Posts tagged ‘research’

What’s the deal with Soy

Happy Monday, my friends!

One of the questions I get asked most is about soy.

More specifically, is soy good/bad for me?

Personally, I believe it’s really difficult to be so black and white about a food such as soy. After all, it’s been a staple of Asian cuisine for thousands of years. But studies and the media have also shown that eating soy can lead to hormone and thyroid issues, breast cancer, and poor development in children.

So here’s the deal: there’s no right answer to this debate.

It’s more important to be educated about soy and then develop your own opinion based on your experiences.

Personally, I eat soy in limited amounts. ALWAYS organic. I tend to eat less processed forms of soy, such as tempeh, and tofu on occasion. I limit the amount of fake soy (ie soy protein) because even though it’s soy, it’s definitely not natural. And I don’t over-indulge.

I urge you to read this fantastic blog post by Dr Mark Hyman, one of my most favorite and well-respected integrative nutrition experts. He summarizes the research out there and does a great job of telling you what’s what. If you read the comments on the end of the post, you’ll see that everyone has an opinion about soy (and some pretty strong ones, too!).

So, once again….what makes your body feel good???

August 16, 2010 at 1:22 pm 1 comment

Go Green with your Exercise

Just in time for summer!

This month’s Weill Cornell Medical College Food & Fitness Advisor reports findings from a UK study that found that just   5 minutes of “green” exercise each day lifted study participants’ moods and boosted their self esteem. The study was published online on March 25th in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

And what is “green” exercise, you ask? The term refers to an activity in the presence of nature, such as walking, boating, gardening, cycling, fishing, horseback riding, and my favorite, hiking.

The most significant improvements in mood and self-esteem occurred when the participants were in the presence of water. Interesting!

So, next time at the beach, put the drink down, get out of your lounge chair, and take a little walk.  Not only is it good for the body, but good for the soul.  Me…I’ll be hiking in the Berkshires!

June 18, 2010 at 7:17 pm Leave a comment

Coffee + Milk= ?

In a previous post (like, last year) I told you that putting milk in your tea will block some of the antioxidants that are naturally found in tea (my personal fave is green tea.) To recap that post: Milk and tea= bad. Tea + lemon= good.

But what about coffee and milk? Good question!

In the Journal of Nutrition in February 2010, scientists give the green light to adding some milk to your coffee. The antioxidants in coffee (yes, there are some!) have been linked to some health benefits, such as lowering the risks of diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, and colon cancer. For a great read on the benefits of coffee, check out this article.

Anyway, go right ahead and pour in your milk. Keep in mind, however, that adding milk adds calories, and if you have a few cups a day, it can add up.

Let’s talk about the effects of sugar and non-dairy creamer in your coffee, shall we? Yes, let’s do!

According to the study by Nestle, researchers found that adding sugar and non-dairy creamer DID reduce the absorption of coffee antioxidants.

These scientists tested the blood levels of antioxidants after 9 subjects drank black instant coffee, instant coffee plus whole milk, and instant coffee plus nondairy creamer and sugar.

As you might guess, adding milk made no difference, but the creamer plus sugar combination reduced maximum concentrations of the antioxidants tested.

Obviously, a study of 9 people is very small, and I am curious about using non-dairy creamer alone vs. sugar alone, and see what the antioxidant levels are with those consumed on their own (in coffee)

Either way, non-dairy creamer and sugar, and milk, ALL add calories. A little bit in your coffee won’t hurt you, but if you drink a half a pot of coffee a day, it definitely adds up (and that much coffee isn’t good for anyone!)

Drink safe and smart!

April 27, 2010 at 3:19 pm Leave a comment

Study Finds Junk Food just as addicting as cocaine and heroin

Gus has had one too many twinkies!

Drop that Twinkie, Gus! 

A new study has found that eating junk food can be addictive!

In the study, rats were granted unlimited access to foods like bacon, pound cake, sausage, candy bars, and other junk foods. All of the rats quickly gained weight. And in addition, they became so addicted to the junk that they started to compulsively eat it–even when they received a painful electric shock when they consumed more than was allowed. Yikes!

On the flip side, a group of rats that was fed healthy fare with limited access to junk food did not gain much weight, and also knew when to say “no” to junk food to avoid the “junk food hangover.”

The researchers found that with the junk food eating rats, the dopamine D2 receptor of the brain was suppressed, leading to compulsive eating.

Read reports on the study here and here.

March 30, 2010 at 2:57 pm Leave a comment

Gettin’ Biblical With Portion Sizes

I love this one!

Recently, a US study examined over 50 biblical Last Supper paintings and came up with an interesting find.  Apparently, we’ve been eating increasingly larger portions over the past 1000 years (Yes, 1000!).

The study was led by Brian Wansink of Cornell University, author of “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think” (a must have book), and his brother, a professor of religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College.

Thanks to computer design techonology,  researchers anazlyed the size of the main meals (entrees), bread, and the plates relative to the average size of the disciples’ heads. 

The study showed that the sizes of the portions and even the plate size in the artworks, painted over the past millenium, have gradually increased by between 23 and 69%.  Over the past 1000 years, the size of the main meal has continuously grown 69%; plate size increased 66% and bread siuze about 23%.

“The last thousand years have witnessed dramatic increases in the production, availability, safety, abundance and affordability of food,” Wansink said in a statement.

“We think that as art imitates life, these changes have been reflected in paintings of history’s most famous dinner.”

Hmmm, WWJD now?

March 25, 2010 at 2:09 pm Leave a comment

It’s Official: French Women DO Get Fat!

frenchWomenFrance vs. America.

There’s always been a little bit of a competition going on between the two countries, right? We Americans think we’re better than our French counterparts, even going so far as to rename our beloved fried potatoes “Freedom Fries.” (Seriously, did anyone really use that term?). The French (stereotypically) view Americans as slovenly fat people who work too much and have bad taste in wine. And then, to really rub our noses into it, the book “French People Don’t Get Fat” was a best-seller, detailing how French women are oh-so-chic, eating small portions (slowly) of chocolate croissants, never snacking between meals, and never gaining a pound.

Well, France, sorry to say, you’ve fallen a rung on your Eiffel Tower.  A 2009 study published yesterday concluded that 15.1% of French women are clinically obese, and 26% more are overweight. Hmmm, very surprising indeed!

The Swedish researchers leading the study also published similar results found in French men, with 13.9% classified as obese and 38.5% as overweight.

So what can be attributed to  this weight gain over the last twelve years? According to French experts, the new type of sedentary lifestyle is to blame, including desk-type jobs, more public transportation (and less walking), and a greater availability of food. So, it seems that France and America are more similar than we thought.

 However, the French get a leg up on us by claiming that their obesity levels mirror that of the United States in the 70s, so they’re about 40 years behind us. (FYI, the latest study shows Americans as 31.1% of men obese vs 33.2% of women.) OK, France, you can have that. But you’re still getting fatter.

All joking aside, this is a BIG problem. And it’s not only France and America…China, Japan, Greece, and other European countries, once known as the epitomes of slenderness, are all experiencing weight gain. The Westernization of these countries is leading to obesity, leading to major health problems like diabetes and heart disease. Truly scary!

November 11, 2009 at 4:32 pm 1 comment


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