Nutrition and Lifestyle

If you've ever gotten sick from eating tuna, it's sort of like food poisoning but isn't really. If you've ever had an allergic reaction to tuna, it's sort of like an allergy but isn't really.

If (if?) you are hopelessly confused at this point, let's open up the can and look at what's going on.

The science of "poisoning by tuna" is rather interesting, and, although the chemical for the toxin that is responsible has an obscure name, scombrotoxin (1), you know it by its more common alias—histamine, which is formed in certain decaying fish, especially those with dark meat. 

Scombrotoxin poisoning is different from "typical" food poisoning, for example, that from eating undercooked hamburger. The histamine that forms on the tuna survives cooking,...

Cook County, Illinois, Chicago's home, has now implemented its long-sought tax on sweetened beverages, including soda and so much more. Those wishing to buy both sugar and artificially-sweetened soda, as well as ready-to-drink sweetened coffees and teas, sports and energy drinks, and juice products that aren't 100 percent juice will be paying an additional penny per ounce. That is, of course, if they don't go outside the county to make their purchases.

Supposedly the purpose of such taxes is to decrease the amount of these beverages that people will buy — and therefore they will choose more healthful drinks — like water perhaps? And that, in turn, will...

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.

Indoor tanning provides concentrated, potent ultraviolet radiation (UVR) emitted by sources such as tanning beds, lamps, bulbs and booths. The ultraviolet portion of the solar radiation spectrum, comprised mainly of UVA and UVB, is the most mutagenic – causing changes in a cell's genetic material – and the most harmful. It is associated with an increase incidence of melanoma and non-melanoma (basal and squamous cell) skin cancer, as well as premature skin aging and eye damage,...

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.

Often overlooked and easily dismissed as too juvenile or childlike an activity, when you break it down jumping rope offers a wide range of health benefits. It can be great exercise that can be done practically anywhere – and after buying an inexpensive rope it doesn't cost a dime. Two other advantages: significant...

Among other natural items that are dangerous, Salmonella bacteria rank high on the list. Consuming foods contaminated with this bug can be life-threatening — especially for the young, the old, and people with compromised immune systems. While we often think of meats when considering the sources of food-borne illnesses, fruits and vegetables are also on the list.

Consider the recent outbreak of Salmonella linked to a particular brand of Mexican papayas — the yellow Maridol papaya distributed by the Grande Produce company. According to an article in The New York Times, one person has died and 46 others have been sickened...

In their latest move to protect consumers from deadly chemicals that aren't deadly, the member states of the European Union 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 that also contain protein are cooked at high temperatures — think fried and baked potatoes and bread, and many many other foods (even coffee).

A couple of years ago the European Food Safety Authority said that acrylamide is a carcinogenic risk for all age groups. The folks behind a lot of this attention is a "sustainability pressure group" called Changing Markets. Like similar American groups, they made...

Bariatric surgery, as we've noted before, is currently the most effective way to deal with extreme obesity. But just having the surgery doesn't  guarantee success — the subject must still exercise some degree of dietary discipline to obtain the most benefit from the procedure, as demonstrated by a report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Dr. Noora Kanerva from the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden, and colleagues analyzed data from the Swedish Obesity Study (SOS), a more than 30-year investigation comparing bariatric surgery with conventional treatments for obesity. In...

The “superfood” craze is premised upon the dubious notion that some foods are so great, that eating them will bring good health and long life. For Popeye, spinach was a superfood. After gleefully swallowing a can full of the stuff, he grew big muscles and beat up Bluto.

The trouble with superfoods is that they aren’t real. That isn’t to say that some foods aren’t healthier than others; fruits and vegetables are better for you than potato chips and soda. But the notion that some foods are the secret elixir to youth or the magic cure for disease is hype.

Keeping that in mind, it is still worth investigating how food affects our bodies. Research in this area provides insights into our metabolism and physiology, which can tell us more about disease and how to prevent it....

I almost feel bad about ragging on these guys. Again. I mean, hasn't Chipotle had more than enough problems in the past couple of years? But the company's silly GMO-free campaign was so smug and disingenuous that I'll be able to live with myself. Even after this, which may not be the nicest thing I've ever written.

Our office does not have sufficient bandwidth for me to locate all the less-than-flattering things I've written about the company, so these will have to do for background:

Chipotle's Year From Hell-A-Peno

Chipotle Takes The Stairway To Heavin'

Suffice it to say that...

The Organic Consumers Association avers that organic foods since they supposedly contain no pesticides, GMOs or other such "dangerous" items, are better for you. And buried in much of the organic literature is the premise that food animals raised for the organic market are treated better than those raised by conventional "factory farming" methods — that chickens, for example, get to root around in the grass at will as in the picture above. But an exposé recently published in the Chicago Tribune begs to differ.

Writing specifically about Herbruck's Poultry Ranch, located in Saranac...