Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mediterranean Diet Data

A new independent clinical study has shown yet again how effective the Mediterranean diet can be to lower the risk of heart disease and to improve overall health.

Women who followed a Mediterranean diet were almost 1/3 less likely to experience heart disease and also 13% less likely to suffer from a stroke when compared to those people whose diets did not follow a Mediterranean pattern.

Read exerpt here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Food Labels ... What Food Labels?

You know the food label on the back of all food products?

It's that table of macromolecules that you are required to balance against a standard 2000 Calorie per Day diet

... every day ...

as you separate carbs (good ones versus bad ones),
from your fats (good ones versus bad ones),
and all your vitamin RDAs pro rated against your total daily calorie intake -- which you won't even know until the day is OVER!!??


Given this complexity, the follow study result makes sense.

"About half of consumers never read the nutrition label before purchasing pre-packaged food, according to a new survey".

Understanding of labels was also limited among consumers with only 32 per cent of the population knowing that there is a difference between salt and sodium and only 10 per cent understanding the difference between energy and calories.

Dr Muireann Cullen, Manager of the NHF, said that “Scientific studies have documented over and over again the role a healthy diet plays in dramatically reducing one’s risk of these diseases and at a time when obesity levels are reaching an all time high, the importance of knowing what you are eating cannot be stressed highly enough.

[however]

Consumers can sometimes find the information on food packages to be confusing. However, once you learn to read a food label, you’re well on your way to making healthy food choices.”

This is great if you are researcher, and your only job on the planet is to track your macromolecules. The reason for the fall off in "label reading" is simply that normal people with normal lives and normal routines ... cannot take the time or brain power to keep up with it all.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Our Kids Need The 3 R's ... Plus 1!!

Remember Recess? For those of us "of a certain age", recess at school was a normal part of the day. This practice, however, has been phased out slowly and steadily over the years.

Now, new research suggests that play (and "down time") may be as important to a child’s academic experience as reading, science and math, and that regular recess, fitness or nature time can influence behavior, concentration and even grades. Read the entire NYTimes article here.

A study published this month in the journal Pediatrics studied the links between recess and classroom behavior among about 11,000 children age 8 and 9. Those who had more than 15 minutes of recess a day showed better behavior in class than those who had little or none.


The lead researcher, Dr. Romina M. Barros, a pediatrician and an assistant clinical professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said the findings were important because many schools did not view recess as essential to education.

“Sometimes you need data published for people at the educational level to start believing it has an impact,” she said. “We should understand that kids need that break because the brain needs that break.”

Last month, Harvard researchers reported in The Journal of School Health that the more physical fitness tests children passed, the better they did on academic tests. The study, of 1,800 middle school students, suggests that children can benefit academically from physical activity during gym class and recess.

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