Thursday, December 11, 2008

Salty Business

The food industry has again come under fire for the amount of salt used in products, as this survey found that sodium levels had remained ‘essentially the same’ over the past three years.

That the salt levels mined from processed food products are the same as they have been in the past is unsurprising. If you are a food company, you must produce products that have the shelf life of steel belted radials. Otherwise, there is no profit to be made if your food products are going bad all the time.

Given that, if a company is not using salt (to preserve the time before even bacteria can eat their products), they will certainly use something else (hydrogenated oils, BHT, BHA, Nitrates, etc).

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is fussing at food companies, sounding a bit shrill actually, saying that companies “could easily lower sodium levels and still have perfectly marketable products”.

Sure, and cigarette makers could easily make their carcinogens without the addictive nicotene -- a drug that makes you want to smell like an ash tray. However, they wouldn't sell any product then, so don't expect that any time soon.

If you purchase cigarettes, you know what you're getting. If you purchase processed food products, you also know what you're getting. It may not be a bad idea to have food companies label their foods for the amount of salt (in square meters) they are packing into their Ramen Noodles, but no one should guess that complaints about what they should or should not do with their own products is going to have much of an effect.

A good solution is to just eat normal food, made at home. Just a suggestion.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Mediterranean Diet Lays Low Fat Low

The Mediterranean Diet works.

This research is from the Archives of Internal Medicine: A traditional Mediterranean diet that includes a healthy serving of nuts each day may help reverse a cluster of risk factors for heart disease.

Over 1,200 older adults who followed the diet had lower rates of metabolic syndrome -- a clustering of risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and stroke, which includes high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, elevated blood sugar and unhealthy cholesterol levels.

This study also showed that the traditional Mediterranean diet was 7 times better at reducing metabolic syndrome than our theoretical approach (eating a "prudent" low fat diet), especially when you add in the consumption of nuts.

The findings suggest that the Mediterranean diet can help manage metabolic syndrome, even without weight loss or exercise, the researchers report in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Do Less, Do More

Many people believe they must do more and more and more and more.

This article argues that there are diminishing returns on this kind of "hamster wheel" idea. In other words, "doing more" doesn't get you more.

In fact, according to this research, when you push through to the point of losing sleep -- either because you're working when you should be sleeping, or because you're so worried about whatever is going on that you can't sleep -- you also lose memory.

It actually makes it harder for you to function.

You're not doing yourself any favors by burning the candle at both ends. Structured breaks within your day, between days (aka, sleep), and in your life (aka, vacations), turn out to be the best long term solution for productivity.

And THAT productivity includes the quantity as well as quality of your work.

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