Monday, January 26, 2015

This word helps sell $40 billion on food. Has it worked on you?

Research from Nielsen reveals that the word "natural" on food labeling is the second most powerful word or phrase in food marketing, helping to sell $40.7 billion worth of food in the United States alone. (First place belongs to "Fat Content" which was found on $64 billion of food packaging.)

So it was significant this past November when a U.S. court determined that General Mills could no longer use the term "100 percent natural" to describe food that contains processed ingredients.  Now the new packaging must specifically describe the part of the food that is indeed natural.  For example, instead of saying the entire product is "100 percent natural," they now must say "Made with 100 percent natural oats."  (Kellogg and Pepsi Co have also faced lawsuits around the use of the word "natural" many of them still in progress.)

This was the General Mills lawyer's defense explaining why they should be able to use the word natural:

"The word natural is completely meaningless.  Everything is natural.  Nature includes everything.  It's not just trees and flowers.  It's everything.  A chemical company's toxic waste is completely natural.  It's part of nature.  We're all part of nature.  Everything is natural.  Dog poo (censored) is natural.  It's just not real good food."

Actually I'm pulling your leg.  The above is from a comedy monologue by comedian George Carlin.  Carlin was making fun of people who think they are eating healthy by buying products with the word "natural" on them.  That said, it does make a pretty good defense for the use of the word.  A defense however that essentially renders the word meaningless.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

If you have a young child who has trouble sleeping you'll want to read this.

A pool by the National Sleep Foundation found that two out of every three children ten years old or under have experienced some kind of sleep disorder.

If your child has trouble sleeping, a University of Oxford study is cause for hope.

Study findings showed that children who took 600 mg supplement of Omega-3 enjoyed 58 more minutes of sleep and seven fewer waking episodes each night then the children given corn and soybean placebos.

The study found that higher levels of the long-chain Omege-3 DHA were significantly associated not only better sleep, but less bedtime resistance.

Although further research is required because only a small number (362) of children were involved in the study, co-investigator Dr. Ale Richardson is optimistic...

"This randomized controlled trial does suggest that children’s sleep can be improved by DHA supplements and indicates yet another benefit of higher levels of omega-3 in the diet,” he says.

You can purchase high-quality fish and plant-based DHA supplements in most grocery stores and pharmacies.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Is this the only diet tip you really need?

Home cooking is on its way out.

Not tomorrow, or the day after - but years down the road. That’s the prediction of food consultant Harry Balzer.

Balzar believes the reason for this shift is because people don't want to spend time preparing and cooking their meals.  They want convenience.

However despite Balzar’s dire prediction about the future of home cooking, he also says that if you want to eat healthy you just have to do one thing...

Only eat food you prepare yourself.

Now this doesn't include foods that you buy and merely heat up obviously.  He's referring to foods where you actually assemble ingredients and then cook them all together to form a finished culinary masterpiece.

Bestselling author and nutritional expert Michael Pollan subscribes to Balzar's advice. Pollan uses French fries as an example of how this will help you eat right.  French fries are something that fast food chains know how to make extremely tasty.

But when was the last time you actually took the time to make them at home?

Six weeks ago?  Six months ago?  Longer?

The reason most people don't make their own french fries is it's too labor intensive.  You have to buy the potatoes, peel them, slice them, heat them up in a pot of oil, fry them and then finally eat them.

So not only will the "Only eat food you prepare yourself" rule save you from eating too many french fries which are generally acknowledged as not being the healthiest food on the planet, it will keep you from relying on processed foods as part of your daily meal.  And that can never be a bad thing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Is this stopping you from losing weight?

“Just one can’t really hurt too much, can it?”

Perhaps you’ve thought this when you're out with friends during a time when you're trying to stick to a diet.
After all, you’ve done your homework.  A typical can of beer (356 g) only contains 154 calories and a 5 ounce (148 g) glass of wine only contains 123 calories.

Not enough really to disrupt your weight loss plans.

Or is it?

Actually just one drink has a much bigger impact on your body weight-wise than just adding calories.  When you drink alcohol your body burns fat slower than usual.

In his book Eat More Weigh Less, Dr Dean Ornish cites a study that found drinking three ounces of alcohol reduced the body's ability to burn fat by one third.  (Other studies have shown that alcohol can hinder fat burning up to 73%.)

So if you're looking to get rid of that beer belly or unwanted fat around your midriff, you'll have the best results if you totally eliminate alcohol from your diet.

If that's not incentive enough, here's something else...

A recent study found that men consume an additional 433 calories on the days they drink a moderate amount of alcohol (61% of that comes from the alcohol itself.)

The study also showed that on the days when alcohol was consumed, more meat and other foods containing high levels of saturated fat were also eaten (and less fruit and milk were consumed.)