Why Fad Diets Are Wrong about Sugar in Fruit

Carrie Dennett wrote . . . . . . . . .

In recent months, my dietitian colleagues and I have been encountering more and more people making claims like “fruit is bad for you” or “fruit is toxic”. “What is going ON?” one of them posted on a dietitian internet mailing list. What’s going on is that the current crop of fad diets – such as paleo, keto, carnivore and pegan – have persuaded a lot of people that fruit is a dietary no-no.

There was a time when we didn’t question whether fruit was good for us, when we more or less took “eat your fruits and veggies” to heart. Today, many people are worried that fruit is too high in carbs, sugar and calories.

One of my patients wouldn’t eat any fruit other than blueberries because she had bought into the myth – again, promoted by fad diets – that blueberries are the only “safe” fruit to eat because they are “low glycemic” (in other words, they don’t cause your blood sugar to spike). Here’s the kicker: she didn’t even like blueberries.

Berries are the only fruit allowed on the pegan diet, a mash-up of paleo and vegan diets – the subtext being that other fruit is a ticket to high blood sugar. This, believe it or not, is a fairly liberal stance compared to other trending diets. For example, many followers of the keto diet and the carnivore diet (aka the “zero carb” diet) call fruit toxic because of its sugar. Now that’s what I consider disordered eating.

It’s true that whole fruit contains sugar, but it is natural sugar. The sugar we would be wise to limit is added sugar, found in regular soda and many highly processed foods. When you eat an apple, a pear, a peach or some berries, their sugar comes wrapped in a fibre-, water- and nutrient-rich package. Fibre slows the release of fruit’s natural sugar into your bloodstream, preventing a sugar spike, especially if you eat your fruit as part of a meal or snack that contains protein and healthy fats.

Ditching fruit may mean missing out on some key nutrients. Many fruits are rich in not just vitamins and minerals but also phytochemicals, which are natural plant-based compounds that appear to have a variety of health benefits, including helping to prevent cancer and promote cardiovascular health. Pigment-rich berries and cherries are especially good sources of phytochemicals, but apples, oranges and other fruits contain phytochemicals, too.

Some of my older patients have adopted the blueberries-only rule because of preliminary research on the Mind diet – a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and the Dash diet. This research found an association between eating blueberries and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease – likely because blueberries are rich in a type of phytochemical called anthocyanins. Other fruit was found to be “neutral”, meaning it appeared to neither increase nor decrease risk of Alzheimer’s – but somehow, the information has been twisted to make patients think they should avoid all fruit except berries.

This is unfortunate because even if clinical research confirms that non-berry fruit doesn’t help prevent Alzheimer’s, such fruit may still help prevent other chronic diseases we would all like to avoid. A study published in the March issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, for example, found that moderate fruit intake was associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, several cancers and other chronic health conditions.

The bottom line is that fruit – especially when in season – adds pleasure, nutrition and variety to our meals

What about juice? Juice has been vilified (likened to soda but with more nutrients) or glorified (consumed freely because of those nutrients). While drinking juice every time we’re thirsty isn’t a good idea, 100 per cent fruit juice in moderation – an eight-ounce (237ml) glass per day – adds nutritional value to the diet without adding excessive sugar. Orange juice, in particular, does not appear to affect blood sugar, possibly because of the soluble fibre and pectin that makes it into the glass, as well as the phytochemical hesperidin.

Fears about pesticide residues on fruit have also made some people wary about eating non-organic fruit – even though organic agriculture does use approved pesticides, and traces of non-approved pesticides are regularly found on organic produce.

Fears about pesticides tend to get stirred up each year when the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based non-profit activist organisation, releases its “Dirty Dozen” list of “most contaminated” fruits and vegetables. But the EWG’s methods have come under fire, and it is important to remember that even if a specific type of produce has “more” pesticide residue than another type, that residue could be well within levels determined to be safe.

Frankly, fruit doesn’t deserve the bad reputation it’s developing; it is the healthiest sweet around. We naturally like the taste of it because we are born with an affinity for sweetness.

So, how much fruit should you eat? That depends on your age, gender and level of physical activity. Two cups (256g) per day is the US Dietary Guidelines’ recommendation for men and younger women; the recommendation drops to 1½ cups (192g) for women older than 30. If you get more than 30 minutes per day of moderate-intensity exercise, you may choose to include more.

The bottom line is that fruit – especially when in season – adds pleasure, nutrition and variety to our meals. So go beyond plopping some berries in your cereal or yogurt: have an orange with your scrambled tofu, an apple with your almonds, a juicy peach for dessert. You’ll be happier – and healthier.

Source: SCMP

Veal Saltimbocca


1 pound veal scallops (escalopes)
1/4 cup butter, cut up
8 slices prosciutto (Parma ham)
bunch of fresh sage + 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup dry white wine


  1. Lightly pound the veal with a meat tenderizer so that it is thin and of even thickness.
  2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over high heat. Cook the veal until browned, 2-3 minutes on each side. If the scallops don’t all fit in the pan in a single layer, cook them in two pans or in two batches.
  3. Remove from the pan, top each scallop with a half slice of prosciutto and two sage leaves. Secure with toothpicks.
  4. Return the veal to the pan with the butter and add the chopped sage. Cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Season with salt.
  5. Turn up the heat. Pour in the wine and let it evaporate.
  6. Discard the toothpicks and serve at once.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Modern Mediterranean Cooking

Future Food: Are Blended Meats the Future of Flexitarian Dining?

Catherine Lamb wrote . . . . . . . . .

Earlier today Tyson Foods announced Raised & Rooted, its long-awaited venture into the alternative protein space. Its first products aren’t strictly vegan; they include both animal products and plant-based ingredients. One is a vegetarian chicken nugget made with egg whites and plants and the other is a blended burger composed of Angus beef and pea protein.

Tyson isn’t the only Big Meat company diversifying into the alt-protein market. Just yesterday, Perdue — the fourth largest chicken producer in the U.S. (Tyson is the first) — announced it would also be releasing a line of blended chicken products. Interestingly, Perdue sourced some of its plant-based ingredients with help from Better Meat Co, the startup which makes vegan protein meant to be blended with meat to make it healthier and more sustainable.

Perdue and Tyson are smart to take baby steps into the alternative protein space, though at this point it’s clearly too big a market opportunity to ignore (except for Arby’s, apparently). By starting with blended products, major meat processing companies can grow their customer base into a new market, all while retaining its existing infrastructure.

But there will inevitably be some pushback by those claiming that blended burgers and nuggets are purely a marketing tactic from Big Meat. Which they, of course, are — and a smart one at that. By rolling out a line of (at least semi-) plant-based meats, companies like Tyson and Perdue are showing consumers that they are brands which have their finger on the pulse of what’s new and hip.

Vegetarians and vegans may see these products as a step in the wrong direction. But to those who get in a huff about blended meat, let me say this: it’s a step in the right direction. Sure, consumers who eat a Raised & Rooted burger are still eating meat — but they’re eating less meat than they would otherwise. It’s a good stop-gap until plant-based darlings like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods perfect their products, or cell-based meat takes over.

For those who prefer their burgers sans meat, this week Beyond Meat announced it’s now selling the long-awaited Beyond Beef in one specific Whole Foods in Boulder, CO. (Fun fact: That location was the first-ever to sell Beyond’s plant-based patties in the meat section.) The company is also dropping a new, meatier version of its plant-based burger patties with better fat marbling to give the patties a texture more akin to beef and apple extract to make the meat brown once cooked.

It’s no surprise that Beyond is firing on all cylinders, debuting new products and improving old ones at a rapid clip. Especially when Big Food companies — Tyson and Perdue, sure, but also Nestlé and Unilever — are all waking up to the potential of the plant-based protein market.

Beyond may have had a wildly successful IPO and enjoy a strong foothold in retail right now, but it’s got competition coming in — and not just from Impossible. No wonder it’s aiming for such an accelerated growth rate in its first year as a public company.

Source: The Spoon

Brush Your Teeth and Postpone Alzheimer´s Disease

Kim E. Andreassen wrote . . . . . . . . .

The researchers have determined that gum disease (gingivitis) plays a decisive role in whether a person developes Alzheimer´s or not.

“We discovered DNA-based proof that the bacteria causing gingivitis can move from the mouth to the brain,” says researcher Piotr Mydel at Broegelmanns Research Laboratory, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen (UiB).

The bacteria produces a protein that destroys nerve cells in the brain, which in turn leads to loss of memory and ultimately, Alzheimer´s.

The study is published in Science Advances.

Brush your teeth for better memory

Mydel points out that the bacteria is not causing Alzheimer´s alone, but the presence of these bacteria raise the risk for developing the disease substantially and are also implicated in a more rapid progression of the disease. However, the good news is that this study shows that there are some things you can do yourself to slow down Alzheimer’s.

“Brush your teeth and use floss”.

Mydel adds that it is important, if you have established gingivitis and have Alzheimer´s in your family, to go to your dentist regularly and clean your teeth properly.

New medicine being developed

Researchers have previously discovered that the bacteria causing gingivitis can move from the mouth to the brain where the harmful enzymes they excrete can destroy the nerve cells in the brain.

Now, for the first time, Mydel has DNA-evidence for this process from human brains. Mydel and his colleagues examined 53 persons with Alzheimer´s and discovered the enzyme in 96 per cent of the cases. According to Mydel, this knowledge gives researchers a possible new approach for attacking Alzheimer´s disease.

“We have managed to develop a drug that blocks the harmful enzymes from the bacteria, postponing the development of Alzheimer´s. We are planning to test this drug later this year, says Piotr Mydel.

Source: University of Bergen

Study: Antibiotics that Dentists Prescribe Are Unnecessary 81% of the Time

Antibiotics prescribed by dentists as a preemptive strike against infection are unnecessary 81% of the time, according to a study published today in JAMA Network Open.

The findings are important because dentists are responsible for 10% of all antibiotic prescriptions written in the United States.

Antibiotics prescribed when not warranted expose patients to the risk of side effects unnecessarily and also contribute to the problem of antibiotic resistance – bacteria evolving to make the drugs ineffective.

Antibiotics are recommended as a prophylactic prior to some dental procedures for patients with certain types of heart conditions.

Researchers including Jessina McGregor of Oregon State University used a national health care claims database to examine nearly 170,000 dentist-written antibiotic prescriptions from 2011 to 2015.

The prescriptions involved more than 90,000 patients, 57 percent female, with a median age of 63.

Greater than 90 percent of the patients underwent a procedure that possibly warranted taking an antibiotic ahead of time. However, less than 21 percent of those people had a cardiac condition that made an antibiotic prescription recommended under medical guidelines.

“Preventive antibiotics in these patients gave them risks that outweighed the benefits,” said McGregor, an associate professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy.

Led by corresponding author Katie Suda of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy, the researchers also looked at the prescriptions regionally and found unnecessary prescriptions to be most prevalent, on a percentage basis, in the West; 11,601 of the 13,735 prescriptions written, or 85%, were out of sync with the guidelines.

The other regional percentages were 78% for the Northeast, 83% for the Midwest, and 80% for the South.

Eighty-two percent of the unnecessary prescriptions were written in urban population centers, 79% in rural areas.

Among patients who filled prescriptions for unnecessary antibiotics, clindamycin was the most common drug, and joint implants were the most typical reason they were prescribed.

“Dental providers are very thoughtful when they develop care plans for their patients and there are many factors that inform dentists’ recommendations, but this study shows that there is an opportunity for dentists to reevaluate if necessary,” said Susan Rowan of the UIC College of Dentistry. “I think dental providers should view this study, which is the first to look at preventive antibiotic prescribing for dental procedures, as a powerful call to action, not a rebuke.”

The study was limited to patients with commercial dental insurance and the analysis used a broad definition of high-risk cardiac patients, suggesting the findings may underestimate the unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics.

Five other researchers from UIC and one from Northwestern University also collaborated on the study, which was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Source: Oregon State University

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