Nutrition and Lifestyle

In Personalizing Nutrition - Automating The Science of Metabolomics I defined a therapeutic diet as a diet personalized to an individual’s needs. I mentioned a group called Community Serving, which is a blend of Meals on Wheels and customizing a diet. I also mentioned a service called Habit, which claims to scientifically personalize dietary recommendations by evaluating an individual’s metabolism. Let’s take a look at what they do.

The concept of a metabolic challenge is at least as old as the quest to diagnose and treat diabetes. Diabetes can be defined in various ways, but at its heart, it is an alteration in our...

“The woman who once marched up to the French chef Jean-Louis Paladin and told him a dish didn’t have enough salt can no longer taste the difference between a walnut and a pecan, or smell whether the mushrooms are burning. The list of eight languages she once understood has been reduced to English. Maybe 40 percent of the words she knew have evaporated.”

This description, in the New York Times, is of Paula Wolfert, an American culinary treasure, the woman who some claim introduced us to Mediterranean food. Now 78, she suffers from dementia and in the...

There are many reasons not to take dietary supplements, just take a look at some of the stuff we've written in the past.  But to jog your memory, here are five reasons not to start taking dietary supplements, or multivitamins. 

OK, so you're not really going to hook up an intravenous (IV) line to an orange to get your infusion of vitamin C — but the picture is worth a thousand words for sure. And some folks are lining up to spend big bucks for IV infusions of all sorts of vitamins, minerals, and other supposed goodies. Why? I'm not really sure, except that over the last few years it seems to have become 'the thing to do' among those who are hyper about their health. All over the country there are so-called 'infusion clinics' that cater to people with a desire to have the latest health treatment, and oh yes, plenty of money.

These treatments have become so popular that an industry has arisen to serve them — infusion clinics. These clinics may or may not have any connection to a health facility, but they...

Imagine going to the doctor's office. Noticeably absent are any modern tools -- laptops, DNA tests, X-ray scanners. He likes to do things the old-fashioned way. Medicine was better 100 years ago. How long would it take before you ran screaming out the door?

Yet, that's precisely the attitude the organic food and "back to nature" movements embrace.

In most things in life, we desire cutting-edge technology: Faster computers, self-driving cars, virtual reality, high-definition TV1. From telecommunications and transportation to healthcare and entertainment, we demand the very best that money can buy.

But not food. We don't want technology anywhere near that. Neanderthal know-how is perfectly fine, thanks. What is going on?

Organic Is the...

We've described research indicating that the cholesterol content of egg yolks shouldn't prevent most people from gaining the nutritional benefits that eggs can provide (see here, for example). And now some recent research suggests that contrary to popular belief, egg consumption may actually alter a person's cholesterol profile for the better. The report was published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Dr. Diana M. DiMarco and colleagues from the University of Connecticut in Storrs enlisted 38 young, healthy men and women between the ages of 18 and 30, none of whom were...

Apparently, you can make any claim with an Asterisk (*), so long as the asterisk clarifies that your claim isn't true. In one of Dr. Oz's latest press releases, the TV 'doc' touts apple cider vinegar (or any vinegar) as a miracle health benefit: it improves blood flow, prevents diabetes, encourages weight loss, and prevents cancer. But not too long ago on the Dr. Oz show, he caveats his claims by saying this: "As with any trend, it’s easy to get lost...

When it comes to cooking, olive oil takes the cake for nutrition, flavor, and healthy fats. So it makes sense that someone would find a reason to hate it; it's the anti-science way, after all! Internet rumors swirl about the low smoke point of olive oil and claims that reaching it is potentially toxic to your health. It isn't true, and here's why.

 

 

Some new controversy has been cooked up recently about eggs - which is a bit hard to unscramble (ok, ok - that's enough.) 

Controversy over eggs is like controversy over puppies. Or a bouquet of tulips. Or the Oscar for Best Picture.... well, forget that last one.

This time, it's not the usual "there's too much cholesterol" or "only eat the white parts" - neither of which have any basis in science, by the way. Now, the concern that is being echoed on natural food sites across the internet is that particular methods of cooking eggs, scrambling them in particular, is dangerous because heating the yolk can convert the cholesterol in it into the most dangerous form of cholesterol - very low density lipoprotein (VLDL.) 

In fact, on the website Terrific Fitness,...

A group called "World Action on Science and Health" (WASH) has declared March 20-26 as "Salt Awareness Week;" their goal being to encourage people all over the world to cut back on their salt consumption. The ostensible aim of this move is to improve health by getting people to consume no more than 5 grams of salt per day. Since salt is 40 percent sodium (the component that's the real target), that would be 2,000 mg of sodium daily. And in kitchen terms, one teaspoon of table salt would be about 2400 mg of sodium. That's not a lot of salt!

However, most of the salt we consume doesn't come from the salt shaker at meals. Instead, it's already present in most of the processed foods we eat, as shown below (courtesy American Heart Association): Hard to believe one slice of white...