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  • Archive for October, 2010

    Numbers Game: The Potassium Problem

    High-Potassium-FoodsAccording to data from NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), the average American consumes _____ percent of the recommended daily amount of potassium.

    a) 72%
    b) 64%
    c) 49%
    d) 23%

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section; come back on Friday to find out why this is problematic and how to ensure you’re not missing the mark.

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    You Ask, I Answer: How Many Grams of Fish Oils A Day?

    andrew-lessman-essential-omega-3-no-fishy-taste-mint-360-capsules~660045Saw this tweet from you the other day: “Ideal Omega 3 supplementation: 3 g total/day; DHA:EPA ratio of 2:3. Don’t bother with supplements that offer ALA.”

    My basic approach has been to consume at least 1,000mg (or 1 gram) per day; that seems to be the standard recommendation. I’m wondering if the 3 gram recommendation is meant for the greater population or just those with very high cholesterol or other conditions.

    – Guy Betterbid
    New York, NY

    One gram a day is not bad.  Here is what I base my “3 grams per day” recommendation on:

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    You Ask, I Answer: Serotonin in Foods?

    food-coma-150x150I’ve been told that bananas have the second highest levels of serotonin.

    When I pass [that tidbit] on, others ask ‘what’s the first?’.  Do you know?

    – @kiloerg
    Via Twitter

    I’m sorry to say that whoever told you bananas have the highest second levels of serotonin must have been rather confused.

    Foods, after all, don’t contain serotonin (a neurotransmitter linked to relaxation and sleep promotion).  Certain components in food, though, can increase serotonin levels.

    Here is how the “some foods make you tired and sleepy” scenario plays out.

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    Numbers Game: Answer

    sugar-pour1The average American adult gets 16 percent of his/her daily calories from added sugars.

    Keeping in mind that approximately 15 percent of the the average American adult’s calories come strictly from oils (of which roughly 70 percent of that is soybean oil), you’re looking at “standard” dietary practices where almost a third of calories are empty. 

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    “Food Politics: Advocacy for Social Change” — A Wonderful Talk by Marion Nestle

    nestleLast night I was grateful and honored to have a reserved seat for a talk given by Dr. Marion Nestle at The University of Washington to a sold-out audience of over 400 students, faculty members, and food policy buffs (the lecture was open to the general public).

    What follows is a bullet-point, Cliffs Notes style recap of Dr. Nestle’s presentation; consider it a crash course in food politics 101!

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    7 Habits of Highly Successful Healthy Eaters

    success

    This was originally written as a guest post for the Awaken Your CAREERPreneur blog, but I liked it so much, I wanted to share it here as well!

    Most everyone has the potential to become a healthy eater.  I say “most everyone” because, unfortunately, millions of Americans live in what are known as “food deserts” (vast areas in low-income neighborhoods that are absolutely saturated with fast food chains and severely lack access to fresh produce and basic healthful foods).

    I point that out as a reminder that the opportunity to become a healthy eater is one we should truly cherish and be grateful for.  All it takes is awareness and time to hone certain abilities and skills.  Below, I list what I consider to be seven must-have qualities in order to improve your relationship with food.

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    Quiz: Are You A Good Label Detective?

    hidden_ingredientsReady to test your food labeling smarts?  Take this ten-question quiz (answers are provided at the very end, but you have to promise not to peek!).

    Also, the idea is to take this quiz in one sitting without Googling answers or consulting the Small Bites archive.  So, grab a sheet of paper and a pen (that’s right, no eraser marks!)… and good luck!

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    Numbers Game: Sugar High

    InternThe average American adult gets ____ percent of his/her daily calories from added sugars.

    a) 9
    b) 25
    c) 16
    d) 11

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section and come back on Friday for the answer.

    Share

    You Ask, I Answer: B Vitamin Confusion

    51V3ZT72W8L._SS500_I need your help sorting out B vitamins.

    I thought they were all water soluble, but I recently heard that the body stores B12 for decades?  Is this true?

    What are all the B vitamins?  I keep seeing conflicting information on how many there are.  For example, is panthothenic acid a B vitamin?  What about choline?

    – Rebecca Plender
    (Location Withheld)

    There are eight B vitamins.  They are:

    • B1 (AKA Thiamin)
    • B2 (AKA Riboflavin)
    • B3 (AKA Niacin)
    • B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
    • B6 (AKA Pyridoxine, although that term is mainly used in scientific literature)
    • B7 (AKA Biotin)
    • B9 (AKA Folate)
    • B12 (AKA Colabamin; again, that term is mainly only used in scientific literature)

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    Who Said It?: Reveal

    NUP_138943_3274.jpg“Just drinking three liters of water a day… burns 75–100 calories. If you add a little lemon juice to it, which is ascorbic acid, that can speed up your metabolism by 33 percent.”

    So says Jackie Warner, host and guru of Bravo’s Thintervention.

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    Numbers Game: Answer

    Swine Flu Pig VaccineNorth Carolina’s hog operation facilities release approximately 300 million tons of ammonia into the atmosphere on a daily basis.

    As you may imagine, the release of ammonia into the atmosphere is beyond troubling.  For example, ammonia is one of the main players behind acid rain.

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    Now Available on DVD — “What’s On Your Plate?”

    woypdvdSubtitled “the film about kids and food politics”, What’s On Your Plate? is a wonderful and powerfully effective documentary by Catherine Gund and its two 11-year-old star activists: Sadie Hope-Gund and Safiyah Riddle.

    I was fortunate to meet Catherine and see the film in the Spring of 2009, and am so happy it is finally available on DVD for “the masses”.

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    Debuting A New Service!

    newsflashI’m super excited to tell you about a new customized personal service I am offering!

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    You Ask, I Answer: Fruit Always with Protein?

    BNut - 1072542 - Bananas & NutsThe other day I was reading an article in a magazine at my dentist’s office which recommended always eating fruit with some sort of protein.  Does that make nutritional sense?

    – Rob (Last name withheld)
    New York, NY

    Yes and no.

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    Unfair Targets

    TargetNutrition is an evolving science.  Although the basic tenants are unlikely to change (i.e.: fruits and vegetables undoubtedly contain healthful components, omega-3 is a fatty acid we must get from food, etc.), new research helps shed light on previously misunderstood concepts.

    Unfortunately, much of the mainstream media (as well as a good number of nutrition professionals in the public eye!) continues to regurgitate outdated information that is inaccurate and does the general public no favors.

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