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November 18, 2007, 9:16 PM CT

Watching what we eat

Watching what we eat
Food has never been more of a global commodity than it is today. But there is an urgent need to understand the problems that face future European food supplies within this global market. And so researchers and policy makers gathered in Budapest last week to push for a more holistic approach to the study of what Europeans eat.

The conference, supported by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research (COST), looked at where food comes from, the ways in which it is processed, packaged and distributed, and how it is sold and eventually eaten.

Researchers at the conference showed that Europeans sitting down at their dinner tables are eating a broader range of meats and vegetables than ten years ago. Europeans demand that their food tastes better, makes them healthier and can be prepared in less time, and yet they want this food available year round at a low price. To meet these needs, food travels a number of more miles; along much more complicated distribution routes than ever before on its journey from the farm to our forks.

This requires a new approach to describing food supply. We're advocating a food systems approach, says Thomas Henrichs, a senior advisor for the National Environment Research Institute in Denmark. The food systems approach includes not only the activities involved in food supply, such as growing and processing a green bean and packing it for distribution, and shipping it, but also the outcomes of eating the green bean on the environment, on the economy and on the health and welfare of the person eating it, explains Henrichs.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


November 7, 2007, 9:18 PM CT

Freshwater fish contains mercury, arsenic and selenium

Freshwater fish contains  mercury, arsenic and selenium
White bass wild-caught and sold commercially contained significantly higher levels of mercury, arsenic and selenium than fish caught near former industrial areas. The University of Pittsburgh study, abstract number 161184, is being presented at a special session on Contaminants in Freshwater Fish: Toxicity, Sources and Risk Communication, at 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 7, at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Washington, D.C.

As per study results, mercury levels were 2.2 to 4.8 times higher in fish caught in the Canadian Lake Erie and available commercially than in fish caught near former iron and steel mills on the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers in Pittsburgh. While several of these mills have been closed for a number of years, the nearby rivers continue to contain high levels of pollution from sewer overflows and active industrial operations.

For the study, scientists used local anglers to catch 45 white bass at two locations in Pittsburgh and bought 10 white bass locally that were caught in the Canadian Lake Erie. They analyzed the fish for levels of mercury, arsenic and selenium. In addition to higher levels of mercury, the store-bought fish had levels that were 1.7 times higher for arsenic and 1.9 times higher for selenium.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


November 7, 2007, 7:46 PM CT

Obesity research boosted by watching hunger in the brain

Obesity research boosted by watching hunger in the brain
Researchers can now measure how full or hungry a mouse feels, thanks to a new technique which uses imaging to reveal how neurons behave in the part of the brain which regulates appetite.

Scientists hope the technique, which uses magnetic resonance imaging, will enable a far greater understanding of why certain people become obese when others do not, and why different people have different appetites. The new study, led by scientists from Imperial College London, is described in a paper published recently in the Journal of Neuroscience.

It had previously been very difficult to measure satiety, which is the psychological feeling of being full and satisfied rather than physical fullness. To judge satiety researchers have relied on asking volunteers in trials how full they feel, or watching how much food is eaten, rather than using more objective measures.

Researchers had already identified the part of the hypothalamus area of the brain which regulates appetite. In the new study, the scientists discovered that they could see the neurons there firing if they used a contrast agent of manganese ion to make the neurons visible on a magnetic resonance imaging scan.

When the mouse was hungry and hence the neurons showed increased activity, the contrast agent was taken up, making the neurons light up on the scan. The intensity of this signal decreased as the mouse became less hungry and the neurons became less active.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


November 7, 2007, 5:09 AM CT

Foods, not specific nutrients, may be key to good health

Foods, not specific nutrients, may be key to good health
In a recent academic review, a University of Minnesota professor in the School of Public Health has concluded that food, as opposed to specific nutrients, may be key to having a healthy diet.

This notion is contrary to popular practice in food industry and government, where marketers and regulators tend to focus on total fat, carbohydrate and protein and on specific vitamins and added supplements in food products, not the food items as a whole. The research is published in last months Journal of Nutrition Reviews.

We are confusing ourselves and the public by talking so much about nutrients when we should be talking about foods, said David Jacobs, Ph.D., the principal investigator and Mayo Professor of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. Consumers get the idea that diet and health can be understood in terms of isolated nutrients. Its not the best approach, and it might be wrong.

Jacobs, with coauthor Professor Linda Tapsell of the University of Wollongong in Australia, argues that people should shift the focus toward the benefits of entire food products and food patterns in order to better understand nutrition in regard to a healthy human body.

They focus on the concept of food synergy the idea that more information about the impact of human health can be obtained by looking at whole foods than a single food component (such as vitamin C, or calcium added to a container of orange juice).........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


November 5, 2007, 8:57 PM CT

Modest gain in visceral fat causes dysfunction of blood vessel

Modest gain in visceral fat causes dysfunction of blood vessel
When lean healthy young adults gained about 9 pounds, the functioning of their blood vessel lining became impaired -- but shedding the weight restored proper functioning, as per a Mayo Clinic research report. The finding is important because this vessel disorder, known as endothelial dysfunction, is a predictor of heart attacks and stroke, and the effects of modest weight gain on the disorder were not previously known.

The Mayo Clinic team presented the findings today at the American Heart Associations Scientific Sessions 2007.

Significance of the Mayo Clinic Study

The study is the first randomized, blinded, controlled trial to assess the effects of weight gain -- and subsequent weight loss -- on endothelial function. Endothelial cells line the blood vessels. When not functioning correctly, they impede blood flow, which can predispose a person to heart attack or stroke. Determining how modest weight gain affects the condition was important due to the growing number of overweight adults worldwide.

The effects of obesity on heart health receives a lot of attention, but less scrutiny has been given to the impact on the endothelium of modest weight gain in otherwise healthy people, says Virend Somers, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic heart specialist and senior author. In fact, a number of adults accept this kind of weight gain -- 9 or 10 pounds -- as just part of aging. The assumption has generally been that a modest rise in body fat was more an issue of going up a clothing size, not a health issue. This study suggests otherwise, providing evidence that may help change our cultural attitude to the implications of modest weight gain as we age -- and perhaps strengthen the argument for diet and exercise to control weight as a means of protecting against cardiovascular disease.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


October 25, 2007, 10:09 PM CT

Obesity Risks Increase After Menopause

Obesity Risks Increase After Menopause
Postmenopausal women are at an age when the incidence and exacerbation of the chronic health conditions linked to obesity become more prevalent. A new article published in Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing reviews the physiological, psychological and social issues correlation to obesity that are relevant to postmenopausal women. The article underlies the importance of nurses and other healthcare professionals for intervention.

Obesity can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, cancer, osteoarthritis and mental health problems, all of which can be significantly reduced by weight loss. Heart disease in particular, eventhough often considered a "man's disease," is the number one killer of women, taking more than forty times the number of lives than breast cancer every year, despite being preventable.

Nearly two-thirds of American women are either clinically "overweight" or "obese." As women are more at risk for being overweight or obese than men, and women are at risk for gaining weight as they age, postmenopausal women are a especially vulnerable population. It is important for health care providers to understand the health consequences of obesity and incorporate these into health promotion strategies for postmenopausal women.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


October 15, 2007, 6:17 PM CT

Bariatric Surgery Candidates Not Psychologically Cleared For Surgery

Bariatric Surgery Candidates Not Psychologically Cleared For Surgery
Providence, RI A new study by Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University scientists reported that 18 percent of 500 candidates for bariatric surgery did not receive the initial psychiatric clearance for the surgery. The study is the first to examine the reliability of decisions to clear candidates for surgery, and the largest to determine the percentage of candidates who are not cleared and detail the reasons for exclusion. It was reported in the October edition of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Findings indicate the most common reasons for not receiving psychiatric clearance were frequent overeating to cope with stress/emotional distress, a current eating disorder and uncontrolled psychiatric disorders. Scientists also observed that the decision to clear candidates for bariatric surgery is made with high reliability, meaning independent reviews of available information by independent psychiatry experts will result in the same decision.

Most bariatric surgery programs include psychiatric evaluations as part of the pre-operative screening procedure. Some of the psychological factors considered important in determining appropriate surgical candidates include the presence of eating, mood psychotic, personality and substance abuse disorders; eating to regulate negative affect (using food as a method to cope with psychological stress); history of noncompliance with therapy; and inappropriate expectations of life change due to surgery.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


October 15, 2007, 6:14 PM CT

Obesity strongest risk factor for colorectal cancer

Obesity strongest risk factor for colorectal cancer
Research presented at the 72nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology observed that obesity, among other important risk factors, was the strongest risk factor for colorectal cancer in women.

Joseph C. Anderson, MD of Stony Brook University in New York (and the University of Connecticut) and colleagues examined data from 1,252 women who underwent colonoscopy. They classified patients as per their age, smoking history, family history of colorectal cancer, and body mass index (BMI). Obesity was defined as a BMI of 30 or higher. For smoking, patients were divided into three groups: heavy exposure, low exposure, and no exposure. Patients who were in the heavy exposure group included women who had smoked more than 10 pack years and who were currently smoking or had quit in the past 10 years.

Eventhough smoking posed a significant increased risk for colorectal neoplasia, scientists observed that for women, obesity was the highest attributable risk factor for developing the disease. BMI accounted for one-fifth of all significant polyps detected during colonoscopy. Of those patients who had colorectal neoplasia, 20 percent were obese and 14 percent were smokers.

Given the increasing number of obese patients in the U.S., identifying them as high risk may have important screening implications, said Dr. Anderson. While obesity is positively linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer, patients who lower their BMI could potentially reduce their risk of developing the disease in the future.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


Wed, 10 Oct 2007 02:41:16 GMT

Don't Talk About Religion, Politics .... Or Diet?

Don't Talk About Religion, Politics .... Or Diet?
We all know that it's a basic rule of the first date that you don't want to talk about religion or politics. Of course, if you like to get your differences out of the way up front, these are the two areas that are most sensitive and most important for discussion. But there is another topic on the table that people are being warned to avoid (or deal with it quickly if it's a deal breaker) .... and that topic is closer to the table than you might think. Newsweek reports on the fact that many people are as concerned about the dieting and fitness practices of their potential partners as they are with which God they pray to and which presidential hopeful they're voting for. One of the major topics discussed in the article is the difference between being vegan and being vegetarian and how this difference can be the end of an otherwise good partnership. But health in general is an issue of concern, with people wanting to make sure that their partners exercise on a regular basis and eat healthy. How important is your partner's diet to your decision about whether or not they are dating material?

Posted by: Kathryn Vercillo      Read more     Source


Wed, 03 Oct 2007 02:13:32 GMT

Check out the World's Biggest Menu is Now Online!

Check out the World's Biggest Menu is Now Online!
Hungry but don't know what you want to eat? Or maybe you are hunting for something near you and want to try something different? Maybe you are in another city and want to find some nifty local places to test drive the local cuisine. You can do all this and lots more at - an invention from some UC Irvine students that got super-creative in how to create the world's largest menu of places to eat. Think of it as a "Facebook" for food! It's takes YELP a step further and makes it fun.



Snap E 3 Taco Combo Plate

Read more of "Check out the World's Biggest Menu is Now Online! It Makes You HUNGRY!"

Posted by: Stevie Wilson      Read more     Source


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