Dementia Protection without the Side Effects

I’d never fault anyone for doing everything they thought necessary to ward off dementia. If you’ve ever watched a loved one struggle with this debilitating condition, you know what a heartbreak it can be.

But, if like me, you believe that the first rule of medicine should still be, “Do no harm,” Continue reading

Plant-Based Diets Can Remedy Chronic Diseases

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 63 percent of the deaths that occurred in 2008 were attributed to non-communicable chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, Type 2 diabetes and obesity — for which poor diets are contributing factors. Yet people that live in societies that eat healthy, plant-based diets rarely fall victim to these ailments. Continue reading

Nonprofit Organizations Exposed: American Dietetic Association and Others in Bed with Monsanto

There is a reason why the American Dietetic Association (ADA), which was recently renamed the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), often makes ridiculous nutrition recommendations such as to eat lots of grains as part of a “healthy” diet, or to avoid eating fats, particularly saturated fats, which it falsely suggests are harmful to health. It turns out that this nonprofit organization Continue reading

Six Safe, Natural Solutions for Getting Rid of Migraine Headache Pain

Migraine sufferers are often anxious to rid themselves of the terrible pain characterizing this condition. Health-conscious individuals choose natural treatments to avoid drug side effects. Many migraine sufferers don’t realize the effects certain foods and chemicals may have on their systems, contributing to the development of migraines, or to their resolution. Diet, herbs Continue reading

New Link between Salt and Bone Health Discovered

A brand-new health breakthrough out of Alberta, Canada, shows that keeping a diet high in salt can deplete calcium levels in the body. This raises the risk of kidney stones, osteoporosis, and bone fractures.

When sodium leaves the body, it takes calcium with it. This new study helps explain why people on high-salt diets are prone to such issues as kidney stones and osteoporosis. It found an important link between the two common minerals. Continue reading

5 Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat

Who doesn’t want flat abs? People desperate to lose weight will willingly starve themselves, take Top expensive supplements or do the latest fad diet that promises to give them that flawless figure in 30 days. Thankfully, belly fat is metabolically active and easier to lose. However, if proper nutrition is not observed and the resort is made to low calorie diets, weight loss may not happen within the desired time frame. Hunger and calorie deprivation Continue reading

Pasta Made from Green Banana Flour a Tasty Alternative for Gluten-Free Diets

New option for patients with celiac disease, study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports

People with celiac disease struggle with limited food choices, as their condition makes them unable to tolerate gluten, found in wheat and other grains. Researchers from the University of Brazil Continue reading

Purple Potatoes Push Blood Pressure Down

Drop that French fry and munch on a purple potato. Research shows that properly prepared (no deep frying!) potatoes, especially the purple variety, can lower blood pressure as much as oatmeal does.

“The potato, more than perhaps any other vegetable, has an undeserved bad reputation that has led many health-conscious people to ban them from their diets,” says Joe Vinson, Continue reading

Cleansing the Skepticism Surrounding Detoxification Diets

A recent article published in The Science of Biology espouses the anti-detoxification views of Professor David Bender, professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at University College London. In his article, titled The Detox Delusion, Professor Bender claims that detoxification is a “meaningless marketing term,” even potentially dangerous to your health and unnecessary as a dieting tool. He further states, “I am not sure what ‘self-healing’ is and the idea of ‘raised energy levels’ is nonsense.” Continue reading

A Small Reduction of Carbohydrates Intake Slims Waistline

Excess abdominal fat has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have recently found that reducing such fatty tissue may be a simple matter of reducing carbohydrates in a diet.

Dieters need not go to carb-free extremes, however, since the study revealed that just a modest decrease in bread, rice and simple sugars may help to significantly reduce belly fat.

Researchers measured the belly fat of participants on two different diets: one in which individuals derived 43 percent of their calories from carbs and 39 percent from fat, and another in which individuals ate 55 percent of their calories in carbohydrate form and 27 percent from fat. Both diets contained 18 percent protein. Continue reading

Improve Your Health by Eating Olive Oil

Another new study has confirmed what we’ve known for quite some time – Olive oil contributes to better health.

According to researchers who followed about 7,000 people aged 65 and older in three French cities for five years, olive oil can help greatly reduce the incidence of stroke.

Scientists conducting the study said they found that people who used a lot of olive oil either in their cooking or as a dip for bread and other foods had lower rates of stroke than people who never use it.

The scientists, who published their results in the medical journal Neurology, say people should be given new advice about their diets to include wider use of olive oil, based on the study’s results. Continue reading

Weight Loss Supplements Are Misleading

Weight Loss Supplements Are Misleading

Weight-loss supplements are not merely getting hit up by regulatory bodies for alleged safety infractions (Hydroxycut), but fully 46 per cent of all industry executives at the NBJ Summit last year believed that “more than 70 per cent” of weight-loss supplement products contain illegitimate claims. In second place, at 25 per cent of respondents, was the belief that “between 50 and 70 per cent” of products were beyond the pale. Perhaps it’s been easy enough to float fluffy claims when the feds were predisposed to look the other way, but in the early days of the Obama administration, it certainly appears as if the sheriff is back from being gone fishing. The industry will continue to flout integrity at its peril.

On May 1, 2009, the FDA issued a warning to consumers to stop using Hydroxycut weight-loss products. Although it is not yet known which specific ingredient in the multi-ingredient formula was responsible for the alleged liver problems. The actives in an example product in the Hydroxycut line include Garcinia cambogia, Chromium polynicotinate, Gymnema sylvestre, caffeine, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, ginger, raspberry and quercetin.

Sabinsa, supplier of Citrin and GarCitrin brands of Garcinia cambogia but which are not used in Hydroxycut products, issued a position paper on the safety of its hydroxycitric acid as found in its branded-ingredient products, specifically Citrin and GarCitrin.

The US weight-loss supplements market is valued at $1.7 billion, according to Nutrition Business Journal. The market has not found its footing since ephedra was pulled from the market in 2004, with no clear ingredients emerging to lead the next generation of weight-loss ingredients.

“Decreasing nutrient absorption, inhibition of appetite, and increasing thermogenesis are all currently being considered as possible pharmacological methods of treatment for obesity,” says Scott Hagerman, president, Chemi Nutra and Chemi Pharma, which offers the category PhosphoLean, a phospholipids/green tea combination. “More specifically, through discovery of special nutrients and newly discovered metabolic pathways, management of appetite suppression is opening new science doors to both the understanding and treatment of overweightness and obesity.

Americans tend to look at weight management as a problem best solved by diet pills. But, of course, food is the real key. Satiety product launches have increased by nearly 50 per cent from 2007-08, according to a report by Business Insights.

Weight management, diabetes and heart disease are the top three conditions for which US adult consumers say they would be willing to use dietary supplements, according to NMI’s 2007 Health and Wellness Trends Database study.

“We know that a higher-protein diet can be an excellent way to feel fuller longer and may help reduce the desire to reach for unhealthy snacks between meals,” says Matt Pikosky, registered dietitian and director of research transfer at the National Dairy Council. “Whey protein added to foods and beverages can help increase daily protein intake to achieve a higher protein diet, which can help promote a feeling of fullness.”

A May 2009 study even found almonds may boost satiety by increasing absorption of unsaturated fat.

Food-grade ingredients such as CarboStar from Saatwic Foods is part of the better-for-you food-ingredient movement. CarboStar is composed of naturally derived ingredients such as carrageenan and pectin, which is added to a flour formulation at a concentration of between one and three per cent, depending on product application. In soup noodles, it reduces calories by 25 per cent; in a brownie mix, calories from carbs are cut by 35 per cent.

“If the nutritional value of foods that people enjoy could be increased without affecting taste and enjoyment, those products presumably could gain widespread acceptance in the marketplace,” said Ajay Chawan, president of Saatwic Foods. “Thanks to numerous in-depth studies and pilot consumer trials over the past four years, we are finally gaining acceptance of our CarboStar Method from consumer packaged-goods firms. The primary hurdles we had to leap to reach this point were proving that our technology really worked and consumers would embrace it.”

And finally, we should probably note that the addition of vitamin D to a reduced-calorie diet will lead to better weight loss.

Introducing – Guarana


 Other Names: Paullinia cupana, Brazilian cocoa

Guarana (pronounced gwa-ra-NAH) is a creeping shrub native to Venezuela and northern Brazil in the Amazon rain forest. The fruit are small, bright-red, and contains black seeds.

Guarana seeds are rich in caffeine and contain up to 4-8% caffeine, more than coffee beans, which contain approximately 1–2.5% caffeine. The seeds are also rich in tannins and xanthine alkaloids theophylline and theobromine.

Why do people use guarana?

Guaraná is reputed to be a stimulant and increase mental alertness, fight fatigue, and increase stamina and physical endurance.

Guarana drinks and sodas are very popular in Brazil (where guarana is considered to be a health tonic), almost as popular as cola-based sodas. Sweet, carbonated guarana drinks include the popular brands Guaraná Antarctica, Guaraná Brahma, and Kuat (from Coca-Cola Company).

In North America, guarana has recently become a popular ingredient in energy drinks and teas.

Guarana is one of the richest sources of caffeine, containing up to three times the amount of caffeine as coffee. Unlike coffee, the amount of caffeine doesn’t have to be listed on guarana drinks.

In addition to its stimulant properties, guarana is also a popular ingredient in herbal weight loss pills. Some evidence indicates that guarana may suppress appetite and increase fat-burning.

What research has been done on guarana?

An animal study examined the effect of 14 days of guarana supplementation on fat metabolism in sedentary and trained rats and found that the guarana’s fat-burning effect is due to the caffeine content. Decaffeinated guarana extracts had no effect on lipid metabolism.

A Journal of Psychopharmacology study found that guarana improved memory, mood and alertness at low (37.5 mg, 75 mg) vs. higher (150 mg, 300 mg) doses. However, another study examined the long-term use of guarana, caffeine, or placebo on the cognition of 45 older individuals. There were no significant effects of guarana on cognition.


Guarana should not be used by people who are sensitive to caffeine or xanthines.

People with heart conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure, epilepsy, overactive thyroid, anxiety, insomnia, and kidney disease should only use guarana under the supervision of their doctor.

The safety of guarana in pregnant or nursing women has not been established. Since many doctors recommend limiting caffeine during pregnancy and nursing, guarana should be avoided because caffeine content differs from product to product and it isn’t possible for consumers to accurately estimate how much caffeine they are consuming through guarana.

Guarana should not be taken with any products containing ephedra. Serious adverse effects have been reported with this combination. It may increase the risk of stroke, hemorrhage, myocardial infarction, and sudden death and has been associated with increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and potentially harmful changes in glucose and potassium levels.

A report published in the Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy described the case of a heart rhythm abnormality called premature ventricular contraction associated with two herbal supplements that both contained large doses of guarana.

Initial symptoms of guarana overdose include difficulty urinating, vomiting, and abdominal cramps and spasms. If you suspect a guarana overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

Common Forms

Guarana can be found in powder or pill form. It is an ingredient in energy drinks, sodas, and other beverages.

Drug interaction

Guarana has been found to decrease platelet aggregation and thromboxane synthesis, so it may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with aspirin, anticoagulants such as Warfarin (Coumadin®), and platelet inhibitors such as Ticlopidine (Ticlid®), Clopidogrel (Plavix®).

Guarana should not be combined with MAO-inhibitors, and may cause headaches.

Skinny Friends with Big Appetites Bad for Weight Watching

VANCOUVER – If you are watching your waistline, then try to avoid skinny friends with big appetites, says a new study.

“If a heavy-set colleague eats a lot, you are likely to adjust your behavior and eat less. But a thin friend who eats a lot may lead you to eat more than you normally would,” the study authors wrote.

“We decided to investigate how someone’s size and food choices could influence how much the people around them eat,” write researchers Brent McFerran, Darren W. Dahl (University of British Columbia-UBC), Gavan J. Fitzsimons (Duke University) and Andrea C. Morales (Arizona State University).

They recruited 210 college students to participate in a study that was ostensibly about movie watching. Participants were told they would be paired with another student for the study.

The other student was actually a member of the research team whose natural build was thin. But at times this same researcher donned an “obesity prosthesis,” which made her appear a size 16 and 180 pounds.

All of the students were offered snacks while viewing the film clips. The undercover researcher was served first, and helped herself to either a large or small serving before the student participant was offered the same bowl of food.

In all cases, the amount of food the students accepted was influenced by the portion size chosen by the undercover researcher, regardless of her size.

Participants tended to mimic the thin companion’s portion sizes. But when they presumed the researcher to be obese, the participants adjusted the amount they ate.

“This indicates that people are influenced, even without being aware of it, by other people’s portion choices,” the authors wrote.

These findings were published in the Journal of Consumer Research.