5/10/10

New research

I love reading on road trips. As you can guess, I've done a lot of reading in the past few weeks.
I really enjoy reading new research from credited publications and researchers. I don't find myself on forums but there are several websites that I like to check out every now and then which also keep me updated on the latest health and nutrition trends.
I always keep an open mind when I read health-related articles and I don't feel as if I have to trust, believe and/or try out everything that I read. However, as a professional in the wellness, dietetic (1 year from this month, hopefully!) and exercise physiology field, I believe it is very important for me to stay up-to-date with groundbreaking research as well as knowing where to find the best resources whenever someone has a question or concern. I belong to many organizations so that makes it really easy to know where to find publications and how to properly digest them.
Certainly, I never aspire to know everything but I do want to know enough to feel confident in my recommendations and advice. As you can believe, it is hard to stay current with research when every day there is a new research study telling you to eat this, don't eat this, drink this and exercise this much. It can be very overwhelming trying to know everything so I believe that the best road to knowledge is keeping myself educated and keeping an open mind. Of course, more than anything, I enjoy being able to "practice what I preach". Although I don't expect others to live my vegetarian, endurance athlete lifestyle, I feel I can relate to so many people when it comes to eating healthy and living and active (and competitive) lifestyle.
Because I love teaching just as much as I love learning, I will share some research with you from my favorite newsletters.

Source: Environmental Nutrition: 33(5) May 2010


*Just In: USDA Tightens Up Organic Pasture Rules
When you buy a gallon or organic milk, it's hard to tell how much time the cow it came from spent grazing on pasture. That's due to the opaque National Organic Program pasture regulations, which don't specify the frequency or amount of feed that should come from pasture. But that's about to change. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that clearer standards governing organic ruminant livestock (dairy, cattle and sheep), pasture will take effect in mid-June 2010. The main rules producers will be required to follow:
1) animals must graze pasture during the grazing season, which must be at least 120 days per year
2) animals must obtain a min. of 30% of their total animal feed requirement from grazing pasture during the grazing season
3) pasture must be managed as a crop to meet the feed requirements for the grazing and to protect soil and water quality.

*Soft drinks linked with increase in pancreatic cancer risk:
Data from Singapore Chinese Health Study, which included more than 60,000 Chinese men and women who were observed from up to 14 years, revealed that those who consumed two or more sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages per week had an almost 87% percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer compared to those who did not consume any.

*Omega-3 fatty acids may help young people at risk of developing psychotic disorders:
A randomized, placebo-controlled trial that included 81 people (13-25 yrs) at ultra-high risk of psychotic disorder found that during a one year study period 1.2g/d of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids reduced the risk of progression to psychotic disorders. The trail was conducted in Vienna, Austria.

*Whole grain oat cereal lowers cholesterol and waist size:
That's what researchers discovered in a study of 200 overweight and obese adults who were randomly split into two weight-loss groups consuming 500 fewer calories per day. One group at 2 portions of whole grain oat cereal daily and the other group ate a low-fiber breakfast food equal in calories. The oat cereal group had larger reductions in total and LDL (bad) cholesterol and waist circumference at the 4-week point.


Source: Nutrition Action - May 2010


Pg.8 and 9 - 5 overrated and underrated foods -
(I will only focus on three)

Overrated: SMOOTHIES
It's fine to make your own smoothies at home with low fat yogurt or milk and fresh or frozen fruit (although it's better to eat, rather than drink, your calories if you're watching your weight).
But commercial smoothies are a different story, thanks largely to added sugar and giant servings of juice.
At Smoothie King (with 600 locations worldwide) the "Trim Down" smoothies typically range from 250-350 calories in a small (20oz) to (gulp) 500-700 calories in a large (40oz). A large "Stay Healthy," "Get Energy" or "Snack Right" has 500-1,110 calories.
Yet people think smoothies are diet food. And some fold fall for-and pay extra for-Smoothie King's supplement scams like "2-week weight loss Acai Berry Cleans and Flush" or "Super Boost Green Tea Fat Burning."
At Cold Stone Creamery, a small sinless Smoothie (juice, fruit, and Splenda) can have as few as 110 calories. But Cold Stone's Lifestyle Smoothies pack about 200 calories for a small ("Like it") to 600 calories for a large ("Gotta have it"). And Baskin-Robbins' Fruit Blast Smoothies range from roughly 400-850 calories, depending on the size. They're "made with real fruit"...and a load of sugar.

Overrated: Vegetable Juice
"2 full servings of Vegetables" announces the V8 label. Big deal.
V8 is reconstituted tomato juice. How do we know that its other juices are scarce? The most abundant non-tomato vegetable juice in V8 is carrot (then come celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress and spinach). One cup of carrot juice contains 900% of a day's Vitamin A. One cup of V8 contains 40%.
And unless you buy Low Sodium V8, you get 600 mg sodium in every 11 1/2 oz. can. (Low Sodium has 200mg). Granted V8 used to have more sodium. But 600 mg is still 40% a day's worth.
Also overrated: V8 V-Fusion, which promises a serving of vegetables plus a serving of fruit. The "fruit" in a flavor like Pomegranate Blueberry is mostly apple and grape juice. The "vegetables" include sweet potato and carrot (and tomato) concentrate, but not much, since a cup of Pomegranate Blueberry V8 V-fusion has just 15% of a day's Vitamin A.
Bottom line: Once you strip away the advertising, V8 isn't much better than watered- down tomato sauce.

Overrated: Energy Bars
"More energy to Muscles with C2 MAX", boasts the Performance Energy PowerBar label. C2 MAX was found to "improve athlete's cycling time by 8%".
In fact, C2 MAx (A "dual source energy blend") is just a mixture of fructose and glucose (like ordinary sugar and high-fructose corn syrup but in different proportions).
Apparently, trained cyclists did slightly better (in their 3rd hr of cycling) after drinking 860 calories of the two sugars than after drinking 860 calories of glucose alone (Med Sci. Sports Exer. 40:275, 2008). You'd have to eat 8 1/2 PowerBars - at $2 a pop-to get that much sugar.
Clif Bars also claim to be "energy bars". The have more nuts and oats than Performance Energy Power Bars but they're still glued together with 4-6 tsp sugar. And don't think that Clif Luna Bars ("The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women") are any better. Since when is "whole nutrition" a mix of soy protein isolate, rice flour and sugar?
Energy means calories, according to the FDA. If you need some, eat some real food, not a vitamin-fortified, soy-spiked cookie or candy bar.
Bottom line: All bars (cereal, fiber, whatever) are overrated foods.