Is Fruit Juice Healthier Than Soda?

It’s great that you’re trying to cut back on soda, but fruit juice isn’t the best substitute. “While the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in fruit juice give it a nutritional edge over soda, it can have the same—or more—sugars and calories,” says Maxine Siegel, R.D., who heads CR’s food-testing lab.

For example, a cup of grape juice has 36 grams of sugars—compared with 27 grams of sugars in a cup of grape soda. “The sugars are natural, but your body processes them in the same way as the added sugars in soda,” Siegel explains. Compared with eating the fruit itself, the sugars in juice are digested and released into your bloodstream faster, causing blood glucose levels to spike.

This triggers the body to pump out large amounts of insulin, which can prompt fat storage and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. In whole fruit, the sugars are encased inside the plant’s cells, so your body has to work harder to break them down. The fiber that fruit contains further slows digestion and, Siegel says, “will likely fill you up long before you eat enough fruit to consume the amount of sugars in a glass of juice.”

Another consideration: If you’re cutting down on soda because the carbonation bothers you, the acidic juices from citrus fruits can also irritate your stomach.

Your best bet is to trade soda for water into which you add either some fruit slices or just a splash of fruit juice for flavor.

Source: Consumer Reports

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Study: Most Popular Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Provide No Health Benefit

The most commonly consumed vitamin and mineral supplements provide no consistent health benefit or harm, suggests a new study led by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto.

Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the systematic review of existing data and single randomized control trials published in English from January 2012 to October 2017 found that multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin C — the most common supplements — showed no advantage or added risk in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke or premature death. Generally, vitamin and mineral supplements are taken to add to nutrients that are found in food.

“We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements that people consume,” said Dr. David Jenkins*, the study’s lead author. “Our review found that if you want to use multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C, it does no harm — but there is no apparent advantage either.”

The study found folic acid alone and B-vitamins with folic acid may reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke. Meanwhile, niacin and antioxidants showed a very small effect that might signify an increased risk of death from any cause.

“These findings suggest that people should be conscious of the supplements they’re taking and ensure they’re applicable to the specific vitamin or mineral deficiencies they have been advised of by their healthcare provider,” Dr. Jenkins said.

His team reviewed supplement data that included A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D and E; and ?-carotene; calcium; iron; zinc; magnesium; and selenium. The term ‘multivitamin’ in this review was used to describe supplements that include most vitamins and minerals, rather than a select few.

“In the absence of significant positive data — apart from folic acid’s potential reduction in the risk of stroke and heart disease — it’s most beneficial to rely on a healthy diet to get your fill of vitamins and minerals,” Dr. Jenkins said. “So far, no research on supplements has shown us anything better than healthy servings of less processed plant foods including vegetables, fruits and nuts.”

Source: Science Daily


Today’s Comic

University Scientists Make Plant-based Vitamin B12 Breakthrough

Sandy Fleming wrote . . . . . . .

Scientists have made a significant discovery about how the vitamin content of some plants can be improved to make vegetarian and vegan diets more complete.

Vitamin B12 (known as cobalamin) is an essential dietary component but vegetarians are more prone to B12 deficiency as plants neither make nor require this nutrient.

But now a team, led by Professor Martin Warren at the University’s School of Biosciences, has proved that common garden cress can indeed take up cobalamin.

The amount of B12 absorbed by garden cress is dependent on the amount present in the growth medium, and the Kent team was able to confirm B12 uptake by showing that the nutrient ends up in the leaf.

The observation that certain plants are able to absorb B12 is important as such nutrient-enriched plants could help overcome dietary limitations in countries such as India, which have a high proportion of vegetarians and may be significant as a way to address the global challenge of providing a nutrient-complete vegetarian diet, a valuable development as the world becomes increasingly meat-free due to population expansion.

The Kent scientists worked with biology teachers and year 11 and 12 pupils at Sir Roger Manwood’s School in Sandwich to investigate the detection and measurement of B12 in garden cress.

The pupils grew garden cress containing increasing concentrations of vitamin B12. After seven days growth, the leaves from the seedlings were removed, washed and analysed.

The seedlings were found to absorb cobalamin from the growth medium and to store it in their leaves. To confirm this initial observation, the scientists at Kent then made a type of vitamin B12 that emits fluorescent light when activated by a laser. This fluorescent B12 was fed to the plants and it was found to accumulate within a specialised part of the leaf cell called a vacuole, providing definitive evidence that some plants can absorb and transport cobalamin.

Vitamin B12 is unique among the vitamins because it is made only by certain bacteria and therefore has to undergo a journey to make its way into more complex multi-cellular organisms. The research described in the paper highlights how this journey can be followed using the fluorescent B12 molecules, which can also be used to help understand why some people are more prone to B12 deficiency.

The discovery also has implications for combating some parasitic infections. Not only did the researchers demonstrate that some plants can absorb vitamin B12, they were also able to use the same technique to follow the movement of fluorescent B12 molecules into worms. These results demonstrate that this is a powerful model to learn about how B12 is absorbed and, as worms must use a different absorption system to mammalian systems, there is the possibility of exploiting this difference to try and treat worm-based parasites such as hook worms.

The research is now published in the journal Cell Chemical Biology.

Source: University of Kent


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Good news for vegetarians – plants can be made to absorb B12 . . . . .

Is Integrative Medicine Right for You?

Len Canter wrote . . . . . . . .

Any approach that differs from conventional — or Western — medicine is typically considered complementary and alternative, or CAM.

But these practices have become much more mainstream, leading to growth in the health care approach called integrative medicine, which draws on traditional and non-traditional systems tailored to each individual’s needs.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health agency that reports on CAM therapies has even changed its name to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, to better reflect this shift in philosophy. Getting familiar with integrative health will help you decide if it’s the approach you want.

Integrative medicine focuses on your well-being and considers all aspects of your health: physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental. It draws on whatever medical approaches — traditional or alternative — will serve you best.

Integrative medicine centers are now part of many leading institutions across the United States, such as the University of Arizona, Duke, Scripps, Vanderbilt and the University of California, San Francisco. Board certification for practitioners from the American Board of Integrative Medicine was introduced in 2014. These advances have made it easier to find integrative doctors and medical centers.

Key Tenets of Integrative Medicine:

  • Creating a partnership between patient and practitioner.
  • Using conventional and alternative methods as needed, and less-invasive yet effective interventions when possible.
  • Focusing on prevention and promoting good health as well as treating illnesses.
  • Training practitioners to be models of health and healing.

Prevention is a hallmark of integrative care because it’s easier, less expensive and better for people to avoid an illness rather than have to treat and manage one. Integrative medicine also recognizes that physical illnesses can affect you emotionally and vice versa, so all aspects of your well-being are addressed.

This, too, means a better outcome for you.

Source: HealthDay

Survey Findings Show Consumers Go with their Gut in the Grocery Aisles

See large image . . . . .

National Survey of more than 2,000 Dietitians Reveals Movement Toward Clean, Natural and Simple with Surprising Predictions for Superfoods in 2018

In its sixth year, with a record-breaking 2,050 registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) responding, the Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian’s “What’s Trending in Nutrition” national survey once again exposes what RDNs predict consumers are thinking and eating. In a surprising switch, fermented foods – like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh, some pickles, kimchi and miso – ousted seeds as the No. 1 superfood for 2018, making it clear that consumers will be “going with their gut” in the coming year by seeking out foods that improve gut health and overall well-being.

“RDNs stay ahead of the trends because they are dedicated to listening and responding to what consumers are looking for when making food choices,” explains Mara Honicker, publisher of Today’s Dietitian. “Our readers stay current on what consumers are thinking as much as they do nutritional science.”

Top 10 Superfoods for 2018

What’s changed for next year is the rise of “fermented foods” to the top spot. Surprising, but true, RDNs predict fermented foods will be highly sought by consumers in 2018. While widely known as the process used for making wine or beer, fermentation is a natural, metabolic process that involves using sugar to create compounds like organic acids, alcohols and gases. Fermented foods may have powerful health benefits from boosting gut health to blunting inflammation. The rest of the rankings included:

  1. Fermented foods, like yogurt
  2. Avocado
  3. Seeds
  4. Nuts
  5. Green tea
  6. Ancient grains
  7. Kale
  8. Exotic fruits
  9. Coconut products
  10. Salmon

The Future is Here

In 2012, “What’s Trending in Nutrition”predicted that consumers would move toward “natural, less processed foods” (according to 72% of respondents). This national sample of RDNs forecasted that consumers were trending toward “simple ingredients” and a greater focus on “plants.” Move forward to today, and their projections have come to fruition as top diets for 2018. Coined, “clean eating” and “plant-based diets,” consumers are demanding foods and products that fit this way of life.

Diets Over Time

After “clean eating” and “plant-based diets,” first-timer, the “ketogenic diet” has made its way to the top as No. 3. This high-fat, generous-protein, barely-any-carb diet designed to produce ketone bodies for energy debuted with a high ranking. Interestingly, in 2013, RDNs felt that the trend in the “low carb diet” had declined. Then a year later, there was a rise in Paleo, Wheat Belly and Gluten-Free. Now, RDNs rank “Wheat Belly” as one of the diets on its way out and ketogenic has overtaken Paleo. Given the popularity of the high-fat ketogenic diet, it makes sense that the “low fat” diet was also ranked as a has-been.

“The movement toward clean eating reflects a change in how consumers view food,” notes Jenna A. Bell, PhD, RD, SVP of Pollock Communications. “Consumers are searching for nutrition information and equating diet with overall well-being.” As an example, Bell points out that the quick rise of fermented foods in the top 10 superfood list shows that consumers have expanded their definition of wellness to include benefits like gut health. “It also suggests that consumers are digging deeper for information about the food they eat and in this instance, finding out why yogurt, kefir or kimchi is so good for them!”

Fake News?

Over the years, the “What’s Trending in Nutrition” survey has captured the RDN perspective on where, how and from whom, consumers are getting their nutrition advice – good and bad. Since 2013, RDNs have acknowledged the power of social media, blogs, websites and celebs on nutrition decisions and the dissemination of misinformation. In 2014, celebrity doctors made their mark in the minds of consumers and RDNs ranked them as a growing provider of nutrition info. In the upcoming year, RDNs take aim and name Facebook as the No. 1 source of nutrition misinformation for consumers, followed by websites and blogs/vlogs.

Through the Years, We All Will Be Together

RDNs continue to recognize that consumers rank taste, cost, convenience and healthfulness as most important in the supermarket. And, the RDN messages remain consistent: MyPlate is the gold standard for helping consumers eat right (79% use it to educate) and it’s best to make small changes, focus on the overall eating pattern (not a single food or nutrient) and make gradual shifts over time. The RDNs top recommendations for 2018 are to limit highly processed foods, increase fiber intake, keep a food journal and choose non-caloric beverages such as unsweetened tea or coffee.

“The annual forecast from the ‘What’s Trending in Nutrition’ national survey shows how consumers are driving change and leading the evolution of diet and nutrition trends,” explains Louise Pollock, President and founder of Pollock Communications. “As they do each year, the unique perspective of RDNs provides media, retailers and food manufacturers a view into the minds of consumers that can help inform their business.”

Source: Pollock Communications