Fat has been demonized — by nutritionists, doctors and the Dietary Guidelines — for so long now that it’s hard to even remember a time when low- and no-fat foods weren’t all the rage. But one man is on a mission to change that attitude. Mark Hyman, M.D., director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, is the author of Eat Fat, Get Thin (Little, Brown and Company, 2016). “For 35 years we’ve been told to eat low fat, but the result is that we’ve cut fat and eaten a ton of carbs and sugar,” he says, which accounts for the corresponding surge in obesity, diabetes and other related ills over the same time period.
Many folks are trying to get ready for the warm weather, outdoor activities and, of course, wearing fewer clothes. Instead of worrying about how you’ll look in a bathing suit, use these five simple tips to clean your diet and hopefully shed a few pounds. Read more
If you’re trying to cut out added sugar from your diet, you aren’t alone. Make sure you’re doing it right; get the inside scoop on the sweet stuff.
Fish for brain health
You’ve heard fish is good brain food, but also worry about the effects of mercury in fish on your brain. What to do? New research tips the scales in fish’s favor. A recent study by Rush University Medical Center, in Chicago, indicates that eating a serving of seafood per week may protect the brains of older adults from the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease — especially among those at a higher genetic risk for developing Alzheimer’s. The study also concluded that, although those who ate seafood had higher levels of mercury in their brains, that mercury did not correlate to brain damage. “The evidence is quite clear that people who consume healthier forms of fish … are going to end up with healthier brains,” James T. Becker, an Alzheimer’s expert who was not involved in the study, told CNN.
Junk Food Is Not the Sole Culprit
While no one’s saying soda, candy and fast food are healthy, a new study suggests they alone cannot be blamed for the obesity epidemic. Cornell University Food and Brand Lab co-directors David Just, Ph.D., and Brian Wansink, Ph.D., analyzed the dietary habits of about 5,000 U.S. adults and found that, for 95 percent of the population, there was no link between the consumption of soda, candy and fast food and weight gain. “These are foods that are clearly bad for you and if you eat too much of them they will make you fat, but it doesn’t appear to be the main driver that is making people overweight and obese,” Just told HealthDay. The researchers said eating less and exercising more overall is the key to controlling weight, and they clarified that they are not endorsing a junk food diet, even in moderation. “These foods aren’t good for you,” Just said. “There is no good argument for soda in your diet.” Read more
Hide the Leftover Halloween Candy
Cutting back on sugar consumption can dramatically improve the health of obese children in only 10 days, even when they remain at the same weight, a new study has found. Foods with added sugar were eliminated from the diets of the children who participated in the National Institutes of Health-backed study and replaced with other carbs to maintain calorie intake. The children’s weight was deliberately kept stable; nevertheless, all 43 children in the study showed improvements in blood pressure as well as cholesterol and blood sugar levels. “We can turn a child’s metabolic health around in 10 days without changing calories and without changing weight — just by taking the added sugars out of their diet,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Benioff Children’s Hospital of the University of California, San Francisco, told The New York Times. “From a clinical standpoint, from a health care standpoint, that’s very important.” Read more
So Long, Subway. Hola, Chipotle!
Subway’s stint as America’s favorite “healthy” fast-food spot has reached its end. The sandwich chain has been bested by Chipotle, where sales have grown more than 20 percent this year. Meanwhile, sales at Subway — whose (now former) spokesman Jared Fogle has recently been embroiled in a scandal that is beyond distasteful — have sunk by 3 percent. While some experts have scoffed at Chipotle, whose tasty offerings are hardly low-cal, being labeled a “healthy” choice, the burrito chain has staked its claim to the title by using fresh, high-quality ingredients, maintaining high standards in its supply chain, preparing its food on the spot and in view of customers, and consistently publicizing its efforts to improve its product. Recently Chipotle announced it would no longer use GMO ingredients. Subway, on the other hand, struggled to overcome criticism that it used a chemical used in yoga mats and shoe rubber in its bread, though it subsequently discontinued the chemical’s use. Chipotle’s rise and Subway’s decline may also indicate changing attitudes about what constitutes “healthy”: “Millennials care less about calories and more about where their food comes from,” Darren Tristano, of the food industry research firm Technomic, told Business Insider. Read more
Now in Season
This month brings us not only the official beginning of summer (on June 21), but also all of those wonderful summer fruits and vegetables to add to our healthy diets. Look for sweet strawberries, thick asparagus spears, fresh peas, juicy peaches, earthy summer beats, and green garlic and spring garlic to appear at your local farmers market or CSA. “It is brilliant whole grilled and on pizza, or mince it and use it as you would garlic cloves or leeks, where it will impart a slightly milder, rounder flavor,” cookbook author and food blogger Tara O’Brady told Time. Read more
White sugar is a standby in the kitchen, but there are plenty of reasons to seek out alternatives. Alternative sweeteners lend a different flavor to foods — be they baked goods, salad dressings or cocktails — and some of them even have health benefits. (Keep in mind, though, that added sugar is added sugar, no matter the source. For your health, that should be limited to 6 teaspoons a day for women and 9 teaspoons for men.) Read more
In this week’s news: New findings about sugar and diabetes are not so sweet; vitamin drinks may do more harm than good; weight training could prevent your weight from yo-yoing.