Tips for Healthy Eating Away from Home

Restaurants, convenience and grocery stores, or fast-food places offer a variety of options when eating out. But larger portions can make it easy to eat or drink too many calories. Larger helpings can also increase your intake of saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. Think about ways to make healthier choices when eating food away from home.

1. Consider your drink

Choose water, fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, and other drinks without added sugars to complement your meal.

2. Savor a salad

Start your meal with a salad packed with vegetables to help you feel satisfied sooner. Ask for dressing on the side and use a small amount of it.

3. Share a main dish

Divide a main entree between family and friends. Ask for small plates for everyone at the table.

4. Select from the sides

Order a side dish or an appetizer-sized portion instead of a regular entree. They’re usually served on smaller plates and in smaller amounts.

5. Pack your snack

Pack fruit, sliced vegetables, low-fat string cheese, or unsalted nuts to eat during road trips or long commutes. No need to stop for other food when these snacks are ready-to-eat.

6. Fill your plate with vegetables and fruit

Stir-fries, kabobs, or vegetarian menu items usually have more vegetables. Select fruits as a side dish or dessert.

7. Compare the calories, fat, and sodium

Many menus now include nutrition information. Look for items that are lower in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Check with your server if you don’t see them on the menu. For more information, check the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website.

8. Pass on the buffet

Have an item from the menu and avoid the “all-you-can-eat” buffet. Steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes have fewer calories than foods that are fried in oil or cooked in butter.

9. Get your whole grains

Request 100% whole-wheat breads, rolls, and pasta when choosing sandwiches, burgers, or main dishes.

10. Quit the “clean your plate” club

Decide to save some for another meal. Take leftovers home in a container and chill in the refrigerator right away.

Source: USDA

Moroccan-style Red Snapper with Chermoula


8 x 6 oz or 4 x 12 oz red snapper, cleaned and scaled
fresh cilantro sprigs and lime wedges, to garnish


4 garlic cloves
sea salt
2 oz chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
pinch of chili powder
2/3 cup olive oil
4 tbsp lemon or lime juice


  1. Begin by preparing the chermoula. Pound the garlic with a pinch of sea salt in a mortar with a pestle. Gradually work in the cilantro and spices. Transfer to a bowl and gradually whisk in the oil, then the lemon juice.
  2. Make 3-4 diagonal slashes on both sides of the fish. Rub the chermoula into the slashes. Place the fish in a nonmetallic dish, cover, and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the broiler or barbecue.
  4. Cook the fish for 4-5 minutes on each side, until the flesh flakes easily. Serve at once, garnished with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Garlic

Scientists Declared Chinese Paddlefish Extinct

Alice Yan wrote . . . . . . . . .

The Chinese paddlefish, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species and a native of the Yangtze River system, has been declared extinct.

Also known as the Chinese swordfish, the species grows up to 7 metres long and is believed to have vanished between 2005 and 2010. Chinese scientists made the announcement in a research paper published in Science of the Total Environment last week.

Wei Qiwei, one of the authors, said the conclusion was based on an evaluation by a panel of experts arranged by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Shanghai in September.

“We respect the evaluation model and experts from the IUCN, although we accept this result with a heavy heart,” Wei, from the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences in Wuhan, told Chutian Metropolis Daily on Friday.

The last confirmed sighting of the giant fish – known in China as the “king of freshwater fish” – was in 2003. It had been on the IUCN’s critically endangered list since 1996 as its population declined due to overfishing and environmental degradation in its Yangtze habitat. The IUCN experts said there had been no imaging evidence of the species since 2009.

“The Chinese paddlefish, Psephurus gladius, was one of only two extant members of a relict lineage that was most diverse and widespread 34-75 million years ago,” the research paper said.

According to the paper, the species had likely been “functionally extinct” – meaning it lacked sufficient breeding pairs to survive – since 1993.

It is the latest blow for the 6,300km (3,915-mile) Yangtze ecosystem. Two other species native to Asia’s longest river have been declared functionally extinct – the reeves shad, a type of fish, in 2015 and the baiji, or Yangtze River dolphin, in 2006. The finless porpoise and the Chinese sturgeon are on the critically endangered list.

The struggling river system has more than 4,000 aquatic species, but dam-building, overfishing, busy water traffic and pollution have taken a toll, with fish stocks dwindling and biodiversity in rapid decline.

Yu Zhenkang, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs, told Xinhua this week there had been an “across-the-board decline” in populations of rare species.

Beijing is now taking tougher action to protect the river’s aquatic life, with a 10-year commercial fishing ban on the Yangtze taking effect from Wednesday. The moratorium aimed to “curb the decline of the river’s ecosystem and any further drop in biodiversity”, Yu said.

It covers 332 conservation sites along the Yangtze, and will be extended to include the main river course and key tributaries by January 1 next year.

Research paper author Wei said a team from the fishery sciences academy had made the last known sighting of a Chinese paddlefish back in 2003.

After attaching an ultrasonic tracker to the fish, they released it back into the Nanxi River, a tributary of the Yangtze in Sichuan province. But they lost the signal after the tracking boat ran into rocks in the fast-flowing river, Wei told Chutian Metropolis Daily.

He said he saw a Chinese paddlefish for the first time, albeit a dead one, in 1984, near the huge Gezhouba dam project on the Yangtze in Hubei province. Over the next nine years, he managed to rescue four of the giant fish that had become trapped, but only one survived and was later released.

“Paddlefish are huge,” he said. “It’s very difficult to raise them [in captivity].”

Source: SCMP

More Doubt That Plaques in the Brain Cause Alzheimer’s

For decades, scientists have known that Alzheimer’s disease is accompanied by the buildup of clumps of amyloid protein between brain cells. Could these plaques be causing the disease?

That’s been a prevailing theory driving Alzheimer’s research for years. But a new study suggests the strategy could be wrong.

Researchers reporting in the journal Neurology have found that early declines in memory and thinking seen in Alzheimer’s patients tend to occur before amyloid plaques begin to appear in the brain, not after.

“Our research was able to detect subtle thinking and memory differences in study participants and these participants had faster amyloid accumulation on brain scans over time, suggesting that amyloid may not necessarily come first in the Alzheimer’s disease process,” study author Kelsey Thomas explained in a journal news release.

“Much of the research exploring possible treatments for Alzheimer’s disease has focused on targeting amyloid, but based on our findings, perhaps that focus needs to shift to other possible targets,” said Thomas, who conducts research at the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

This isn’t the first indication that amyloid plaques might not cause Alzheimer’s disease.

In April, clinical trial data on an experimental Alzheimer’s drug called verubecestat was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The drug reduced amyloid plaque levels in patients’ brains and spinal fluid.

However, despite those reductions, patients showed no easing or slowing of their disease.

Those negative results present “pretty strong evidence that amyloid-lowering is the wrong target,” Dr. David Knopman, a professor of neurology with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said at the time. “They hit the target and yet people got worse, consistently worse, both in terms of brain structure and brain cognition,” he added.

Similar poor results were seen with another amyloid-focused drug, aducanumab. Studies on the drug were halted earlier this year because it didn’t appear to be effective. However, in December it was announced that research into aducanumab might resume.

In the new study, Thomas and her team tracked the neurological health of 747 people, average age 72 years. Everyone got a barrage of tests to spot and follow any changes — even subtle ones — in their memory and thinking skills.

Based on test results, 305 people were deemed to have normal thinking and memory skills, 153 had very subtle thinking and memory differences, and 289 people had mild cognitive impairment — often a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.

The participants also underwent high-tech brain scans at the beginning of the study and then yearly scans over the next four years, looking for signs of amyloid plaque buildup.

The investigators found that amyloid plaque accumulation occurred no faster in people with mild cognitive impairment than it did in people with normal thinking and memory skills.

Other brain changes were seen in conjunction with mild cognitive impairment, however, such as faster thinning of the brain’s entorhinal cortex, as well as brain shrinkage of the hippocampus. Both brain regions are key to memory.

And there could be another culprit at work in Alzheimer’s development, Thomas said.

“From prior research, we know that another biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease, a [brain] protein called tau, shows a consistent relationship with thinking and memory symptoms,” she said. “Therefore, more research is needed to determine if tau is already present in the brain when subtle thinking and memory differences begin to appear.”

The study might lead to a better way to calculate a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s, Thomas added.

“Our study demonstrated a method to successfully detect subtle differences in thinking and memory either before or during the phase when amyloid is accumulating at a faster rate,” she explained. “This could lead to noninvasive screenings that may be able to detect very early who is at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.”

One neurologist unconnected to the new study agreed that it helps point to new and potentially fruitful avenues of research.

The thinking that amyloid plaque buildup “leads to clinical problems is no longer a valid one, as this study demonstrates,” said Dr. Gayatri Devi, a neurologist and psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“Subtle symptoms accompanying or even preceding brain pathology suggest that numerous other factors are involved in the complex risk mixture that leads to Alzheimer’s disease,” Devi said.

Source: HealthDay

Strongest Link Yet between Nitrites and Cancer – But ‘Not All Processed Meat Has Same Risk’

Researchers from Queen’s have questioned the World Health Organisation’s blanket classification of processed meat as carcinogenic after finding significant evidence gaps between processed meat treated with nitrites and nitrite-free processed meat.

Dr Brian Green, Dr William Crowe and Professor Chris Elliott OBE, all from the Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) at Queen’s, reviewed existing peer-reviewed literature on the relationship between processed meat and the development of bowel, colon and rectal cancers. The results of their meta-analysis have been published in the high-impact journal Nutrients.

They found that not all processed meats carry the same level of cancer risk. They initially reviewed all recent, English-language studies into consumption of processed meat and cancer risk and found the results inconclusive – around half the studies evidenced a link with colorectal cancer (CRC). This explains the appearance of contradictory claims in the media in recent years.

But when the researchers isolated research which only tested the consumption of processed meat containing sodium nitrite – a preservative used to extend shelf life and enhance colour – evidence of a link with CRC jumped from half to just under two-thirds – 65%.

“When we looked at nitrite-containing processed meat in isolation – which is the first time this has been done in a comprehensive study – the results were much clearer,” explained Research Fellow Dr William Crowe. “Almost two-thirds of studies found a link with cancer.”

The WHO classified all processed meat as a carcinogen in 2015 – including bacon, sausages and ham as well as continental European products like prosciutto and salami.

Not all processed meat, however, contains nitrites. British and Irish sausages, for example, are not processed with nitrites even though many of the Continental and US sausage equivalents – like frankfurters, pepperoni and chorizo – are. Some newer types of bacon and ham, processed without nitrites, are also appearing on the market.

In its 2015 statement, the WHO did not distinguish between processed meats containing nitrites and those without. Based on the results of their meta-study, the IGFS researchers now believe there is a need to define the health risk of both types of processed meat – separately.

Co-author Professor Chris Elliott OBE, who carried out the UK Government’s inquiry into food safety after the horsemeat scandal, said this latest research brought more clarity to what has been a confusing area for the food industry and the public.

He said: “Because there have been conflicting claims in the scientific community and the media about which types of meat may be carcinogenic, this study couldn’t have come at a better time. It brings much-needed rigour and clarity and points the way for further research in this area.”

So should the public immediately stop eating processed meat containing nitrites? “It’s important we eat a healthy, balanced diet in line with the government’s ‘Eatwell Guide’,” said study lead author, Dr Brian Green. “The current Department of Health guidance advises the public to consume no more than 70g of red or processed meat per day.

“That remains the guidance, but we hope that future research investigating the link between diet and CRC will consider each type of meat individually rather than grouping them together. Our findings clearly show that not all processed meats, for example, carry the same level of risk.

“There is more research to be done before we can definitively prove causality regarding processed meat and cancer – there are so many variables when it comes to people’s diets. But based on our study, which we believe provides the most thorough review of the evidence on nitrites to date, what we can confidently say is that a strong link exists between nitrite-containing processed meat, such as frankfurters, and CRC.”

The IGFS team intends following up its evidence review with a pre-clinical study probing the effects of nitrite-containing meat on CRC.

Source: Queen’s University Belfast

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