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Category Archives: Food
Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services collaborate to publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The publication essentially serves as the U.S. government’s official food and beverage recommendations for Americans, based on the most recent health research and evidence. The guidelines aim to help people maintain a healthy weight and prevent chronic disease, while also providing educational institutions and healthcare providers with reliable dietary strategies and recommendations. They also help inform national health promotion programs, school lunches, food labels and various policies in many different industries and organizations. So, these Dietary Guidelines are extremely important for shaping what Americans eat and what they deem is healthy. The latest version, published last week, has some interesting surprises – and many health experts aren’t happy.
There’s no doubt that coffee is one of America’s favorite beverages. According to the National Coffee Association, 59 percent of Americans currently drink a cup of coffee every day. Some sources indicate that American workers who buy coffee regularly throughout the week spend an average of $1,092 on coffee every year. Despite it’s popularity, however, the effects of coffee on health are somewhat nebulous. Many studies have shown that coffee can provide all sorts of health advantages, such as skin cancer prevention and mental benefits. On the other hand, coffee is thought to present problems for those with cholesterol issues or sleep problems – especially if it’s loaded with sugar. The latest study is another win for coffee lovers, but despite the study’s massive coverage in the media, the results actually aren’t universally positive.
The benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids have been widely discussed in the past decade. Consuming foods high in Omega-3, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, walnuts, flaxseed and soybeans, is though to help prevent many different health conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes, eczema, depression, high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Omega-3 has even been shown to reduce breast cancer risk. But perhaps the most common belief about Omega-3 is that it’s good for the brain, helping to prevent Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline in general. This has caused fish oil supplements to become some of the widely used supplements in the country. Unfortunately, most studies have only shown a correlation between taking fish oil supplements and having better health – not a cause and effect. Now, an actual clinical trial throws the benefits of these supplements into question altogether.
Powdered alcohol might initially seem like a ludicrous idea, but it is a genuinely real product that could potentially end up in stores by the end of the year. The tidal wave of controversy surrounding powered alcohol didn’t stop it from being approved for sale by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) on March 10 of this year. The specific product in question, known as Palcohol, is essentially freeze-dried alcohol that comes in a small, portable pouch. The powder is available as vodka or rum, but ready-made cocktail options are also available, including Cosmopolitans, Lemon Drops and “Powderitas.” Simply adding six ounces of water (or a mixer such as Coca-Cola or orange juice) to the powder can create a standard mixed drink. Technically speaking, approval from the TTB is a green light for Palcohol to begin distribution, but there’s still plenty of pushback.
It’s a situation almost everybody has found themselves in at one time or another: you have a stressful day at work, you go home, collapse on the couch, and reach for the ice cream. Or potato chips. Or cookies. You end up eating most – if not all – of the pint/bag/box. If you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet, you’ve just obliterated any chance of meeting your daily goal. This phenomenon, commonly referred to as “stress eating,” “emotional eating” or, more colloquially, “eating your feelings,” is a real issue that’s been fairly widely studied. Most studies have shown that the stress hormone cortisol is responsible for stress eating. However, a new study published in the journal Neuron suggests that the problem is actually quite a bit more complicated. It also suggests that stress can lead to an overall reduction in self-regulatory behavior, which can affect more than just food choices.
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