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Sun, 18 May 2008 23:59:19 GMT

Sonoma Valley's Chocolate and Wine Bar

Sonoma Valley's Chocolate and Wine Bar
What a great idea! Although it's been open for more than a year, I just learned of California's first chocolate tasting bar, Wine Country Chocolates. As befits a chocolatier in wine country, Wine Country Chocolates makes their own chocolates, many with wine as an ingredient. Offerings include such items as Cab-infused ganache truffles and wine bottle-shaped molded treats, all made without preservatives or additives. Patrons can also dip fresh fruit into a chocolate fountain. It just might be a reason to make a trip to California wine country (like I need a reason).

Wine Country Chocolates is located in Jack London Village shopping center, 14301 Arnold Dr., Glen Ellen, CA.

(photo © istockphoto)

Posted by: Sandy Mitchell      Read more     Source


May 7, 2008, 6:46 PM CT

Too much or too little weight gain poses risks

Too much or too little weight gain poses risks
Women who gain more or less than recommended amounts of weight during pregnancy are likely to increase the risk of problems for both themselves and their child, as per a new report by the RTI International-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Evidence-based Practice Center.

The report, which was supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in partnership with the American Dietetic Association, is based on a systematic review of 150 studies that assessed the short- and long-term effects of maternal weight gain on pregnancy, mothers, fetuses, and children. The studies were published in English between January 1990 and October 2007.

Among the reports key findings is a strong association between high maternal weight gain and increased fetal growth and infant birth weight, which can contribute to complications during labor if a baby is too big, and can lead to long term health effects for the child. High maternal weight gain also is linked to cesarean delivery and weight retention by mothers after childbirth.

The review also confirmed that gaining too little weight during pregnancy can be a problem. Low maternal weight gain is linked to poor fetal growth, lower birth weight, and the chance of a baby being born prematurely.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


April 13, 2008, 9:35 PM CT

Macadamia nuts for healthy heart

Macadamia nuts for healthy heart
Image courtesy of bfeedme.com
Macadamia nuts included in a heart healthy diet reduced low-density cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and should be included among nuts with qualified health claims, according to researchers.

"We looked at macadamia nuts because they are not currently included in the health claim for tree nuts, while other tree nuts are currently recommended as part of a heart healthy diet," says Dr. Amy E. Griel, a recent Penn State Ph.D. recipient in nutrition and now senior nutrition scientist at The Hershey Company. "Macadamia nuts have higher levels of monosaturated fats, like those found in olive oil compared with other tree nuts".

Along with Brazil nuts and cashews, macadamia nuts are not included in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's list of nuts with qualified health claims because the cut-off point is 4 grams of saturated fat per 50 grams of nuts. Macadamia nuts have 6 grams of saturated fat per 50 grams, cashew nuts have 4.6 grams and Brazil nuts have 7.6 grams of saturated fat per 50 grams of nuts.

"Epidemiological studies showed that people who are frequent nut consumers have decreased risk of heart disease," says Penny Kris-Etherton, co-author and distinguished professor of nutritional sciences.

The researchers used a controlled feeding study to compare a heart-healthy diet with 1.5 ounces a small handful of macadamia nuts to a standard American diet. The participants had slightly elevated cholesterol levels, normal blood pressure and were not taking lipid-lowering drugs. Researchers randomly assigned participants to either the macadamia nut diet or the standard American diet and provided all meals for the participants for five weeks. The participants then switched diets and continued eating only food provided by the researchers for another five weeks.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


April 10, 2008, 9:22 PM CT

Silver Nanoparticles' Potential For Improving Food Safety

Silver Nanoparticles' Potential For Improving Food Safety
Byron Brehm-Stecher and Heidi Weinkauf are studying silver nanoparticles that have the potential to improve the safety of the world's food supply.
Byron Brehm-Stecher, assistant professor in food science and human nutrition, has some big ideas for his work with tiny particles. His latest research project will allow him to study the potential of using silver nanoparticles to improve the safety of the world's food supply.

Eventhough the particles can't be added directly to foods, the ultimate goal of this project is to develop food-related applications such as microbe-resistant fabrics or non-biofouling surfaces. The research, he said, could have a large impact on the safety of foods.

"Through our work, we hope to gain a greater understanding of how these materials affect microbial structure or function," Brehm-Stecher said. "This may lead to new approaches for killing foodborne pathogens and enhancing food safety. For example, silver nanoparticles are already being used in food packaging to soak up the plant-ripening hormone ethylene, extending the shelf life of fruits. The science is at a basic point right now, but we expect that it will translate into something more applied in the future. I'm looking forward to extending this as far as the questions we have will take us."

Brehm-Stecher said they hope to learn more about how silver nanoparticles exert their antimicrobial activities by testing QSI-Nano® Silver for its ability to interact with microbial cells.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


April 1, 2008, 9:51 PM CT

The lean gene

The lean gene
Your friend can eat whatever she wants and still fit into her prom dress, but you gain five pounds if you just look at that chocolate cake. Before you sign up for Weight Watchers and that gym membership, though, you may want to look at some recent research from Tel Aviv University and save yourself a few hundred dollars.

A womans waistline may have less to do with rigorous exercise and abstaining from sweets than it does with the genes of her parents, as per a new study by Prof. Gregory Livshits from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and his colleagues from Kings College in London. Dr. Livshits and colleagues have found a scientific link between the lean body mass of a woman and her genes. Theyve determined that thinness like your smile or the color of your eyes is an inheritable trait.



Bad News First, Then the Good


Prof. Livshits, whose findings were reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (2007), says, The bad news is that a number of of our physical features, including our weight, are dependent on our genes. The good news is that women still have an opportunity to go against their genetic constitution and do something about it.

Until now, researchers were not sure to what extent environmental influences and genetics played a role in a womans body size. When controlling for the variance of age, the differences in womens body sizes can be predicted in the genes more than 50 percent of the time, the scientists found.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


March 27, 2008, 9:58 PM CT

Are you what you eat? Maybe not

Are you what you eat? Maybe not
If identical twins eat and exercise equally, must they have the same body weight" By analyzing the fundamental equations of body weight change, NIH researchers Carson Chow and Kevin Hall find that identical twins with identical lifestyles can have different body weights and different amounts of body fat.

The study, published March 28th in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology, uses a branch of mathematics called dynamical systems theory to demonstrate that a class of model equations has an infinite number of body weight solutions, even if the food intake and energy expenditure rates are identical. However, the work also shows that another class of models directly refutes this, predicting that food intake and energy expenditure rates uniquely determine body weight. Existing data are insufficient to tell which is closer to reality, since both models can make the same predictions for a given alteration of food intake or energy expenditure.

Given the ongoing obesity epidemic, Drs. Chow and Hall are interested in what factors determine human body weight and its stability. Of particular importance is whether a therapy for obesity would have to be administered repeatedly over a lifetime or could be given only until a target body weight is reached. As a particular example, the study considers whether weight lost from a liposuction procedure is permanent. For the class of equations with an infinite number of body weight solutions, fat removal through liposuction could lead to permanent results. However, the opposing models predict that the body would eventually return to its original weight.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


March 27, 2008, 9:32 PM CT

Weight bias is as prevalent as racial discrimination

Weight bias is as prevalent as racial discrimination
New Haven, Conn.Discrimination against overweight peopleespecially womenis as common as racial discrimination, as per a research studyby the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University.

These results show the need to treat weight discrimination as a legitimate form of prejudice, comparable to other characteristics like race or gender that already receive legal protection, said Rebecca Puhl, research scientist and lead author.

The study documented the prevalence of self-reported weight discrimination and compared it to experiences of discrimination based on race and gender among a nationally representative sample of adults aged 25- to 74-years-old. The data was obtained from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States.

The study also revealed that women are twice as likely as men to report weight discrimination and that weight discrimination in the workplace and interpersonal mistreatment due to obesity is common.

The scientists observed that men are not at serious risk for weight bias until their body mass index (BMI) reaches 35 or higher, while women begin experiencing a notable increase in weight discrimination risk at a BMI level of 27. BMI is the measure of body fat based on height and weight.

Co-author Tatiana Andreyava of Yale said weight discrimination is more prevalent than discrimination based on sexual orientation, nationality/ethnicity, physical disability, and religious beliefs. However, despite its high prevalence, it continues to remain socially acceptable, she said.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


March 27, 2008, 9:17 PM CT

Normal weight obesity: An emerging risk factor

Normal weight obesity: An emerging risk factor
More than half of American adults considered to have normal body weight in America have high body fat percentages -- greater than 20 percent for men and 30 percent for women -- as well as heart and metabolic disturbances, new Mayo Clinic research shows. The finding conflicts with the widely held belief that maintaining a normal weight automatically guards against disorders such as high levels of circulating blood fats and a tendency to develop metabolic syndrome, which often leads to type 2 diabetes.

The scientists defined normal weight by body mass index (BMI). They observed that people with normal BMI who had the highest percentage of body fat were also those who had metabolic disturbances associated with heart disease. The scientists use the phrase normal weight obesity to describe this new type of patient at risk for metabolism problems and risk factors for heart disease, but who rates as normal on standard weight charts. They defined normal weight obesity as a condition of having a normal BMI with high body fat percentage. The Mayo team will present its study results at the American College of Cardiologys Annual Scientific Session next week in Chicago.

Using the term normal weight obesity is really a way of being more precise about the changing conceptualization of obesity, because the real definition of obesity is excess body fat, says Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D., a heart specialist on the Mayo research team. Our study demonstrates that even people with normal weight may have excessive body fat, and that these people are at risk for metabolic abnormalities that lead to diabetes and, eventually, to heart disease.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


March 18, 2008, 8:32 PM CT

Overweight But Active

Overweight But Active
Overweight but active men responded dramatically better in comparison to their inactive counterparts in a first-of-its kind study from Indiana University that examined the vascular response to exercise in overweight men.

Vascular function is important because of its relationship to cardiovascular disease.

The active cohort saw an average 24 percent improvement in their vascular function, in comparison to the 32 percent decrease observed in the inactive group. The results were reported in the journal "Obesity."

"This overweight-obesity phenomenon is an epidemic in today's society," said Ryan A. Harris, who led the study while a doctoral student in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation's Department of Kinesiology. "This study supports that being consistent with daily physical activity is beneficial to cardiovascular health. Being active may not drop the pounds as quickly as you'd like, but it still is beneficial".

Obesity contributes to a variety of diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.

"But being overweight isn't hopeless," said Janet P. Wallace, professor of exercise physiology in the Department of Kinesiology. "This study shows you can still do some measures to help yourself while you work to lose weight."........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


March 2, 2008, 8:50 PM CT

High prevalence of eating disorders in narcoleptics

High prevalence of eating disorders in narcoleptics
The majority of patients with narcolepsy/cataplexy experience a number of symptoms of eating disorders, with an irresistible craving for food and binge eating as the most prominent features, according to a study published in the March 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, authored by Hal Droogleever Fortuyn, MD, and Sebastiaan Overeem, MD, of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in The Netherlands, focused on 60 patients with narcolepsy/cataplexy who were recruited from specialized sleep centers and 120 healthy controls.

According to the results, 23.3 percent of the narcolepsy/cataplexy patients fulfilled the criteria for a clinical eating disorder, as opposed to none of the control subjects. Half of the patients reported a persistent craving for food, as well as binge eating. Twenty-five percent of patients even reported binging at least twice a week.

These data make it clear that narcolepsy is not just a sleeping disorder, but a hypothalamic disease with a much broader symptom profile, said Dr. Fortuyn. Hypocretin, the neurotransmitter that is lost in narcolepsy, has been implicated in the regulation of feeding through animal studies. Earlier studies in narcolepsy found a clear increase in body weight. However, we did not find a correlation between binge eating and increased weight. Binge eating is apparently not the direct cause of the obesity in narcolepsy, and this suggests that metabolic alterations may be involved. Nevertheless, our study shows that the loss of hypocretin function makes narcolepsy patients not only struggle with staying awake, but also destabilizes their eating pattern, which makes it harder to stay away from the candy jar.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


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