Monthly Archives: March 2014

Diet soda may hurt the heart

dietsodaOlder healthy women who consume two or more diet drinks per day are at higher risk for heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems, according to a new study presented this week at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session in Washington D.C. These women were 30 percent more likely to experience a cardiovascular event and 50 percent more likely to die from a disease associated with heart problems than women who rarely — or never — drank artificially flavored beverages.

The study of 59,614 post-menopausal women is based on data from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study and is, thus far, the largest study conducted on heart health and diet beverage consumption. The researchers used questionnaires to assess consumption of diet drinks over the prior three months, and then administered a follow-up questionnaire a year later. 

The researchers categorized the women into four groups based on the number of 12-ounce size beverages regularly consumed: two or more diet drinks a day, five to seven diet drinks per week, one to four diet drinks per week, and zero to three diet drinks per month.

The researchers then followed up with study participants approximately nine years later. They found cardiovascular problems — including coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack, coronary revascularization procedure, ischemic stroke, peripheral arterial disease and cardiovascular death — occurred in 8.5 percent of women who drank two or more diet drinks per day, which amounted to a minimum of 14 beverages per week. Heart-related health issues occurred in 6.9 percent of women who consumed less than half the amount per week.

Over the last decade, an increased awareness of the dangers of refined sugar has led the popularity of diet beverages. Between 1999 and 2010, diet drink consumption increased from 17.8 percent to 21.2 percent for women and 13.9 percent to 19.0 percent for males, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Health and Nutrition Survey estimates that currently about 1 in 5 Americans drink some type of diet beverage each day.

However, other research suggests one’s intentions to avoid refined sugar from beverages may still result in many of the same health problems. Studies have found diet drinks can elevate one’s risk for metabolic syndrome, which is associated with weight gain and an increased risk for diabetes. And other researchers believe artificial sweeteners may activate reward centers in the brain, which causes people to overeat. 

Ankur Vyas, a fellow at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and lead researcher of this new study, said he plans to conduct further studies on how — and why — diet drinks impact heart health. To fully understand this phenomenon he needs to examine a more diverse population.

“It’s too soon to tell people to change their behavior based on this study; however, based on these and other findings we have a responsibility to do more research to see what is going on and further define the relationship, if one truly exists,” said Vyas in a press release.”This could have major public health implications.”

Read the full article.

Nutrition for Athletes: Better Health Means Better Hoops

orangebasketballIt’s March Madness!

So, for basketball players and other athletes, one determining factor between becoming a good player and a great player is your diet. Optimum performance requires sound nutritional habits to keep your body fueled and focused.

Want to play like the athletes competing in the big college basketball tournament this month? Fuel your body with these three core nutrients and you’ll be on your way toward improving your overall health and your performance – in sports and in life.

Water: During physical activity, we often sweat a great amount. It’s important for players to stay adequately hydrated before, during and after practices and games. Failure to rehydrate will not only affect performance, but can cause dehydration as well.  Here are some simple steps all athletes can follow to ensure they’re adequately hydrated for all types of activity levels:

  • Drink six to eight glasses of water each day
  • Drink two glasses of water before games or practice
  • Drink a glass of water every 15 to 30 minutes during workouts or games

Carbohydrates: Due to the stop and go nature of the game, carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for playing basketball. Once carbohydrate supplies in the body become depleted, we often experience decreased speed, quickness, reaction time and mental focus. Therefore, it’s vital for players to show up to games fully fueled with good carbohydrates. Examples of quality carbohydrate foods for fitness include bananas, oranges, dried fruits, carrots, pastas, baked potatoes and whole grain breads.

Protein: Just as important as carbohydrates, protein helps build and repair muscles and keeps players strong in the game. High-protein snacks fuel the body and prepare athletes for vigorous activity on the court. Basketball players should aim to eat heavier proteins such as meat and dairy in the morning or immediately following a game or practice. Examples of good sources of protein include lean poultry, low-fat dairy, fish, lean beef, shellfish, and legumes.

Don’t forget that Juice Plus+ Complete is a great source of top quality protein and carbs before and after physical activity.

Spring into Healthier Nutrition

Spring is here – finally!

On Monday we left New Zealand’s late summer weather, arriving back after about 36 hours of travel, to a wintery drive back over the Colorado mountain passes on I-70.  We have had more snow this week here at 7000 feet,  but also 60+ degree temps., so we are looking forward to springing into summer. Some of you are already there – good for you!

Now winter (mostly) and the holiday season are behind us, and  spring is fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to start eating healthier, so we feel and look at our best this summer.


In the short video clip below, eating strategist Lyssa Weiss offers advice and tips to tune up your diet in time for the warmer weather. Like us, Weiss recommends incorporating Juice Plus+ into your family’s diet to help them get more nutrients from fruits and vegetables and reduce the symptoms of the common cold.

The Difference Between Natural Vitamins vs. Synthetic Vitamins

There is a lot of confusion out there about ‘vitamins’.  Let’s try to clear it up.

Vitamins are little organic molecules we need, but we can’t make, or have a hard time making, them ourselves. We rely on our food to keep us stocked with these essential nutrients, but our food is getting less and less nutritious. Pesticides limit the action of beneficial microbes in soil that help plants draw in nutrients. Fertilizers focus on certain key chemicals and don’t take into account the trace minerals, organic components, or beneficial microbes. Genetically modified foods have made their way into our food supply, and we don’t know how they will affect us long term.

natural_vs_synthetic_vitamins_imageOn top of these problems, we refine and process our food so it lasts longer, tastes better, and is more addictive. We strip and destroy vital nutrients as we do so. Much of the food we find in grocery stores barely resembles what humanity has been eating for thousands of years. There’s no wonder we have so many auto-immune disorders, food allergies, and growing epidemics with obesity. Our bodies don’t know what we’re ingesting; they aren’t finding the nutrients they need; and they are begging for us to eat more, so we do.

We all know we need a steady supply of vitamins and minerals so our bodies can function properly. Scientists, doctors, and food companies agree, so they create cheap vitamins in labs, recommend multivitamins, and fortify our foods and beverages. The problem is they all use synthetic vitamins.

Almost all multivitamins are from synthetics. The same goes for fortified foods. There’s a good reason for this. Synthetic vitamins are cheaper to make and usually more stable. This means they can last on shelves for months or years, be added to foods in high doses, and create dense tablets that won’t be too big to take along with some fillers and binders. These vitamins are allowed to call themselves “natural” even when they are synthetic because they are considered virtually identical to the ones found in food.

The way these compounds are made is not remotely similar to the metabolic processes that plants and animals use. The finished product is also usually a compound not found in nature in any such form. These synthetic vitamins, according to a multitude of studies, are not as bioavailable, absorbable, or usable. These “virtually identical” vitamins are not what we find in natural foods. They are not recognizable to the body, are hard on the kidneys, and can be treated as toxins.

natural_vitamin_a_beta_carotene_picNatural Vitamin A – Vitamin A shows up in food as beta-carotene. The body must convert it into vitamin A to be useful. This sounds less effective, but vitamin A can be toxic in large doses. Beta-carotene allows the body to convert what it needs and discard what it does not.

Synthetic Vitamin A – Synthetic vitamin A is retinyl palmitate or retinyl acetate. This synthetic is made from combining fish or palm oil with beta-ionone. Beta-ionone is created using citrus, acetone, and calcium oxide.

Natural Vitamin B1 – Thiamin, or vitamin B1, is a water soluble vitamin created by plants and bound to phosphate. Digestion releases the thiamin using specialized enzymes.

Synthetic Vitamin B1 – Thiamine mononitrate, or thiamine hydrochloride, is made from coal tar, ammonia, acetone, and hydrochloric acid. It is crystalline in structure, unlike plant-based vitamins. Many synthetic vitamins are crystalline. Crystals in our blood stream cause damage and mineral accumulation where it isn’t needed, like joints.

Natural Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin is easily absorbed, stays in the blood stream for long periods of time, and is readily used by the body in important enzymes.

Synthetic Vitamin B2 – Synthetic riboflavin is made with acetic acid and nitrogen, or using genetically modified bacteria and fermentation. It has been shown to be less absorbable, quickly removed from the blood stream like a toxin, and expelled in urine.

Natural Vitamin B3 – Niacinamide, or nicotinamide, is what we find in food and commonly call niacin. Niacin can have side effects, but these are minimal when coming from plant foods.

natural_vitamin_b5_pantothenate_imageSynthetic Vitamin B3 – Nicotinic acid is created using coal tar, ammonia, acids, 3-cyanopyridine, and formaldehyde. It is less absorbable and has risks of side effects.

Natural Vitamin B5 – Pantothenate is the natural version of this essential B vitamin.

Synthetic Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic acid involves isobutyraldehyde and formaldehyde to form a calcium or sodium salt. The alcohol derivative, penthenol, is sometimes used as it is more stable.

Natural Vitamin B6 – Like B1, pyridoxine is bound with phosphate in plants to make pyridoxal-phosphate. This is the biologically active form. Any other form of B6 must be converted into this phosphate combination.

Synthetic Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine hydrochloride comes from petroleum ester, hydrochloric acid, and formaldehyde. It isn’t readily absorbed or converted and has been shown to actually inhibit the action of natural B6 in the body. It also has side effects not normally found with natural food sources of this vitamin.

Natural Vitamin B7 – Biotin is involved in cell growth, fat production, and metabolism.

Synthetic Vitamin B7 – Synthetic B7 is produced using fumaric acid.

Natural Vitamin B9 – This B vitamin exists in food as folate and is very important in the creation and repair of DNA, thus the importance during pregnancy.

Synthetic Vitamin B9 – Folic acid doesn’t exist in food, is crystalline, and is not easily absorbed despite the large amounts that are added to vitamins and supplements. It comes from petroleum derivatives, acids, and acetylene.

Natural Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin B12 is only created by micro-organisms like the bacteria that grow in soil and our intestines, as well as some micro-algae and perhaps seaweed.

Synthetic Vitamin B12 – Cobalt and cyanide are fermented to make cyanocobalamin. That’s correct. Cyanide.

natural_choline_found_in_plants_imageNatural Choline – Choline is often grouped with B vitamins. It is combined with phosphate in nature and is important in cell membranes and keeping fat in check.

Synthetic Choline – Choline chloride or choline bitartrate are made using ethylene, ammonia, and hydrochloric acid or tartaric acid.

Natural Vitamin C – This vitamin is readily available in citrus, red bell peppers, berries, and many more fruits and vegetables. In nature it is combined with flavonoids and phytonutrients that help in absorption.

Synthetic Vitamin C – Ascorbic acid is an isolated vitamin from genetically modified corn sugar that is hydrogenated and processed with acetone.

Natural Vitamin D – Mushrooms, yeast, and lichen produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Humans do too. A daily dose of about 20 minutes of sunlight provides all we need.

Synthetic Vitamin D – To mimic the natural production we find in our skin, scientists irradiate animal fat to stimulate vitamin D synthesis.

Natural Vitamin E – Vitamin E actually refers to eight different fat soluble compounds and it acts as an antioxidant that protects fats from oxidation. The most biologically active form is found in grains, seeds, and the oils from these.

Synthetic Vitamin E – The synthetic dl-alpha tocopherol is created using refined oils, trimethylhydroquinone, and isophytol. It is not as easily absorbed, doesn’t stay as long in tissues, and is quickly dispelled like a toxin or unknown chemical.

natural_vitamin_k_in_dark_leafy_greens_picNatural Vitamin K – This vitamin is important to proper blood clotting and some metabolic pathways. It is found in dark, leafy greens.

Synthetic Vitamin K – Synthetic vitamin K, menadione, comes from coal tar derivatives, genetically modified and hydrogenated soybean oil, and uses hydrochloric acid and nickel. It is considered highly toxic and damages the immune system.

Vitamins should come from food sources as much as possible. If you want a multivitamin, reach for ones that use whole food sources like holy basil, guava, and other herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Synthetic vitamins are isolated or simulated nutrients that do not take into account all the countless phytonutrients that come along with them. Nature is not a select few things. We are only beginning to understand how many of the lesser known compounds in plants react with one another as we eat them, but we do know humanity has been eating whole foods for a very long time. We have evolved to recognize the whole, not individual chemicals that have been created to approximate an essential vitamin.

Avoid supplements that use words ending in -ide, acid, or that use the “dl” before the name.

Minerals are the same. They are not considered organic materials as they come initially from the earth, but plants incorporate them into their systems and combine them with organic compounds. This is how our bodies know them and incorporate them as well. Minerals are combined with proteins to form enzymes or to aid in the movement of oxygen. Get minerals from plant sources as much as possible too. Your body is begging you for the vitamins and minerals it knows.

Read full article.

Of course, Juice Plus+ is full of the ‘natural vitamins’ the are found in the original fruits, vegetables and berries – 26 of them!