Are artificial sweeteners bad for you?

A friend and I were discussing the documentary That Sugar Film the other day and she asked me about the claim in the movie that artificial sweeteners were bad for you, too, because they actually made you eat more.

I couldn’t recall exactly what was said in the film, but decided to do a little research on my own to answer her question.

The FDA-approved artificial sweeteners are saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low), aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet), neotame, sucralose (Splenda), acesulfame K (Sweet One) and stevia (Truvia).

Because they are “low-energy” sweeteners and don’t contain any calories, it seems a no brainer … Continue reading

PBS – “In Defense of Food”

If you’re interested in starting out the New Year with a better eating plan, check out the PBS production of Michael Pollan’s best-selling book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.

What is Pollan’s manifesto? Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Advice for healthy eating doesn’t get much simpler than that.

In Defense of Food premiers Wednesday, December 30th. Check your local listings for the time. Here’s the trailer:

Michael Pollan hosts the program himself and examines how the typical high-calorie, low-nutrient American diet came to pass and what we can do to reclaim … Continue reading

“That Sugar Film”

that sugar filmIt probably wasn’t the best idea to watch this documentary just a few days before one of the most sugar-laden holidays of the year.

On the other hand, I will definitely be more conscious about how much sugar I eat and will hopefully avoid a huge sugar hangover—that slightly sick, tired, yucky feeling I get after eating too many sweet foods.

That Sugar Film is one of several sugar documentaries that have come out recently that attempt to show us just how bad sugar is for our health.

Related story from Time: Sugar is definitely toxic, a new study saysContinue reading

Health benefits of coffee and tea

Now that the days are dark, wet and cold, I find myself drinking a couple extra cups of coffee or tea every day.

Luckily for me most evidence supports the health benefits of both coffee and tea (black or green). Dr. Aaron Carroll over at Healthcare Triage recently made two videos to reassure us coffee lovers that moderate consumption of both coffee and tea is a good thing!

Coffee! It’s Not Bad for You, and It might Even be Good!

Is Drinking Tea Good for You?

As always, Dr. Carroll … Continue reading

Good news! Bacon probably won’t kill you

Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it was going to classify red meat and processed meats (bacon, hots dogs, salami, pepperoni, etc.) as cancer causing agents.

I mentally thought about all the bacon, hot dogs, pepperoni pizzas, and pastrami sandwiches I have fed my son through the years. What kind of a mother am I? (In my defense, my son’s had WAY more fruit and vegetables than average.)

Thank heavens Dr. Aaron Carroll over at Healthcare Triage understood my pain and made this great video to reassure me that I am not the worst mother ever!

Don’t self diagnose food allergies

When you go to the grocery store is your cart full of “free” foods, such as soy-free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, etc.?

With so many of these products being heavily marketed, and poor health information being widely spread on the internet through Facebook, blogs and other social networking sites, it’s easy to make assumptions about food allergies for your and/or your children.

Common symptoms that everyone gets occasionally—nausea, diarrhea, acne, fatigue, weight gain, rashes, and sinusitis—are frequently misdiagnosed as food allergies or intolerances.

I have had many friends over the years who have told me they or one of … Continue reading

The FDA wants new sugar rules

It’s not too late to give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) your opinion on its latest effort to require that more information be provided on food labels.

Last year, food labels began listing the amount of added sugar per serving (usually listed in grams).

Now the FDA proposes that labels also show sugar as a percentage of the recommended daily intake or value (%DV). Labels already do this for most vitamins and minerals, fats, fiber and sodium.

Sugar’s %DV would be based on the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s recent recommendation  that people limit sugar to 10% of their … Continue reading

Save your money – Fish oil supplements

I confess.

I once bought an enormous jar of fish oil supplements from Costco—and then let it sit in a cabinet mostly untouched until well past its expiration date. (I hate taking pills.)

That was doubly wasteful on my part. Not only for ignoring the capsules once I’d bought them, but for buying them in the first place.

recent article in the business pages of the Washington Post marveled that the fish oil supplement industry is booming despite any solid evidence that fish oil supplements work as claimed.

People in the United States spend about $1.2 billion annually for

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Too much vitamin B12

Last weekend my husband participated in a golf tournament. It was sponsored by Costco, and each player received a swag bag of Costco merchandise.

When he got home, my husband and I took a look at his “gifts.” I couldn’t help but laugh.

  • OptiFiber Natural Fiber Supplement
  • Body & Soul My Vision Health Eye Vitamins
  • Natrol Fast Dissolve Melatonin
  • Focus Factor Brain Health Supplement
  • Testosterone Support For Men Supplement
  • Slice of Life Energy Boost Gummy Vitamins With B12
  • ZipFizz Healthy Energy Drink Mix With Vitamin B12
  • Oh, and some golf balls and tees

The organizers of that tournament knew their … Continue reading

Find a Farmers Market in your area

farmers marketEat fresh & local

I am fortunate to live in an area that has abundant Farmers Markets that operate year-round. They not only offer fresh, locally-grown produce, but baked goods, jams & jellies, cheeses, nuts, cut flowers, and a variety of local artisan crafts.

The summer months are my favorite. I can find summer fruits that are at their peak of ripeness and flavor, unlike the under-ripe, flavorless versions that are sold in the grocery stores. Cherries, peaches, apricots, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries all taste better (and are often cheaper) when they are locally grown and picked within the last … Continue reading

Is salt bad for you?

That’s a question that continues to be debated in the medical journals, but the short answer is probably not.

Too much salt or sodium is bad for you, like almost anything; but now we’re learning that too little sodium can be bad for us, too.

A few weeks ago, the Washington Post had a nice article explaining how salt came to be thought of as the enemy of good health, and why new research indicates that current low sodium guidelines might be too low: More scientists doubt salt is as bad for you as the government says

For years, the

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Fluoride in tap water

Recently, the US Public Health Service issued new recommendations to slightly lower the amount of fluoride that’s put in our community drinking water.

That’s because we have access to other sources of fluoride, mostly toothpaste and mouth rinses, so we don’t need as much in the water supply.

Related posts:

Since the early 1960s our tap water has been fluoridated, and the incidence of tooth decay has been significantly decreased. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) hails community water fluoridation as one of the 10 greatest public health achievementsContinue reading

Treat headaches with diet and exercise

Earlier this year, I posted about the study out of Harvard that showed headaches are being overtreated in America.

Over a 10-year period, the number of patients being referred to specialists, or sent for special diagnostic tests, has doubled.

With more CT scans and MRIs, and more prescriptions medications, headaches are costly. Also, all the extra tests and drugs don’t necessarily help, and they might just cause more problems with side effects.

Related post: Home remedies for headaches

Luckily, some headache specialists are leaning away from the trend to overtreat, and are prescribing exercise and dietary changes instead of drugs. … Continue reading

Healthy food should be delicious

I read a good article in The Wall Street Journal a few days ago: How Flavor Drives Nutrition

For nearly a half century, America has been on a witch hunt to find the ingredient that is making us fat. In the 1980s, the culprit was fat itself. Next it was carbs. Today, sugar is the enemy—unless you’re caught up in the war on gluten.

And none of it has worked. Obesity is now closing in on smoking as our No. 1 preventable cause of death. The U.S. has rarely failed at anything the way it has failed at weight loss.

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Fast food ban doesn’t work

I didn’t know this, but apparently in 2008 South Los Angeles enacted an ordinance to regulate or limit fast food sales. It was an attempt to lower obesity rates in some of the poorest and unhealthiest neighborhoods.

Now, seven years later, a study has been published that says the intervention didn’t work. It not only didn’t work, but the obesity rates were higher.

As for the health of the residents, according to the survey, obesity and being overweight increased in all areas from 2007 to 2012, and the increase was significantly greater in the regulated area. Consumption of

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