This one should be easy for all of you: before the holidays really hit full speed this weekend, do yourself a healthy favor. No junk food this week. Nada, zip, zero, [all right, insert “nothing” synonym of choice here]. We know you’re all healthy in mind, body, and spirit. Salads don’t stand a chance around you. Wait, why is this one even a challenge? Mark?
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WORKER BEES’ DAILY BITES
Drug-Eluting Stents Elude Trouble…for Now
An FDA panel is
not really concerned that drug-eluting stents might cause serious blood clots. There are two kinds of stents: those that elute and those that do not. The latter are simple metal devices used to prop open arteries that are gunked up. The former release drugs and are far more popular. In fact, drug-eluting stents make up 90% of stents sold, which means about $6 billion a year in profits for the medical device industry.
So, the news* that they might kill more than they should (remember, the FDA accepts a relative number of “oops” when approving a drug) is not making Big Pharma happy. Over at the Motley Fool, they’re surmising that the FDA will probably let it all slide. Poor Pfizer just lost torcetrapib, so maybe it’s a little bit of a pity party. At any rate, ateriosclerosis, which stents address, is almost entirely preventable with a good diet and daily exercise. Something to think about. Apples?
Will I Miss Out If I Never Eat a Kumquat?
Junior Apple Jessica B. wants to know if we need variety in our diets, after all. Good question, Jess (can we call you Jess?). That does seem to be one of the hallowed tenets of friendly nutritionists everywhere. It’s right up there with 8 glasses of water daily and flail-away-at-the-cardio-machine.
What we want to know is: what do we really know? For all of human history, people ate locally, seasonally, and their variety was often limited. Evidence indicates that cave-dudes and cave-ettes didn’t really struggle much with things like obesity and diabetes. As long as they weren’t wiped out by the latest glacier or wild boar attack, people were reasonably healthy on diets that centered around one or two fiber sources, some type of greens (anything from kelp in Japan to moss in Siberia), and a protein source or two (fish in New Zealand, reindeer in Finland). What do you all think about the variety debate? Get thee to the forum!
* UPDATE MAY/24/07: news article updates latest drug-eluting stent issue. We’ve replaced the old article with the most up-to-date news.
EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT:
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID (ALA)
WHAT IT IS: Not to be confused with alpha linoleic acid, which is flaxseed’s famous precursor to Omega-3 fatty acids, alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant found in the body’s cells. It works in concurrence with several other antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin E.
Studies show: ALA, like other antioxidants, fights free radicals that ravage the body. When free radicals attack our cells, this is known as oxidative stress, which ALA prevents. But ALA goes a step further than other antioxidants.
This compound helps to regulate blood sugar and insulin. For this reason, ALA plays a vital role in energy, health and weight maintenance. Many diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, are linked to unhealthy blood sugar and insulin production levels.
ALA is also one of the only antioxidants that is both fat and water soluble, which is just one more reason why experts consider it to be such a valuable nutrient. Studies have shown that ALA both fights oxidative stress and helps improve the metabolism. Specifically, ALA has been shown to fight the destructive free radicals that contribute to aging.
In a recent study, ALA improved energy levels significantly. And ALA helps its buddies: at least two other antioxidants have been proven to work more effectively in conjunction with ALA.
WHY WE LIKE IT: We like ALA because of its potential for great energy improvement and age-fighting effects. ALA helps fight oxidation, is fat and water soluble, and improves the effectiveness of other antioxidants.
While the body does produce ALA within its cells, scientists have discovered a unique and wonderful side effect when an additional ALA supplement is taken – the ALA “free floats” to any area in the body suffering from oxidative stress, whether it be water, fat or blood. How cool is that? This is special because other antioxidants (like C and E) remain in particular cells, and often just the fatty section, at that.
Furthermore, ALA supports other antioxidants, increasing their effectiveness. And because high blood sugar and insulin irregularity are both problems for Americans, we believe ALA is crucial to managing your health. That’s why Mark includes a big dose of ALA in his world-class Damage Control Master Formula.
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites
1) Taco Bell’s Fourth Meal Campaign – where they’re advising you to revisit mealtime late at night – is suddenly wrought with a lot of potential for humor in bad taste…and terrible puns. We’re not going to stoop to such low standards, but you can bet someone in the blogosphere will. And all because of scallions – scandalous. Clickativo. Good job, Big Agra. Way to win one for the team.
2) The intersection of morality judgments, motherhood and drugs: the debate over breast-feeding continues. The UK reports epidural drugs induce a desire in the mother to breast-feed; depending on when the drugs are given, there may be some unhealthy side effects; and doctors have concerns about another side effect: guilt in mothers who cannot breast-feed. Clickativity.
3) And the kids up at Evergreen U in Washington weigh in (sorry) on the whole Chicago-foie-gras-New-York-trans-fat fracas, which is apparently beginning to turn into a multi-city competition. Will Los Angeles (if it even notices) be the next to ban an unhealthy food? (What, no more white rice in the sushi?). Will Dallas come down on BBQ sauce? Will we start talking about “bootleg” buffalo wings? “Hooch” hamburgers? You know what the unintended consequences are of banning stuff people love: you get organized crime and mob syndicates. You’d think Chicago, of all cities, would remember that one.
Myspace, blogs, cell phones: the infrastructure exists, people. Soon we’ll see 14-year-old boys pelting city headquarters with ketchup packets on their way to deliver forbidden French fries to suburban housewives whose stressed-out husbands just have to have the hooch. Or not. Hey, we know this is absurd, but isn’t it absurd to live in a country where obesity is so out of control, cities actually ban certain foods?
The Evergreen U article suggests posting menu information instead of trying to tell people what to eat. That’s really logical and reasonable (one of the Worker Bees grew up a stone’s throw from Evergreen, and gosh, are they thoughtful people up there). But while it’s a nice idea, this food problem is way past logical. As Mark questioned last week in his musings on relative gluttony, would people really pay attention to the menu information? No one wants to be told what to do, but let’s face it, gluttony is the backbone of the American diet. So here’s the clickativity. Discuss, Apples!
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