From the July 2016 Issue

Better Beverage Choices

It’s not much of a secret that drinking sugary beverages isn't the best thing for your waistline or your health. And, even though the use of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in the U.S. is declining, it’s still high. SSBs—which include soda, fruit drinks, and energy and vitamin water drinks—are the top source of added sugar and the single largest source of calories in the American diet. Half of U.S. adults drink at least one 12-ounce SSB per day, an amount linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.


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Better Beverage Choices

It’s not much of a secret that drinking sugary beverages isn't the best thing for your waistline or your health. And, even though the use of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in the U.S. is declining, it’s still high. SSBs—which include soda, fruit drinks, and energy and vitamin water drinks—are the top source of added sugar and the single largest source of calories in the American diet. Half of U.S. adults drink at least one 12-ounce SSB per day, an amount linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Don’t Fall for Teatoxing; Arginine and Heart Health

Of all nutrition misinformation, the idea that one can “detox” to lose weight and get healthy is among the most popular and potentially most harmful. Arginine (aka L-arginine) is one of 20 amino acids that make up the building blocks of protein. As a supplement, arginine has some scientifically supported benefits, and other potential benefits which have not yet been proven.

Processed Foods: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Humans have been processing food since the dawn of time. From sun-drying, salting, and fermenting, to the invention of canning, pasteurizing, and freezing, processing helped alleviate food shortages, malnutrition, and the incidence of foodborne illnesses. Today, food processing allows us to have a consistent, convenient, safe, and tasty diet year-round, and makes it possible to enjoy allergen-free and nutrient-fortifed foods.

Top 10 Tips for IBS Relief

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), an unrelenting intestinal disorder, occurs in up to 1 in 5 Americans, presenting with bloating, alteration in bowel habits, pain, and cramping. Diet may be your first line of defense. Here are 10 evidence-based strategies that may minimize symptoms.

Fall in Love with Stone Fruit

Backyard parties, warm summer night walks, and lazy days at the beach are some of the many joys of flip-flop season. But a perfectly ripe plum or juicy peach are among summer’s sweetest gifts. Peaches, nectarines, cherries, apricots, and plums—all members of the so-called stone fruit family, because their flesh surrounds a hard, stone-like pit—are at their sun-kissed flavor peaks. But the juicy orbs can infuse your summer menu with more than great taste and aroma; they also promote wellness with their nutritional payload.

Lighten Up Your Salad

If you're trying to eat more healthfully, but you still want to enjoy a meal out, ordering a salad is the ideal option, right? Not so fast. While a salad can certainly be a healthy, satisfying option, there are plenty on the menu that can actually short-circuit your wellness goals. The idea of a salad may sound lighter than a burger, but it's not always the case. Many restaurant salads are loaded with calories, fat (especially saturated fat) and sodium. Some salads contain more than a day's worth of sodium (2,300 mg), and more fat than a fast food double burger with cheese.

Sorting Through Nutrition Hype

Catchy news headlines about nutrition studies and flashy diet book titles grab consumer attention and increase sales, but if you don’t dig deeper and read the fine print, you could be misled, says David Katz, MD, MPH, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center in Derby, Connecticut. When writers simplify and glamorize complex nutrition science, the message can get skewed.

Let Plant Proteins Shine

More and more people are interested in shifting their plate from animal proteins to plant proteins, including beans, soy foods, nuts, and seeds. In fact, a recent Mintel survey found that 36 percent of people are choosing meat alternatives, though only 7 percent identify as being vegetarian. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you can gain many benefits from eating a more plant-based diet, including lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and obesity. In addition, you can lighten your footstep on Mother Earth by eating fewer animal foods, which require more inputs, such as fossil fuels, land space, and water, than plant foods.

Grape Expectations

The storied history of grapes runs deeper than the roots of the twisted vines themselves. Called the “fruit of the vine” in the bible, grapes are believed by some to be the fruit eaten by Eve in the Garden of Eden. Grapes also appear in hieroglyphics in Egyptian burial tombs, but it was the Greeks and Romans who coveted them for winemaking. Wine and grapes were known for their nutritional and medicinal value as early as the middle ages. A traditional symbol of bounty and abundance, grapes (and the wine that is produced from them) continue to be embedded in the food and celebratory traditions of cultures around the world and are recognized for their high nutrient density.

Healthy Heart, Healthy Brain

New research suggests that protecting your heart may also help protect your brain. Researchers followed more than 1,000 individuals with an average age of 72 and found that those who met more goals for heart-healthy living, established by the American Heart Association (AHA), showed faster thinking skills and exhibited less deterioration in brain processing speed.

The Carbon Footprint Diet

Following recommended global dietary advice could help prevent over five million deaths per year, according to British researchers, but it would only cut carbon emissions by 29 percent. This may not be enough. The scientists found that if the world switched to vegetarian-style diets, we could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 63 percent, as well as reduce deaths by 7.3 million.

Carotenoids, Pulses and Raspberries

Compared to individuals with the lowest carotenoid levels, those with the highest levels had longer telomeres by 5-8%. Including pulses, such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas, in your daily diet may help promote weight loss, according to a new meta-analysis. A comprehensive review of six studies supports a potential role for red raspberries in reducing the risk of metabolically based chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease—all of which have metabolic, oxidative, and inflammatory links.

Download the Full July 2016 Issue PDF

Natural sugar isn’t as much of a concern as added sugar. How-ever, there’s a difference between eating a whole piece of fruit, which has its sugar wrapped in fiber, and drinking juice, which has the equivalent of drinking multiple pieces of fruit without the fiber. Some research suggests that higher juice intake increases risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommend no more than 1 cup of fruit juice per day as part of daily fruit intake.

About EN

Environmental Nutrition is the award-winning, independent newsletter (no sponsors, no advertisers) that opens your eyes to what you put in your mouth. Are you floundering in the swamp of conflicting advice on low-carb diets, vitamin E, eating fish, genetically modified foods? EN offers authoritative, reliable, practical guidance on what works and what doesn't in balancing your diet to protect... More.

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