Nutrition and Lifestyle

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.)

Researchers at the...

As people age we tend to become less active, and are more likely to gain weight. Those two characteristics can lead to lower muscle mass, increasing frailty and associated health problems. Attacking just the weight issue by reducing food intake can certainly be helpful with weight gain, but since weight loss can also decrease muscle mass, it can also contribute to impaired physical fitness and sequelae such as poor balance and diminished strength. So an important question for the older group 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 endeavoring to lose weight? A combination of the two types has been found to be helpful in younger obese people and in non-obese older folks, but...

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." 

Although the mainstay is a...

Why is it that some of the best public health measures, with proven effectiveness, are shunned by some people? 

Of course, vaccines are the canonical example of this. Now, we can add pasteurization. 

Pasteurization is a 100-year-old process that kills bacteria. This is important because there can be harmful bacteria in the food that we eat and drink - most notably Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coliSalmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter sp.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a new report saying that unpasteurized (or raw) milk is consumed by only 3.2% of the population, but, along with the even smaller percentage of people who...

It's almost boring to keep telling people about the safety of sucralose and other approved sweeteners because we've done it so many times (for example here ). But for some reason, some folks don't want to leave the issue alone and keep trying to "prove" that these ingredients aren't safe, or cause cancer, and so on. One group that seems addicted to this meme is the Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences, which has published generally disproven data indicting aspartame for  bogus health effects. So, recently they've attacked sucralose with similarly poor data.The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has now...

Much like the search for the Fountain of Youth is the search by our overweight population for the "best" way to lose weight. Is it the low carb diet, the grapefruit diet, or the Zone diet? A relatively new approach is intermittent fasting in which the potential "loser" eschews eating for a specified number of days per week. Does this type of approach work any better than the others? A new study, just reported in JAMA Internal Medicine, targeted this mechanism. Dr. John F. Trepanowski from the University of Illinois at Chicago and colleagues recruited 100 obese adults (18-64 years old, mean BMI of 34, 86 women) to test the hypothesis that intermmittent energy restriction would lead to...

 

You may not have been aware, but most tree nuts — think almonds and pecans for example — have been considered a desired ingredient in a balanced diet. Although they are high in fats, it's primarily the unsaturated sort that is not thought to help raise blood cholesterol levels. Not so for cashews, because about 1/3 of their fats are saturated, and thus have been frowned on by nutritionists (the FDA doesn't allow the same health claim for cashews as it does for other tree nuts). However, observing that one third of the saturated fat in cashews is a type called stearic acid, which is neutral with respect to cholesterol levels, a group of researchers set out to determine if, indeed...

The obesity epidemic has helped focus attention on Americans' eating habits, with an eye to the extent to which they are associated with consumption of excess calories. In addition, understanding these habits may lead to means of improving diet quality. In the interests of both these aims, researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle, led by Dr. Adam Drewnowski (an ACSH scientific advisor) queried 437 consumers on what and where they ate. In particular, the investigators were interested in following up on previous studies suggesting that meals consumed at home were of higher quality than those eaten outside the home. Their study appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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There has long been evidence that socioeconomic status has a positive and linear correlation with general health and even more specific medical conditions. It has also long been believed that some of the disparity in health is related to the quality of nutritional intake. In the past, poor people suffered some diseases because the variety of food nutrition was poor. And if you got gout or were obese, you were probably rich.

Today that has been inverted: if you are obese and eat a lot of fast food, you are probably poor, it is believed. This narrative has been trotted out casually by numerous lazy self-proclaimed food experts, such Mark Bittman in the NY Times: “...

For 21st century dieters, is it time for the written food journal to go high tech?

That's the question some researchers in the Northwestern U.S. are examining as they study dieters who, instead of writing down everything they eat, document their daily food consumption on Instagram, the picture-laden smartphone app.

The key to any weight-loss plan is, of course, to stay with the program. So plan advisors in this $20 billion industry are always on the lookout for ways to help their clients to do just that.

An accepted and essential practice for millions of American dieters is to track calorie consumption by keeping a written record. But if it's easier to snap pictures of food, without undermining a particular diet's effectiveness, then shelving the food...