What is the healthiest sweetener?

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Sweeteners are an essential part of practically any cuisine. After all, in all traditions and cultures people enjoy the sweet taste of a good cake or a dessert. Sweeteners are usually simple carbs and don’t provide the body with any essential nutrients. However, if you had to use only one sweetener in the dessert you are making, what should it be? Which is the healthiest sweetener? Is it agave nectar, blackstrap molasses, brown rice syrup, corn syrup, date sugar, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, raw cane sugar, plain old sugar, or turbinado sugar? There are two sweeteners that have some significant nutrition, while the rest are pretty much a wash.

To know the answer and learn more, watch this 5 minute video:

 

 

Acknowledgement

Video courtesy of Dr. Michael Greger and NutritionFacts.org.

References

[1] M. P. Katherine and H. C. Monica. Total antioxidant content of alternatives to refined sugar. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Jan;109(1):64-71.

health axiom, move more, eat food, drink water, exercise is medicine,get more sleep,wash your hands

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Water is essential for the human body. The human body is made up of 50-70 percent water, depends on age, gender, weight and health. Water has many important utilities in our body: transfer nutrients (like vitamins and minerals) and oxygen to cells, remove byproducts and toxins that the organ cells reject, part of the biochemical break down of what we eat, regulate body temperature through sweating, help energize muscles, an effective lubricant around joints, moisturize the skin to maintain its texture and appearance and much more [1,2].

Most mature adults lose an average of 2.5-3 liters water per day. Our body barely produces water so we need to supply it with water. The amount we need depends on our body size, metabolism, the weather, the food we eat and our activity levels. The best way to supply the body with water is to drink water (and not sweet beverages that contain stuff you don’t want to put in your body! :)). Fruits and vegetables contain 80-95 percent water [3] and therefore are a good source as well.

 

Tips to help you drink more:

1. Keep a bottle of water with you every where you go. If it’s to your office, to school or when you drive.
2. Have a cup of water with every snack and meal.
3. When you exercise have a bottle of water with you, that way you’ll be able to drink comfortably and be aware if you drink enough.
4. Put a glass of water near your bed before you go to sleep, it will remind you to drink water when you’ll wake up.

03_DrinkWater (1) 03_DrinkWater

 

 

Recommended daily fluid intake* [4]:

age female male
18+ 2.1 liters (about 8 cups) 2.6 liters (about 10 cups)
14-18 1.6 liters (about 6 cups) 1.9 liters (about 7-8 cups)
9-13 1.4 liters (about 5-6 cups) 1.6 liters (about 6 cups)
4-8 1.2 liters (about 5 cups) 1.2 liters (about 5 cups)
1-3 1.0 liters (about 4 cups) 1.0 liters (about 4 cups)
7-12 months 0.9 liters (including breastmilk) 0.9 liters (including breastmilk)
0-6 months 0.7 liters (including breastmilk) 0.7 liters (including breastmilk)

 

* Recommended daily fluid intake may change depends on body size, metabolism, the weather, the food we eat and our activity levels.

Acknowledgements

The Health Axioms were created by Involution Studios, and are shared according to Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

References

healthy cooking to live longer

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Modern Americans are described as eating breakfast in their cars, lunch at their desks and chicken from a bucket. Within the last few decades Americans are eating out more and more and cooking fewer meals at home. One of the problems is that many people no longer know how to cook in general or how to make healthy food taste good in particular. But is there any research showing that cooking meals at home actually improves outcomes? Do people who cook live longer?

Researchers in Taiwan lately found that those who cook their own food are healthier and live longer. To learn why watch this 4 minute video from NutritionFacts.org:

 

 

Not sure how to cook healthy? Use the Nutrino app to learn how to cook thousands of healthy and delicious meals!

 

Acknowledgement

Video courtesy of Dr. Michael Greger and NutritionFacts.org.

References

[1] M Reicks, A C Trofholz, J S Stang, M N Laska. Impact of Cooking and Home Food Preparation Interventions Among Adults: Outcomes and Implications for Future Programs. J Nutr Educ Behav 2014.

[2] L P Smith, S W Ng, B M Popkin. Resistant to the Recession: Low-Income Adults Maintenance of Cooking and Away-From-Home Eating Behaviors During Times of Economic Turbulence. Am J Public Health 2014 104(5):840 – 846.

[3] J M Poti, B M Popkin. Trends in energy intake among US children by eating location and food source, 1977-2006. J Am Diet Assoc 2011 111(8):1156 – 1164.

[4] R Engler-Stringer. Food, cooking skills, and health: A literature review. Can J Diet Pract Res 2010 71(3):141 – 145.

[5] M E Beck. Dinner preparation in the modern United States. British Food Journal 2007 109(7):531 – 547.

[6] A Yngve, M Tseng, A Hodge, G McNeill, I Haapala. Cooking in this issue–back to basics! Public Health Nutr 2012 15(7):1141.

[7] S Howard, J Adams, M White. Nutritional content of supermarket ready meals and recipes by television chefs in the United Kingdom: Cross sectional study. BMJ 2012 345:e7607.

[8] R C Y Chen, M S Lee, Y H Chang, M L Wahlqvist. Cooking frequency may enhance survival in Taiwanese elderly. Public Health Nutr 2012 15(7):1142 – 1149.

[9] R Erlich, A Yngve, M L Wahlqvist. Cooking as a healthy behaviour. Public Health Nutr 2012 15(7):1139 – 1140.

[10] JAMA 1913. Pure food well cooked. JAMA 2013 309(21):2192.

[11] B Lin, J Guthrie. Nutritional Quality of Food Prepared at Home and Away From Home. 1977-2008. USDA 2012 1 – 24.

[12] LAL Soliah, JM Walter, SA Jones.Benefits and Barriers to Healthful Eating What Are the Consequences of Decreased Food Preparation Ability? AMERICAN JOURNAL OF LIFESTYLE MEDICINE March/April 2012 vol. 6 no. 2 152-158.

What drives the obesity epidemic?

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The problem of obesity is growing in western countries like never before [1]. Our three biggest killers: heart disease, cancer and strokes are strongly correlated with obesity. Today we will discuss a very difficult question: what drives the obesity epidemic?

Obesity in the developing world


The premise of this post is that the way we typically think of weight gain is fundamentally flawed.

The conventional wisdom says that every individual needs to consume a certain amount of energy (measured in calories) every day to maintain body weight [2]. The number of calories a person should eat for normal body function (called Basal Metabolic Rate – BMR) depends on the physical needs of that individual. Then the math is simple, take the total calories you eat a day, subtract from it the amount of calories you burn, if the difference is higher than your BMR then you will gain weight. If it is lower, you will lose weight. So to maintain your current weight, you must satisfy the equation:

(calories consumed) – (calories burned in exercise) = (calories recommend for basic body function)

According to this approach, obesity is just an energy balance disorder. So either obese people consume too many calories or their lifestyle doesn’t allow them to burn sufficient calories. We have already discussed studies that showed that excessive consumption of calories from certain foods don’t seem to lead to weight gain, in contrary to the common wisdom. In the future we will dive further into this question and show how problematic the caloric theory is.

A second hypothesis is that human beings should not eat certain foods. According to this hypothesis obesity is a growth disorder, which is triggered by certain foods in our diet that cause hormonal or enzymatic disorders. If this approach is correct, it wouldn’t matter how many calories you eat, as long as you eat the ‘right’ foods (whatever they are) you will not get overweight.

There are more approaches to this difficult question. A third hypothesis claims that the macronutrient content of our diet (protein, fat and carbs) influences fat accumulation. So according to this approach what matters is the macronutrients you eat, independently again of the total caloric intake. Other approaches claim that other environmental factors and not necessarily the food itself is what causing obesity [3-4].

There are dozens of studies trying to differentiate the hypothesis [5] and find the answer to this important question: what drives the obesity epidemic? Unfortunately, the evidence is still inconclusive. We still don’t have the answer to this question! This is a significant part of the problem of conflicting nutritional advice which we discussed last time.

But look what happened. The first approach produced a whole industry of nutrition apps that serve as calorie counters. All they do is make sure you don’t eat too many calories independently of the kind of food you eat. The second and third approaches created the diet industry. Today there are hundreds of different diets that recommend you should avoid certain foods (e.g. paleo diet, vegan diet) and/or nutrients (e.g. low fat diet, low carbs diet) typically without regarding your caloric intake [6].

I personally don’t believe neither of these approaches as a standalone philosophy for health. The first approach fails in many cases like the one I discussed on nuts. The second and third approaches are also problematic, as they assume that all human-beings should eat the same things to maintain a healthy weight. Last year some preliminary studies started testing a more personalized approach to nutrition, which seems very promising [7].

So what should you do?

We are not going to have the answer in the next two years. For now, I recommend everybody to take responsibility for your own health and body. Instead of tediously counting calories, just don’t eat too much. Eat real food, mostly plants. Listen to your body, and most importantly download Nutrino;)

References

[1] The World Health Organization fact sheet on obesity and weight gain

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health Weight

[3] Dirinck, Eveline, et al. “Obesity and persistent organic pollutants: possible obesogenic effect of organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls.”Obesity 19.4 (2011): 709-714.

[4] Tremblay, A., et al. “Thermogenesis and weight loss in obese individuals: a primary association with organochlorine pollution.” International journal of obesity 28.7 (2004): 936-939.

[5] NuSi: Review of the Literature on Obesity

[6] http://www.everydiet.org/diet

[7] The Personalized Nutrition Project

best cooking method

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What is the best cooking method to maximize nutrient consumption? Which are the gentlest cooking methods for preserving nutrients: baking, frying, boiling, microwaving, griddling or pressure cooking? It is well-known that most foods lose vitamins after you cook them, but which vegetables have more antioxidants cooked than raw? Which vegetable loses most of its nutrients when cooked and which vegetables increase in antioxidant value no matter how you cook them?

Watch a 4-minute video to find the answers.

Acknowledgement

Video courtesy of Dr. Michael Greger and NutritionFacts.org.

References

[1] Howard LR, Castrodale C, Brownmiller C, Mauromoustakos A. Jam processing and storage effects on blueberry polyphenolics and antioxidant capacity. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Apr 14;58(7):4022-9.

[2] Jiménez-Monreal AM, García-Diz L, Martínez-Tomé M, Mariscal M, Murcia MA. Influence of cooking methods on antioxidant activity of vegetables. J Food Sci. 2009 Apr;74(3):H97-H103.

health axiom, move more, eat food, drink water, exercise is medicine,get more sleep,wash your hands

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“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”― Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

 

Eat food – eat real food. The more colorful, fresh, seasonal and varied the food is, the better. The less processed the food is, the better. Healthy real food contains the minerals and vitamins you need. Don’t get full of candies, cakes, cookies or sweet beverages.

Not too much – it’s better to stop eating before you get full. It typically takes the body several minutes to tell your brain that you are full. We recommend to stop eating a few bites before you get completely full. Try it, and you’ll see a few minutes later that you feel full but not heavy (this sounds contradictory – but just try it!)

Mostly plants – vegetables and fruits are rich in minerals and vitamins. Eating vegetables, especially greens, and fruits will make you feel full but light after your meal. Their high level of fiber and antioxidants will improve your health and your body’s metabolism.

 

Reasonable amounts of food in your meals, including a lot of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, seeds and grains will help you improve your health!

02_EatFood (1) 02_EatFood

 

The Health Axioms were created by Involution Studios, and are shared according to Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

References

Overwork

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How often do you read a nutrition section in a newspaper or a magazine to discover a study that tells you to eat exactly the opposite of other studies you heard about? Think about it, every day we get different conflicting nutritional advice that make healthy eating confusing and baffling. Eat meat, don’t eat meat. Drink milk, don’t drink milk. Eat eggs, don’t eat eggs. Eat 6 meals a day, eat 3 meals a day. Eat low fat, eat low carb, eat low calories, eat low protein. Eat like a caveman. Eat vegetarian… And the list just goes on!!

To date, there are about 700 different diets [1]. Some of them are fad diets that were created to help people lose weight, while many of them actually claim to be the only healthy way to eat. The health sections of bookshops are overwhelming with diet books, most of which contradict one another. On Amazon alone there is more than 24,000 books in the nutrition category! Search for the word ‘diet’ in Google and you’ll get more than 100 million results.

Confused? Who isn’t?!

This is what we call the ‘problem of conflicting nutritional advice‘. The problem of conflicting nutritional advice affects each and every one of us, as figures on nutrition-related diseases are staggering. Obesity is constantly on the rise, and is the leading preventable cause of death in the world today. In western countries cancer, heart attacks and strokes are our three biggest killers [2]. Together they kill more people than all other causes of death combined. Yet thanks to science we know that in most cases, these deaths are preventable by smart nutrition.

The problem of conflicting nutritional advise has a lot to due with the obesity epidemic in the U.S.

Obesity in the U.S

The problem of conflicting nutritional advice also has enormous economical consequences. In the U.S. alone obesity and type 2 diabetes cost the healthcare more than $1 billion every day [3,4]. It is estimated the North Americans spend more than $50 billion annually on diet products and self-help books or videos [5]. Even worst, about 4,000 lives are lost due to obesity every day [4]…

Nutrino was founded to solve exactly this problem of conflicting nutritional advice. Our mission is to help people everywhere eat healthier. We are here to educate you about what smart nutrition really is.

It turns out, however, that there are still many things mankind doesn’t know about nutrition. This is a significant part of the problem.

We aim to use the technology of the Nutrino app to conduct the biggest study in history and put an end to the problem of conflicting advise. Stay tuned to how with your help we will make this happen! In the meantime, download our iPhone app, an Android version is coming soon!

References

[1] http://www.everydiet.org/diet

[2] World Health Organization

[3] American Diabetes Association. “Economic costs of diabetes in the US in 2012.” Diabetes Care 36.4 (2013): 1033-1046.

[4] Wang, Youfa, et al. “Will all Americans become overweight or obese? Estimating the progression and cost of the US obesity epidemic.” Obesity 16.10 (2008): 2323-2330.

[5] http://www.worldometers.info/weight-loss/

[6] http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/obesitycost/epidemic.php

Luxurious soy products background.

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The recommended amount of soy consumption per day is a controversial issue. Different studies and organizations recommend different amounts. Should we avoid soy altogether? Or perhaps a little bit of soy is good for you? Or can we consume as much as we would like? How much soy is too much?

To find the answers watch this 2-minute video from NutritionFacts.org:

What is one serving of soy? [7]

Soy yogurt – 1 cup

Tofu – 3 ounces

Soymilk – 1 cup

Edamame – 1/2 cup

Soy “burger” – 1 patty

Tempeh – 3 ounces

Soy pasta – 1/2 cup (cooked)

Soy nutrition bar – 1 bar

Soy nuts, roasted – 1/4 cup

Soy breakfast patty – 2 patties

Meatless soy crumbles – 1/3 cup

Soy chips – 1 bag

Soy nut butter – 2 Tbsp

 

Acknowledgement

Video courtesy of Dr. Michael Greger and NutritionFacts.org.

References

[1] Shu XO, Zheng Y, Cai H, Gu K, Chen Z, Zheng W, Lu W. Soy food intake and breast cancer survival. JAMA. 2009 Dec 9;302(22):2437-43. 

[2] Wu AH, Yu MC, Tseng CC, Pike MC. Epidemiology of soy exposures and breast cancer risk. Br J Cancer. 2008 Jan 15;98(1):9-14. 

[3] Nagata C, Shimizu H, Takami R, Hayashi M, Takeda N, Yasuda K. Dietary soy and fats in relation to serum insulin-like growth factor-1 and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-3 levels in premenopausal Japanese women. Nutr Cancer. 2003;45(2):185-9. 

[4] Dewell A, Weidner G, Sumner MD, Barnard RJ, Marlin RO, Daubenmier JJ, Chi C, Carroll PR, Ornish D. Relationship of dietary protein and soy isoflavones to serum IGF-1 and IGF binding proteins in the Prostate Cancer Lifestyle Trial. Nutr Cancer. 2007;58(1):35-42. 

[5] Arjmandi BH, Khalil DA, Smith BJ, Lucas EA, Juma S, Payton ME, Wild RA. Soy protein has a greater effect on bone in postmenopausal women not on hormone replacement therapy, as evidenced by reducing bone resorption and urinary calcium excretion. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Mar;88(3):1048-54. 

[6] Maskarinec G, Takata Y, Murphy SP, Franke AA, Kaaks R. Insulin-like growth factor-1 and binding protein-3 in a 2-year soya intervention among premenopausal women. Br J Nutr. 2005 Sep;94(3):362-7. 

[7] http://www.soyfoods.org/nutrition-health/soy-for-healthy-living/soy-for-heart-disease/soy-protein-content-chart

 

Insulin dependent Diabetes patient syringe injection

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The blood type diet is diet that was promoted in the book Eat Right 4 Your Type. In the book it was claimed that the most important factor in determining a healthy diet is the person’s ABO blood type [1]. The diet became very popular in the late 90’s and the beginning of the new millennia.

As we all know, there are hundreds of conflicting diet recommendations. The problem is that most diets are not based on solid scientific evidence. So what does science have to say about the blood type diet?

A robust systematic review found no evidence to support the blood type diet. To learn more, watch this video below from NutritionFacts.org:

Acknowledgement

Video courtesy of Dr. Michael Greger and NutritionFacts.org.

References

[1] D’Adamo, Peter J. “Eat Right 4 Your Type.” Clinical Nutrition Insight 25, no. 6 (1999): 5.

health axiom, move more, eat food, drink water, exercise is medicine,get more sleep,wash your hands

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It is estimated that our ancestors walked more than 10,000 steps a day. Today, barely half (48%) of all adults meet the physical guideline of the Center of Disease Control [1]. Nutrino shares the recommendation of the Center of Disease Control for physical activity, and recommends each adult to do (at least) the equivalent of 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week and muscle-strengthening activities on all major muscle groups at least 2 days a week. Not sure how much you should work out? Read more here.

01_MoveMore01_MoveMore

The Health Axioms were created by Involution Studios, and are shared according to Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

References