What’s New with the Nutrition Facts Label

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has updated the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods and drinks. FDA is requiring changes to the Nutrition Facts label based on updated scientific information, new nutrition research, and input from the public. This is the first major update to the label in over 20 years. The label’s refreshed design and updated information will make it easier for you to make informed food choices that contribute to lifelong healthy eating habits.

Number 1: Serving Sizes Get Real

Servings per container and serving size information appear in large, bold font. Serving sizes have also been updated to better reflect the amount people typically eat and drink today. NOTE: The serving size is not a recommendation of how much to eat.

  • The nutrition information listed on the Nutrition Facts label is usually based on one serving of the food; however some containers may also have information displayed per package.
  • One package of food may contain more than one serving.

Number 2: Calories Go Big

Calories are now in larger and bolder font to make the information easier to find and use.

2,000 calories a day is used as a guide for general nutrition advice. Your calorie needs may be higher or lower depending on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level. Check your calorie needs.

Number 3: The Lows and Highs of % Daily Value

The percent Daily Value (%DV) shows how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a total daily diet. Daily Values for nutrients have been updated, which may make the percent Daily Value higher or lower on the new Nutrition Facts label. As a general guide:

  • 5% DV or less of a nutrient per serving is considered low.
  • 20% DV or more of a nutrient per serving is considered high.

Number 4: Nutrients – The Updated List

What information is no longer required on the label?

  • Calories from fat has been removed because research shows the type of fat consumed is more important than the amount.
  • Vitamin A and C are no longer required on the label since deficiencies of these vitamins are rare today. These nutrients can be included on a voluntary basis.

What information was added to the label?

  • Added sugars have been added to the label because consuming too much added sugars can make it hard to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits. Added sugars include sugars that are added during the processing of foods (such as sucrose or dextrose), foods packaged as sweeteners (such as table sugar), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices.
  • Vitamin D and potassium are now required to be listed on the label because Americans do not always get the recommended amounts. Diets higher in vitamin D and potassium can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and high blood pressure, respectively.

What vitamins and minerals stayed the same?

Calcium and iron will continue to be listed on the label because Americans do not always get the recommended amounts. Diets higher in calcium and iron can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and anemia, respectively.

Make the Label Work for You

Use the label to support your personal dietary needs—choose foods that contain more of the nutrients you want to get more of and less of nutrients you may want to limit.

More often, choose foods that are:

  • Higher in dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium.
  • Lower in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.

Choosing healthier foods and beverages can help reduce the risk of developing some health conditions, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and anemia.

Source: U.S. Food & Drug

Pickled Green Sandwich

Ingredients

3/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup thinly sliced leek
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp plain yogurt
1/3 cup basil
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 large avocado, thinly sliced
8 slices whole grain or gluten-free bread, toasted
4 cups baby greens
1 cup sliced cucumber
2 (7-1/2 oz) pkgs smoked tofu, sliced in half lengthwise

Method

  1. In medium saucepan, bring vinegar, 3/4 cup water, honey, salt, mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes to a boil. Cook until honey and salt have dissolved.
  2. Place onion and leek in bowl, cover with vinegar mixture, and let sit for at least 2 hours. Refrigerate tightly for up to 2 weeks.
  3. In a blender, place mayo, yogurt, basil, chives, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt, and puree until smooth.
  4. Divide and smash avocado on 4 slices of toasted bread. Arrange greens and cucumbers over avocado. Top with tofu and pile on pickled veggies.
  5. Spread remaining 4 bread slices with basil sauce and place on sandwich sauce side down. Slice sandwiches in half to serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Alive magazine

In Pictures: Breakfast Sandwiches

Getting on with Your Life in the Age of Coronavirus

Serena Gordon wrote . . . . . . . . .

As coronavirus continues to spread across America, people in some areas are quarantined. Conferences, sporting events and travel plans are being called off, while hand sanitizer and toilet paper is flying off the shelves.

Short of finding a well-stocked bunker, how can you learn to live with this new normal?

An important key to living with the looming threat of this virus is flexibility, experts say.

“You have to be willing to change as the situation changes, and it’s likely to keep changing for a while. This is a good time to think about what you would do if your child’s school closed? If you had to keep working, who could you count on?” said Robin Gurwitch, a psychologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

Living with uncertainty

Gurwitch said uncertainty leads to high anxiety and panic. She said that’s likely one of the reasons why people have been stockpiling things like hand sanitizer and toilet paper.

During any viral outbreak, “one of the things that helps to reduce anxiety and worry is when we have a very clear and unified messaging from respected officials. Viruses aren’t political, they’re a public health issue,” Gurwitch explained.

“What is creating more distress now is that there are really different messages out there. When that happens, people start filling in the gaps in the messaging themselves, and they may think they’re not being told everything. That’s when you get panic buying,” she said.

“Coronavirus has taken quite a bit of our sense of control. But buying supplies is something I can control. I can know that I have enough supplies. And it makes me feel like, ‘I’ve got this,'” Gurwitch said.

Here are some additional steps you can take to bring back a little bit of normalcy to your life.

At home

Plenty of folks were caught short and don’t have a supply of hand sanitizer, but soap and water are fine. “At home, you don’t need alcohol-based sanitizer. Soap and water are also very effective,” said Chunhuei Chi, director of the Center for Global Health at Oregon State University.

Chi said when you get home, wash your hands well, and clean your cellphone with alcohol, or put soap and a little water on a paper towel, clean your phone and immediately dry it.

Don’t forget to clean surfaces that everyone touches often — doorknobs, toilet handles, faucets and remote controls.

Out and about

Life does go on, and you’ll need to go to work, school and shopping. When you leave your home, Chi suggested carrying tissues with you. Whenever you need to open a door, grab a shopping cart or even push an elevator button, use a tissue to create a barrier between you and the object. If you have hand sanitizer — containing at least 60% alcohol — he said you can use it to disinfect your hands.

“This virus is very sensitive to alcohol,” Chi said.

Many stores also keep sanitizing wipes by their carts for you to clean the handle before you shop.

Dr. Debra Spicehandler, co-chief of infectious diseases at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y, said it’s important to pay attention to potentially common sources of infection.

“After touching pens, money, credit cards, or even salt and pepper shakers, try to use hand sanitizer right away. If you can’t, don’t touch your hands to your face,” she said.

And, Spicehandler said, skip handshakes altogether.

Travel

Travel is becoming more of a challenge. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising that people defer cruise ship travel for now. That’s especially true for anyone with an underlying chronic illness that might put them at greater risk from the coronavirus, such as heart or lung disease or diabetes. While you might not get your money back, your cruise line may give you credit for a future cruise.

The CDC is advising people not to fly to countries where coronavirus is widespread, such as China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. Check the CDC website before traveling internationally. The CDC said air travel itself isn’t likely to be a problem.

Dr. Krystina Woods, director of infection prevention at Mount Sinai West in New York City, explained, “Planes do have filtered air. Proximity [to someone who is ill] is the thing that might be concerning, and you don’t have much control over who is sitting beside you on a plane. But you do have control over whether you wash your hands or touch your face.”

If you decide to cancel a flight, policies on whether or not you can get a credit or refund vary, so check with your airline.

Large events

At least for the foreseeable future, it’s going to be important to check whether or not an event is still taking place. A number of large conferences and events have been delayed or canceled out of an abundance of caution. The big California music festival Coachella has been rescheduled to the fall. New York stalled its big auto show until August, and the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, was canceled.

“Indoor gatherings, especially any with 1,000 or more people, should be avoided,” Chi said.

Learning to live with the risk

“There’s been a lot of concern, bordering on panic recently. But most people who get the virus have relatively minor illness and the majority are getting better,” Woods said.

Gurwitch advised staying up-to-date on the situation by checking reliable sources of information, such as the CDC. And take the steps you can to control your personal and family situation.

If you do get symptoms — fever, cough, difficulty breathing — call your doctor or local emergency room to find out what to do, Spicehandler advised. The CDC also recommends calling your doctor if you find out you’ve been exposed to someone who develops COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.

Source: HealthDay

Repurposed Antidepressant Could be a New Treatment for Recurrent Prostate Cancer

Leigh Hopper wrote . . . . . . . . .

n antidepressant in use for decades, repurposed to fight prostate cancer, shows promise in helping patients whose disease has returned following surgery or radiation, a pilot study at USC shows.

The drug — an MAO inhibitor called phenelzine — represents a potential new treatment direction with fewer side effects for men with recurrent prostate cancer, researchers said.

“To our knowledge, this study is the first clinical trial of an MAO inhibitor in cancer patients,” said senior author Jean Shih, a University Professor at the USC School of Pharmacy who has studied the enzyme MAO, or monoamine oxidase, for four decades.

The research appears in the journal Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases.

“If our findings are confirmed, this could part of a new avenue for patients that could avoid undesirable side effects of standard therapies,” said first author Mitchell Gross, a medical oncologist and research director at the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC. Gross and Shih have been collaborating for several years to bring her research out of the lab and into the clinic.

In this study, 11 of 20 participants had a measurable decline in their PSA levels after 12 weeks of twice-a-day treatment, with the greatest decline in PSA being a 74% drop. PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen. Among men treated for prostate cancer, elevated PSA levels can indicate that prostate cancer cells are still circulating in the body.

How MAO inhibitors can help prostate cancer patients

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer — behind skin cancer — diagnosed in men in the United States, with about 174,000 cases diagnosed each year. For most patients, prostate cancer is treated with surgery, radiation or a combination of the two.

After surgery, a patient’s PSA should be close to zero. However, in about one-third of patients, the PSA level rises again, indicating the cancer has returned. Hormone therapy is a standard treatment for recurrent prostate cancer, but it comes with serious side effects that impact quality of life.

That’s where MAO inhibitors may be able to help.

MAO inhibitors treat depression by readjusting levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine in the brain. The downside is that the medication requires dietary changes and careful avoidance of drug interactions to prevent serious side effects.

In prostate cancer, MAO inhibitors disrupt androgen receptor signaling — the main growth pathway for prostate cancer. Previous studies with animals and human prostate cancer cell lines showed that MAO inhibitors decreased the growth and spread of prostate cancer, the researchers found.

Because the MAO inhibitor phenelzine is already FDA-approved, the researchers were able to rapidly design and implement a pilot study to test the drug’s ability to fight cancer.

Antidepressant lowers PSA levels

For this study, researchers enrolled 20 participants who had been treated for prostate cancer and who had elevated PSA levels. Patients received the MAO inhibitor phenelzine twice a day for 12 weeks. Fifty-five percent of the men experienced PSA declines; five of them saw PSA level declines of 30% or more; two participants saw decreases of 50% or more.

Three patients had to drop out due to dizziness or hypertension.

The main limitations of the study include the lack of a placebo comparison group and the small sample size, researchers said. Additional studies are planned, and Shih has patented a second-generation MAO inhibitor tagged with a substance that could help doctors see where the cancer has spread.

Source: University of Southern California


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