Month: January 2007

Blog Is the New Health

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites: Or should that be…health is the new blog? And have you noticed the constant “this is the new that” slogans everybody likes to come up with? (Just Google: sugar is the new trans fat, brown is the new black, adults are the new kids.) How about a new turn of phrase device? Like…”couplets are the new turn of phrase device”. Oh, wait, that’s just the new thing again. Nevermind. Here’s your piping hot batch of health news! 1) No More Wining All the benefits of wine, none of the headache-inducing tannins and brain toxins. Just make sure you pick 100% real juice, and don’t drink too much of it (because…yes…sugar is the new trans fat). Or just eat grapes. The beneficial antioxidants everyone is in a big stomp about (like resveratrol) are found in the skins of the grapes. 2) Unexpected Mad Cow News Here is some unexpected mad cow news. We’ll keep you posted as research develops. You might want to consider going organic in the meantime. 3) Will it make a difference? The Faster Death Agency Food and Drug Administration has come under furious scrutiny over all manner of corruption and shenanigans (Vioxx, politicizing Plan B, Prempro and numerous other drug scandals). A recent independent investigation found that the FDA errs – big surprise here – on the side of approval even when new drugs have not had extensive testing. Essentially, the FDA gives drug companies a hall pass. In so many words, the FDA says “Hey, Big Pharma, you’re gonna make sure your product is safe, right? Cool. Sally, did you find my iPod yet? I have to make my private jet to Telluride in, like, 30 minutes!” The actual wording is convoluted legalese, but that’s pretty much what it boils down to. In light of the fact that a post at the FDA is a cushy chill-out job for stressed former Pharma execs, this news fills us with hope. We’ll keep an eye on whether or not it actually makes a difference. Check the press release (link below), and you’ll see that the official spin is maddeningly glib: the FDA is changing because it’s simply time to update processes in light of new scientific methods. Gosh, is that it? How fun. Translation: the FDA is changing because, oops, we need to stop approving needless deaths by instituting standards that have already been around for two hundred years. In the meantime, be careful about trying new drugs or multiple prescriptions without first doing a little research – and always get a second or third opinion (fortunately, real research is now easy to find at places like Pubmed, Vitasearch and even the FDA’s own website). And let’s just remember, the FDA is the fine organization that brings us this inflamed nubbin: 4) Finally! New York has taken steps to ban trans fat. So we knew L.A. would catch up sooner or later. It just needed time to come up with a subtle little “Um, … Continue reading “Blog Is the New Health”

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Ain’t No Thing But a Chicken Wing

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

All the news, none of the trans fat.

1) Angering dermatologists everywhere!

Another holy grail of health is about to crumble. Here’s more evidence that a little sunshine is not only okay – it’s probably good for you (something any cat could tell you…if they could tell you). Want to prevent osteoporosis, arthritis, cancer, and maybe even MS? Check out this clickativity.

2) We still love apples

This is an interesting little article about how Americans are so unhealthy, not even our favorite fruits and vegetables are the best. Wow, thanks, Science Daily.

Among the findings: most people still do not know they’re supposed to eat 5 daily servings of produce. And actually, that’s not even correct – a bunch of health organizations got together two years ago and proved that 7-9 daily servings is actually what’s needed for optimal health.

The point of this daily bite is to introduce a little thing Mark refers to as relative nutrition. Sure, potatoes and apples and iceberg aren’t the healthiest produce choices in the world (go for yams, berries and spinach).

But relative to the processed tripe convenience food that’s shoveled at the overwhelming majority of Americans – including the kidlets – any produce is better than some. Think about what you eat in a day. How much of it actually looks like something that grows in a garden?

Everyone is at a different point along the nutrition curve, which probably flows something like: raw, vegetarian, organic, fresh, selective, indiscriminate, destructive.

Most Americans, sadly, fall into the last two categories. Even most “health-minded” folks, Mark believes, hover somewhere around selective. Thanks to unethical food marketing, these well-intentioned shoppers are selecting foods that have the ring of health but are not really healthy. For example: low-fat dairy, canola oil, multi-grain bread, cereal bars, and pork – because it’s “white” meat.

The further you get along the nutrition curve, the healthier you’ll be. But keep relative nutrition in mind. If you know spinach is better than iceberg, and you can afford it, then for Pete’s sake, eat some spinach! But it’s just good to keep in mind that different people are at different points on the curve, so any progress is still progress. And it’s not just because we like apples (okay, maybe that’s some of the reason).

Why men have love handles and women have bellies

3) Killing is wrong, but Big Pharma evidently missed that memo…

Because they were too busy writing emails figuring out the best way to lie.
And lie some more.

4) The C-Section debate

Is elective Cesarean section a safer bet for baby? We already know it’s safer for mom, but the stigma remains in some societies. This study updates the debate.

Web it out:

Astrology affects your health? Study not funded by Miss Cleo (we checked). Yet another fabulous episode in Silly Studies R Us.

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Healthy Tastes Great!

Green Beans with Lemon and Pine Nuts

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What Would You Give Up to Be Thin?

I’m pretty shocked by what people are willing to trade to be thin. Limbs? Eyesight? Marriage? Lifespan? Children?

I’m shocked, because avoiding obesity really doesn’t have to be so dramatic.

Yes, the statistics are dramatic – two-thirds of Americans are lugging around way too much weight.

The effects are dramatic – heart disease, diabetes, cancer, reduced quality of living.

The purported cures are dramatic, too – billions on drugs, herbs, gimmicks, and gadgets.

Yet avoiding obesity is not a dramatic undertaking at all. It’s very easy – truly. And that’s a relief, isn’t it? You simply decide not to harm yourself.

Avoiding exercise is harming yourself.

Eating fast food, junk food and huge portions? Harming yourself.

Smoking, drinking, getting into stressful situations? Harming yourself.

Eating sugar is harming yourself.

Not enjoying and using your body is harming yourself.

So don’t harm yourself.

Because harming yourself is really just death – warmed up.

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Vitamin Eeeeek?

The Difference Between Fact…and Factitious I’ve noticed that frightening myths about vitamin E persist in spite of vocal opposition from scientists and top experts. For those who want to know the facts behind the E “controversy”, here it is (just call it the E! True Supplement Story). For years, doctors have recommended vitamin E supplements to patients seeking better heart health. But a fairly recent study claimed vitamin E increases the risk of death and should not be taken. Let’s take a closer look – because there’s fact, and then there’s factitious. What is vitamin E? Vitamin E, a fat-soluble nutrient, is found naturally in many oils, grains, nuts and fats. E is also present in meats, dairy and leafy greens. What is it used for? The body needs vitamin E for various processes in the blood, eyes, brain and skin. Doctors have been supportive of E because of its heart benefits. Vitamin E helps to thin the blood and fight free radicals, so many Americans fighting heart disease, blood clots or high blood pressure like to take this natural treatment. Vitamin E can help ease leg cramps, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and the pain associated with several cardiovascular diseases. Even some migraine sufferers have benefited from vitamin E supplements. Though the benefit to the heart may not be as powerful as initially thought, vitamin E may help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. What is the recommended dosage? 400 IU daily is the general recommendation of the government and most health experts – individual needs can vary. What are known side effects? Doctors have long known that excessive vitamin E intake can cause too much thinning of the blood. For that reason, large amounts of vitamin E should not be taken if you are already taking a synthetic blood thinner. There are no other known drug interactions and vitamin E cannot become toxic. Will Vitamin E kill me? No. A recent study that got a lot of spin (Vitamin E is bad! Oh no!) merely observed a correlation. Are there any problems with that study? Where to start? There are several issues with the study that launched the vitamin E scare: It only looked at people over age 60 who already had serious pre-existing conditions like heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease; this study cannot possibly be applied to younger and/or healthier patients. It eliminated observational studies from the analysis, most of which show clear benefit over several years. The study of 136,000 people grouped dozens of studies together without taking into account the different – and possibly incompatible – processes and analyses the various studies used. Many of the studies included in this broad study have been independently questioned for their reliability. This study used “meta-analysis,” which means there was not a consistent, controlled approach in each individual study. Most of the patients taking the vitamin E were also taking other drugs, and the study did not control for the possibility of interaction or complications. The patients were only taking … Continue reading “Vitamin Eeeeek?”

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Alzheimer’s Prevention

Here’s a handy guide to reducing your Alzheimer’s risk. You’ll notice that prevention, plenty of vegetables, and a “smart” lifestyle are keys to staying sharp.

One note: this above link would have benefited from including a little more information on vitamin E. I’ll be posting the truth behind the vitamin E scare shortly. Heads up!

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