokers consumed around 200 more calories a day than non-smokers or former smokers, despite eating smaller portions of food. That means more snacking, treating treats like meals. This is in contrast to a time when smokers gained weight after they stopped, because they ate more to occupy their hands and mouths.

In the new paper, the authors used results from 5,293  adults who took the National Health and Examination Survey, a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the US. Participants were asked to recall what they ate in the past 24 hours, which has some severe limitations.

The...

Though the practice of setting off fireworks on Independence Day dates back to the first celebration of the holiday in 1777, cookouts did not become a part of the party until the mid-twentieth century.

Today a cookout is considered the quintessential way to celebrate the Fourth of July. It is as much a celebration of “traditionally American” food as it is a celebration of our country’s independence. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, holding a cookout on the fourth this year will be less costly, by a small margin, than it has been in previous years.

A quarterly Farm Bureau survey report, part of their annual and larger ...

The data-miners have found a new vein of data, the UK Biobank, which contains genetic information on about 500,000 of their citizens. I presented one of their studies on the impact of coffee and caffeine on our health and today's research seeks to shed some light on that oldest of problems, nature or nurture. 

The question posed was the interaction of lifestyle choices and our genes; in this case looking at cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The study was restricted to Caucasians of British descent whose entire genomic profile had been captured by the UK Biobank, a voluntary program, so generalizing the results and conclusions are difficult. Polygenic patterns were identified for coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat), stroke, high blood pressure...

Who doesn't love the idea of quick and easy weight loss? Imagine being able to eat nothing but ice cream, and still losing 10 pounds. It sounds a little too good to be true, and that's because it is. Weight loss is a $66 billion dollar industry, and one of the most advertised, according to U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market.

And many of them are fad diets, called such because they are popular thanks to a new bestselling book or a heavy rotation by public relations teams but with little evidence behind them. The Boston Medical Center reported that of the estimated 45 million American who go on a diet annually, 50% of them use fad diets. A fad diet promises quick...