Category Archives: Nutrition


Blue Bell Coming Back

Blue Bell is going through the necessary steps to get back in stores and in our fridge.

Blue Bell Creameries has just signed agreements with health bluebell6officials in Texas and Oklahoma concerning listeria testing for their products.

The agreements, signed May 14th, require Blue Bell to hold every shipment until they can be tested for Listeria. What is called a “test and hold” procedure.

The new procedures are intended to prevent the very serious Listeria outbreak that led to 3 deaths and a total recall of Blue Bell Ice Cream.


Extended breastfeeding linked to higher IQ and income in study

(CNN)”Breast is best” — you could call it a mantra of sorts that sums up much of today’s research on breastfeeding.

Not only does breastfeeding have clear short-term benefits, such as protection from infectious diseases and a reduction in mortality, it’s also been shown to be associated with an increase in intelligence.

Prior studies have shown an increase of up to 7.5 IQ points in elementary age children who were breastfed, as well as an increase in verbal, performance and comprehensive IQ in adults.

the study interviewed 5,914 new mothers and then followed up 30 years later

The latest addition to this perspective is a long-term study of infants born in Pelotas, Brazil, in 1982. Published in Lancet, the study interviewed 5,914 new mothers about their plans for breastfeeding and then followed up to see how they did.

“Information on breastfeeding duration was collected very close to the time when weaning happened, so we had a very precise information on the duration of breastfeeding,” said study author, Dr. Bernardo Lessa Horta, in a podcast on Lancet.


What makes this study unique is that it followed the subjects all the way to age 30.

“We were able to follow about 68% of the participants, which is a very good follow-up rate,” said Lessa Horta. “We observed that breastfeeding was positively associated with performance and intelligence at 30 years old, as well as with education, school achievement and higher monthly incomes.”

subjects who had been breastfed for 12 months or longer had a higher IQ (about 3.7 points)

In fact, Lessa Horta said the subjects who had been breastfed for 12 months or longer had a higher IQ (about 3.7 points), more years of education and earned roughly 20% more than the average income level.

“It’s suggesting that the positive effect of breastfeeding on IQ leads to a higher income,” he said. “This is our main finding at this moment.”

One possible reason for the advantage of breast milk, Lessa Horta added, is that it is “rich in long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids which are important to brain growth and development.” Called LCPUFA for short, these essential fatty acids are found in salmon and shellfish and have been added to infant formulas since the 1990s. However, the benefit to mental or psychomotor development from adding LCPUFA to infant formula is unclear.

For Lessa Horta, the implications of his study are clear: “The finding supports the promotion of breastfeeding.

Because the study did not measure home life, intellectual stimulation or bonding between mother and child, it was not able to tease out whether these factors may have also contributed to the increase in IQ. That leaves it open to critics, such as Texas A&M Professor Joan Wolf, author of “Is Breast Best?

“This study does not address the very real possibility that mothers who choose to breastfeed, regardless of income or education, distinguish themselves from those who bottle-feed in all kinds of ways that are likely to promote intelligence,” Wolf wrote CNN.

For Lessa Horta, the implications of his study are clear: “The finding supports the promotion of breastfeeding. It’s more evidence that besides the clear short term benefits, breastfeeding also has long term consequences in terms of human potential.”

By: Sandee LaMotte, Source


Coffee May Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

coffeeType 2 diabetes risk decreased in patients who drank caffeinated coffee and those who drank decaf

Coffee drinkers may have one more reason to brew another pot. Coffee might prevent type 2 diabetes, according to a research roundup published for World Diabetes Day.


The report found that patients who drank coffee had a decreased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee appeared to have similar effects, the researchers found.

The new report from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) included data from several past studies. According to the report, people who drank 3 to 4 cups of coffee a day were 25 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people who drank 2 cups or fewer.

Past research found that people who drank coffee were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Those who drank up to 7 cups of coffee a day were 50 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who drank 2 cups or fewer, the new study found.

For each additional cup of coffee patients drank, they saw a 7 to 8 percent decrease in their risk of type 2 diabetes. Whether the coffee that patients drank had caffeine didn’t appear to affect the results.

The ISIC report also noted that diabetes risk increased by 17 percent in people who decreased their coffee intake by 1 cup per day. People who increased their coffee intake by 1 cup per day, however, had an 11 percent lower risk of diabetes within the next four years.

Even the time of day patients drank coffee may have an effect on diabetes risk. In one study included in the report, French women who drank coffee at lunch were less likely to develop diabetes than those who drank coffee at other times.

Past research on whether caffeine played a part in coffee’s potential effect on diabetes risk has produced conflicting results, however. The report authors called for further study on this topic.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body cannot properly process the hormone insulin. Insulin regulates blood sugar. Diabetes can cause heart disease, blindness and kidney failure. Coffee may reduce blood sugar levels, according to the ISIC report, but more research is needed to confirm this effect. Coffee may also affect hormones that regulate insulin, the report authors noted.

Coffee may also improve liver function, which is necessary to keep blood sugar stable. The researchers were not sure exactly what components of coffee might decrease the risk of diabetes.

Too much caffeine can cause patients to have trouble sleeping or make them feel anxious or nervous. Patients should talk to their doctors before making large changes in their caffeine intake.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 29.1 million people in the US have been diagnosed with diabetes. An additional 8.1 million have diabetes but have not been formally diagnosed, the CDC estimates. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US.

In time to mark World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14, ISIC released this annual report on research related to coffee and type 2 diabetes Nov. 13.

ISIC is a nonprofit group. Members include seven of the major European coffee companies: illycaff, Mondelz International, Lavazza, Nestl, Paulig, DE Master Blenders 1753 and Tchibo. ISIC supports independent research on coffee and shares research results.




Are we trading Gluten for something more dangerous?

LUPIN-jpgWe all know about gluten allergies, but did you know manufacturers of gluten free products could be substituting one allergen for another? There’s something in your food that could be even more dangerous, even deadly for certain people. The U.S. government is so concerned about lupin, they are putting out a warning.

15-year-old Orion has had a peanut and tree nut allergy nearly all his life. His mom, Kelley Lindberg said, “When he was about 18 months old I gave him his first peanut butter and jelly sandwich and he immediately began to break out in kind of a hive around his face.” But just as they were about to head to Europe, his mother was alerted to another potentially serious allergen called lupin. Orion was allergic to that, too. “I was not expecting to be going to Italy where he would be allergic to an ingredient in pasta and pizza,” Lindberg said.

While lupin has been used in european products for years, now it’s making its way to the United States as a flour alternative in gluten free foods. The problem is, many people don’t know it is a legume from the same plant family as the peanut. Dr. David Stukus is with the Allergist, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and told us, “I’m a board certified allergist and immunologist and I wasn’t aware of the allergenicity of lupin until recently. So, I think that most Americans and most people with other type of food allergy may not be aware of this.” Stukus says the risk is very serious for some people. “There are case reports of people having severe life-threatening anaphylactic reactions to lupin. Both people who have a history of pre-existing peanut allergy and others who are eating peanut just fine.”

Other symptoms of a lupin allergy include hives, swelling of the lips or face, GI distress, respiratory issues, even cardiovascular collapse. The food and drug administration recently put out a statement on its website and is currently monitoring complaints. “With the growth of the gluten free market , we’re going to see more products with lupin in them coming into this country,” according to Stefano Luccioli, Senior Medical Advisor with the FDA.

While in Europe, lupin is required to be listed on food products as a potential allergen, right now the us only requires that it be listed as an ingredient. Many are asking is it time for a change here? “It’s a little early to think that lupin is a significant cause of allergen in the United States to actually put an allergy warning on there,” according to Stukus. “However, people who have pre-existing food allergy, especially peanut allergy, should be aware to read labels.” Orion’s mom reads labels, but she is still concerned. “What worries me is that we will do it like Europe does and start blending it into regular flours, not just keeping it for a gluten free market but blending it into regular flours,” Lindberg said.

We contacted the Grocery Manufacturers Association to get its take on whether brands should voluntarily call out lupin as a potential allergen on products. The association declined to comment, saying its views are in line with those of the FDA. The FDA wants to stress that for the majority of people, lupin is considered a safe and nutritious food. It’s only a problem for those who are allergic. To read the full statement from the FDA regarding lupin, click here. 



brown fat

Health experts say ‘brown fat’ can help people manage their weight

brown-fat-is-a-beneficial-type-of-fat-that-burns-glucose-to-make-heatWe all have it and we all want less of it: body fat. But health experts say there is one type of body fat that is good for your health.

“When you think of obesity or excess body weight or body fatness, that’s the additional storage of white fat,” said Dr. Daniel Smith, assistant professor in UAB’s department of nutrition sciences.

But brown fat is an entirely different animal.

“Instead of a storage capacity it has a capacity to burn lipid,” said Smith.

However, whether it’s enough to actually burn white fat and reduce your waist line is still up for debate.

“I think that’s the million dollar question people need to answer,” said Smith.

Smith believes part of the problem is that the people that need to burn the most calories are also typically the ones with the least amount of brown fat.

Thinner people typically have more of the tissue around their shoulders and neck. However in heavier set people, brown fat is not as prevalent.

“So trying to target a tissue that maybe doesn’t exist as much, is a little bit of a hard thing to do,” he said.

So how do you make more brown fat? It might be as simple as standing out in the cold.

Since the tissue helps to generate the body’s heat, a person can produce more of it by exposing themselves to colder temperatures for an extended period of time.

“Its kind of like if you have a house and it’s getting cold. Well you’re going to turn on the thermostat to keep things warm,” said Smith.

As for whether the activation of brown fat will lead to serious weight loss or simple weight control, Smith says that’s something scientists continue to look at it.

“Question is can you turn it back on in those people and actually get a metabolic benefit,” he said. “Twenty years from now will we actually have a package way to use brown adipose tissue to help control our body weight and our metabolism.”




Experts say risk of over-hydration is rare but deadly

BubblerFootball coaches always stress the importance of staying hydrated to players during those hot summer practices.

But can you become over-hydrated?

The death of a high school football player in metro Atlanta has attracted attention to athletes’ efforts to stay hydrated high temperatures.

According to his doctor, Zyrees Oliver died after drinking too much fluid during football practice.

“We get out in full pads. It gets scorching hot,” said David Mitchell, a Minor High School Football player.

Mitchell knows the importance of staying hydrated during practice. “Right after we exercise, we drink water. After we run, we drink water,” said Mitchell. “Constantly drinking water.”

What players might not pay attention is how much fluid they’re drinking.

Too much water, doctors say, can lead to swelling around the brain from over-hydration.

That’s what the doctor for Zyrees Oliver says happened after he drank two gallons of water and two gallons of sports drink during football practice.

“You’re basically flooding out,” said Dr. Cherie Miner.

Dr. Miner is with Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center. She says a large amount of water during a short period of time depletes sodium levels in your body, which causes all the water to shift throughout the body.

“You can’t pee it out fast enough,” said Dr. Miner. “It goes into your cells in your body. When it goes into the cells of your brain, the brain expands causing your brain to herniated. Therefore cause brain death. It’s acute onset. All of a sudden they’ll start to feel nauseas , get confused, may show swelling of hand, feet and arms.”

Dr. Miner says over-hydration is very rare. She says college players use salt replacement products to regulate their bodies during practice. Dr. Miner advises high school football players to drink frequent, small amounts of water to prevent over-hydration.

And she says what’s unknown is whether or not the player in Georgia had some other medical condition, which could have also had something to do with his death.



Parents of obese kids often view them as healthy

ObeseParents of obese children often don’t view their kids as unhealthy or recognize the health consequences of excess weight or inactivity, according to a new study.

The children of the families surveyed for the new research were attending an obesity clinic at the Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, R.I.

“A third categorized their child’s health as excellent or very good,” said study researcher Dr. Kyung Rhee, now an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego.

Rhee surveyed slightly more than 200 families in 2008 and 2009 to evaluate their readiness to help their children lose weight. She found that 28 percent of the parents did not perceive their child’s weight as a health concern. But experts know that childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term ill effects on health, including risks for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Thirty-one percent of the parents thought their child’s health was excellent or very good.

Parents were more likely to try to improve their children’s eating habits than to increase exercise, Rhee found. While 61 percent said they were trying to improve eating habits, just 41 percent said they were increasing their child’s activity level.

If parents were obese, they were less likely to be helping their children change. Most of the children, 94 percent, were obese, and their pediatrician referred them to the clinic for help in slimming down. The other 6 percent were overweight.

The study was published online recently in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Rhee said the findings are similar to a study she did in 2005, asking about parents’ readiness to change their child’s behavior if the child needed to lose weight.

The parents’ own weight status affected how willing they were to make changes in their children’s eating habits. “The parents who thought their own weight was a health problem were less likely to make changes in a child’s diet,” Rhee said.

She can’t say why this is, because the survey did not ask. But Rhee suspects that the parents may have been discouraged by their own failed attempts at dieting.

In the study, the average age of the children and teens was about 14, but ranged from 5 to 20.

While income, race or ethnicity didn’t have a bearing on whether parents were trying to improve their child’s diet, income did play a role in whether parents encouraged exercise. Those who made less than $40,000 a year were less likely to encourage exercise. The survey didn’t ask the reasons why.

Dr. William Muinos, director of the weight management program at Miami Children’s Hospital, reviewed the findings of the study. “There is a lot of fact to this study that I experience every day [with parents],” he said.

Parents often tell Muinos their children will ”grow out” of their weight problem, and he tells them that is hazardous thinking. Research has found that children who are obese are likely to be obese as adults, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Muinos tells parents of overweight children that starting early with a good diet and a regular physical activity is crucial. “Early intervention is key both in establishing good eating habits and exercise,” he said.



Organic foods may be healthier

foodOrganic produce and grains contain more protective antioxidants, less pesticide residue and lower levels of the toxic metal cadmium than food raised in traditional ways, a new review finds.

It’s not clear what this means for your health. And several agriculture experts claim the analysis missed some important points.

But a study co-author said the research offers a clear message.

“Organic plant-based foods offer some significant nutritional advantages, and also reduced risks associated with exposures to cadmium and pesticides in food,” said study co-author Charles Benbrook, a research professor with the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University.

Benbrook said the new research provides more accurate numbers about specific nutrients and offers more reliable evidence about cadmium levels in non-organic food than past reports.

The study is unlikely to resolve the longstanding debate about whether organic food is worth the extra cost — in some cases twice the cost of conventionally grown food.

In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared there’s little evidence to support the idea that organic food is healthier over time. Stanford University also released a study that year that came to similar conclusions.

For the new study, published July 14 in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers examined 343 peer-reviewed studies. On average, antioxidant levels were 17 percent higher in organic crops than in crops grown in traditional ways, the researchers found. And some levels of antioxidants, such as flavanones, flavonols and anthocyanins, were significantly higher.

Scientists believe antioxidants protect the body’s cells from damage due to smoking, stress, processed foods and many other harmful elements, but there’s debate over whether they’re beneficial when they come from food.

Why would organic foods have more antioxidants than non-organic foods?

“They are fertilized differently, and in ways that support higher levels of certain nutrients,” Benbrook said. Also, organically grown foods produce antioxidants in response to stress like pests, he said.

Levels of pesticide residue, meanwhile, were four times higher in non-organic crops, and levels of cadmium were twice as high, the studies found.

“No other review has had enough comparison studies analyzing cadmium to reach that conclusion,” said Benbrook. However, he acknowledged he doesn’t know how many Americans are thought to consume too much cadmium, a toxic metal often found in industrial workplaces.

Samir Samman, head of the department of human nutrition at the University of Otago in New Zealand, praised the research as “an important addition to our knowledge in this field.” Samman said the study especially adds to details about antioxidants in organic foods.

But some food researchers faulted the research and its conclusions.

“The important toxicological question is how much cadmium are we exposed to, not whether there are any differences between organic and conventional forms,” said Carl Winter, vice chair of the department of food science and technology at the University of California, Davis.

That organic foods contain lower levels of pesticide residue isn’t surprising since it’s produced without the use of most conventional pesticides, experts said.

However, Winter said pesticides in non-organic foods tend to be at much lower doses than those that cause problems in laboratory animals.

“There is still an enormous health cushion even if one ate just conventional foods,” he said.

Richard Mithen, leader of the food and health program at the Institute of Food Research in England, noted that the analysis doesn’t show that the observed differences between organic and non-organic foods have any effects on health.

“The additional cost of organic vegetables to the consumer, and the likely reduced consumption, would easily offset any marginal increase in nutritional properties, even if they did occur, which I doubt,” he said in a statement.

“To improve public health we need to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables, regardless of how they are produced,” he said in his statement.

Sheepdrove Trust, a charity that supports organic farming, provided partial funding for the study.

More information

For more about organic foods, visit the Nemours Foundation.