Monthly Archives: November 2014

Pediasure – Is this Really What Kids Need to Grow?

Pediasure - are you sure?

Says this Fooducate blogger:

Our 9 year old daughter is very small for her age. She has been falling off the growth charts for the past 5 years. All our kids are small, as my wife and I were in our childhood, so at first we were not too alarmed. We have been to regular appointments with doctors and dietitians in order to assess if our daughter’s situation warrants non-food intervention. In several of these sessions, the health professional recommended Pediasure.

For those of you who don’t know, Pediasure is a liquid nutrition product for kids, manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Abbott. According to the company:

Pediasure is clinically proven to help kids grow … Each delicious shake provides 7g protein and 25 vitamins and minerals. Each kid-approved flavor comes in a reclosable bottle – perfect for kids on the go…and on the grow!

It all sounds good until you dive into the nutrition and ingredient details.

A serving is one cup, and has 240 calories. There are 80 calories from fat, 25 from protein, and the remaining 135 are from carbohydrates. The carb breakdown is just 1 gram of fiber, and 18 grams of sugar. That’s the equivalent of 4.5 teaspoons of sugar. No wonder children love this drink, it’s much sweeter than plain milk!

Here is the ingredient list:

Water, Sugar, Corn Maltodextrin, High Oleic Safflower Oil, Milk Protein Concentrate, Canola Oil, Soy Protein Isolate, Pea Protein Concentrate. Less than 0.5% of the Following: Short-Chain Fructooligosaccharides, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Cellulose Gel, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Phosphate, Potassium Citrate, Calcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Tuna Oil, Potassium Phosphate, Cellulose Gum, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Soy Lecithin, Monoglycerides, Salt, Potassium Hydroxide, m-Inositol, Carrageenan, Taurine, Ferrous Sulfate, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, L-Carnitine, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Niacinamide, Manganese Sulfate, Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Lutein, Cupric Sulfate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Folic Acid, Chromium Chloride, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenate, Sodium Molybdate, Phylloquinone, Vitamin D3, and Cyanocobalamin.

After water, the most prominent ingredient is sugar! It is followed by cornmaltodextrin (GMO), which is used as a thickener in soft drinks, salad dressings and soups.

The fats in this drink are derived from safflower oil and canola oil (GMO). Can you imagine your child drinking oil in order to help her grow?

The proteins are derived from milk, soy, and peas as isolates and concentrates. This means the original, healthy whole food is deconstructed and highly processed, losing its beneficial nutrients. Milk protein concentrate is a cheap ingredient often imported from China, with little to no quality inspection or regulation.

Not that you would expect it in this product, but the vanilla flavor is entirely fake, added as natural & artificial ingredients.

The laundry list of vitamins and minerals following the main ingredients may seem alluring at first, but the bio-availability of these nutrients is not quite impressive. Isolating specific vitamins and introducing them into the body in pill, liquid, or supplement form does not guarantee they will be absorbed. A large percentage may find its way into your child’s urine.

Parents to picky eaters and small children may become enamored with Pediasure as a quick and easy fix. It may help “fatten up” your child at first. But the dependance it creates can lead to long-term problems including poor eating habits. The clinical trials Abbott refers to were conducted on children at risk for malnutrition, which is not the case in typical American homes.

As for our family, we are seeing a dietitian who is in line with our whole foods philosophy. She is helping us work with our daughter to find the foods that can help her grow while teaching her to eat real food. Examples include extra amounts of avocado (which she loves), varied nut butters (learning to like), and tahini (work in progress).

Most children who eat Juice Plus+ and drink Juice Plus+ Complete not only get great whole food based nutrition, but experience a dramatic change in their cravings, and start to love and eat more whole foods as a result. More… 

You Wanted to Know: A Healthy Diet After 60

Art abstract market background fruits on a wooden background

Dr. Oz says:

It’s no secret that as we age, things change. While we alter our lives for many reasons, not all habits need to be modified. That is exactly the case when it comes to our diet, as one of my Twitter followers asked:

Should I be on a different diet once I turn 60?

The short answer is no. The same healthy eating principles that were important before you turned 60 are now arguably even more important. That’s because our health conditions tend to multiply as we age and eating well with regular exercise is the best way to stop this from happening. It doesn’t always take you back to your 20s, but sometimes it can stave off diabetes or high blood pressure for a few more years. So what are these eating rules? Here are a few to stick to.

  • Eat a balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies have consistently been associated with decreased death from a variety of diseases, not to mention you’ll feel a lot better on a diet high in both.
  • Get your fiber. Constipation and digestive troubles plague many older adults. Fruits, veggies and whole grains are a great way to get enough fiber in your diet.
  • Get enough calcium and iron. Anemia and osteoporosis are common in older adults. Meats, beans, eggs and green veggies are all high in iron. Dairy, green leafy vegetables, bony fish and soy are good sources of calcium.
  • Lower your salt. There’s been a lot of news about how much is too much, but most will agree that high amount are bad for you and salt is hidden in pretty much everything we eat. The CDC recommends you aim for less than 1,500mg.
  • Vitamin D. This vitamin is a key player in making sure you get enough calcium in your diet to keep your bones healthy. Additional research has shown that those who are severely deficient are also at risk for dementia. Eggs, oily fish and fortified soy and dairy are all good sources.
  • Get enough to drink. Dehydration can lead to dizzy spells that might lead to deadly falls in older adults. Aim to get 1.2L per day in non-alcoholic beverages, preferably water.

Drinking Sugary Soft Drinks Ages People Faster

Sugary soft drinks are taking a toll on our collective health. A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health has demonstrated the ill effects of daily consumption: Healthy adults who drank an 8-ounce sugary soft drink every day, aged by 2 years more compared to healthy adults who did not. Healthy adults who drank a 20-ounce sugary soft drink aged by 4.5 years more!

How did the scientists reach this conclusion?

By examining the Telomere length of over 5000 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted around the turn of this century.


OK, here’s the science. The cells in our body all have a nucleus with chromosomes that are replicated as the cell divides. The chromosomes, which contain genetic data, have protective end-caps called telomeres. Without the telomeres, individual chromosomes could get tangled up with each other.

With each division of the chromosomes (and the cell), the telomeres shorten a bit. When the telomeres are too short, the cell can’t divide anymore and dies.

Scientists have shown a correlation between telomere length and aging. The good (and bad) news is that telomeres are affected by external factors as well. We can lengthen them to some extent by reducing stress, sleeping more, and eating healthy food. And, as the recent study has shown, we can also accelerate the shortening of telomeres – by drinking too much sugary soda.

Interestingly, artificially sweetened sodas did not have a shortening effect on the telomeres. But there are plenty of other reasons to avoid them as well.

Read the full article here.

The Nutritional Benefits of Organic Fruits and Vegetables

Post by Dr. Jessica Shade, the Director of Science Programs for The Organic Center, a non-profit research and education organization focused on evidence-based science about the environmental and health benefits of organic food and farming.

Do you think eating organic is better for you? Recent studies are backing up what many thought: organic foods do indeed have a healthier nutritional profile than their conventional counterparts. And they’re also lower in pesticide residues.

This series shares some of the science behind the nutritional benefits of organic foods. First up: fruits and vegetables. Part two covers organic dairy and part three goes into pesticide residues.

Did you know?

  • Eating organic fruits and vegetables could increase your antioxidant intake by 20-40%.
  • Organic strawberries have more nutrients and antioxidants than their conventional counterparts.
  • Organic tomatoes are 50% higher in vitamin C content than conventional tomatoes.

Antioxidants pack a bigger punch in organic fruit and vegetables.

new study out of the United Kingdom found that organic crops have significantly higher antioxidant levels when compared to conventional crops. The international research team looked at antioxidant activity and found a 17% mean percentage difference between organic and conventional crops.

When assessing individual antioxidants in organic and conventional crops, the organic ones had 19% higher levels of phenolic acids, 69% higher levels of flavanones, 28% higher levels of stilbenes, 26% higher levels of flavones, 50% higher levels of flavonols, and 51% higher levels of anthocyanins.

That’s a lot of numbers but it all adds up to good news for organic food eaters. Do you eat those recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables every day? If so, eating organic foods rather than conventional is like getting two extra servings worth of antioxidants.

Several other studies examined individual crops and found similar antioxidant benefits of organic. A study published last year found that organic tomatoes on average were 50% higher in vitamin C content over conventional tomatoes, and had 139% higher total phenolic content.

A number of studies found that organic strawberries have more nutrients and antioxidants than their conventional counterparts. For example, one study showed that organic strawberries contain more vitamin C than conventional strawberries. Another study showedorganic strawberries are also higher in fiber and total phenols, which are known for their antioxidant activity and support of cardiovascular health.

So, now you know: make sure you eat all your fruits and veggies AND make sure they are organic for the biggest nutritional bang for your buck.*

* And eat Juice Plus+ which is ‘better than organic”!

Just Say No: When It Makes Sense Not to Take Your Medicine

Excellent article from Time Magazine.

It sounds like something a quack would support, but it’s true. There’s growing evidence that lifestyle changes such as eating a healthier diet and exercising more may be enough to prevent and even treat conditions ranging from diabetes to cancer.

VegetablesThe latest comes from a review of studies, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, that analyzed the effects of a combination of behaviors that reduced the rate of Type 2 diabetes among those at high risk of developing the disease. Making over their diets and boosting their amount of daily exercise, as well as quitting smoking and managing their stress were enough to help the participants, all of whom had high blood-sugar levels that precede diabetes, lower their glucose and avoid getting diagnosed with the disease.

And it’s not the first study to hint at the power of the pharmaceutical-free approach. A study published this month in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention reported that brisk walking cut postmenopausal women’s breast-cancer risk by 14% compared with those who didn’t walk. Women who exercised more vigorously enjoyed a 25% drop in risk of developing the disease. Another report in the journal Lancet Oncology found that a plant-based diet, stress management and other lifestyle changes contributed to longer-lived cells among men with prostate cancer. Those results echoed previous work that documented that the same lifestyle-based changes contributed to fewer recurrent tumors among men who had been treated for prostate cancer.

Taken together, the data has more doctors putting away their prescription pads when they see certain patients. The pill-free route isn’t for everyone, however, so it’s important for physicians and patients to understand when it’s appropriate and when it isn’t.

It makes sense, for example, that prescription medications shouldn’t be a first-line treatment for people who are on the verge of developing a condition but can still prevent it — like the participants in the latest diabetes study. Preventing disease is always preferable to treating it, since once symptoms develop, they can cause more complications and additional health issues that require even more drug-based therapies to control. And diabetes is a good example of a disease that can be avoided, with weight management, proper diet and exercise, as the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program, a multicenter trial involving 3,234 people with prediabetes, proved in 2002. In that study, those who changed their diet and exercise habits lost more weight and had a lower rate of developing diabetes than those who took the glucose-controlling medication metformin.

With America’s growing obesity epidemic showing no signs of turning around, understanding how to prevent weight-related chronic disease, such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, is even more critical, especially among children, says Dr. David Katz. Katz is the director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and author of the new book Disease Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well. “If you think about the issues that prevail today, they are related to eating too much of all the wrong foods, getting far too little physical activity, toxins we’ve invented like tobacco, inadequate sleep and strained social bonds,” he says.

Treating these ailments with prescription medications can address the symptoms but does nothing to change the forces that drive these diseases. And in some cases, the drugs may cause even more problems, in the form of side effects.

So why aren’t the simpler strategies — exercise and diet changes — as entrenched as the prescription medications? Katz blames muddled messaging. “Unfortunately there has been a lot of bad advice. It has come from people trying to sell products, as well as sound bites and media spin.”

And even good advice, from doctors and public-health officials with good intentions, is often oversimplified to the point where it’s no longer helpful. “Take the ‘just cut fat’ recommendation. What the scientists actually meant was eat more naturally low-fat foods like vegetables. And, frankly, if we had done that, the advice would have been fine. But we didn’t do that, instead we ate low-fat cookies got fatter and sicker,” says Katz. “Essentially what we have done with each attempt to dumb this down is create an opportunity to spin out a whole new set of products that exploit the message.”

And until recently, there hasn’t been much attention paid to what may be driving unhealthy eating — like stress. In the study of men who lowered their risk of recurrent prostate tumors, stress management was part of the lifestyle-based regimen that helped them to keep cancer at bay. Finding a way to address and relieve stress can be an important part of preventing many chronic diseases, says Dr. Dean Ornish, director of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who led that study.

According to Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports-medicine physician at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery and author of the upcoming book The Exercise Cure, exercise could be one effective way of coping with stress. And it doesn’t hurt that physical activity also controls symptoms related to heart disease and other metabolic and psychological conditions.

“In my office, I see people from the medical community who are athletic. I see running psychiatrists, running neurologists, running oncologists, cardiologists,” says Metzl. “So I started asking the doctors, What role does exercise play in your treatment of headaches, your treatment of asthma, your treatment of cancer? I found that everyone uses exercise in the care of their patients for both prevention and treatment.”

Granted, Metzl’s patient population may be biased since the doctors he sees already believe in the benefits of physical activity, but he believes more physicians are starting to prescribe exercise as the research to support its benefits continues to grow. “There are studies on exercise and cancer prevention, fatigue, and new neuron formation in the hippocampus,” he says. “There is a nugget for every part of the body from erectile dysfunction, to cancer, to dementia. People are comfortable with the benefits of exercise for obesity or heart disease, but if you look at dementia or anxiety and the data on the role of exercise as prevention and even treatment, it’s amazing how much there is. I think we are seeing a movement toward connecting the dots.”

Doing so will require more than a few enlightened doctors and some scientific data, however. The U.S. health care system is designed to react to disease and treat it once symptoms set in — the reimbursement structure is founded on doctors diagnosing problems and treating them, for example, most often with medications. “The focus of our system is embedded in disease treatment. People make a lot of money off the way it was built, so we give lip service to prevention. But exercise is free.”

At Lincoln Medical Center and Harlem Hospital in New York City, doctors are starting to focus more on prevention by making diet changes a priority for patients — before they find themselves diagnosed with a disease like diabetes or heart trouble. The hospitals have launched the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription, a four-month pilot program, which allows patients with prescriptions — written by their doctors — to get coupons for fresh produce at farmers’ markets and the city’s green carts.

It’s not that prescription medicines aren’t doing their job, or that they don’t have a place in modern medicine. They do, and they are effective in containing disease once they emerge. But if it’s possible to avoid disease altogether, and if patients can do it without expensive medications that can cause complications, why wouldn’t they? Wouldn’t you?

Remember: this is Time Magazine, not me! I would never advise anyone to stop taking their medications. However, we have told many, many people to “take Juice Plus+ for your health, not for your sickness” and we have seen many, many people reduce or eliminate their meds as a result. Just sayin’!

Go to the Gym to Improve Your Memory

Here’s another reason why it’s a good idea to hit the gym: it can improve memory. A new Georgia Institute of Technology study shows that an intense workout of as little as 20 minutes can enhance episodic memory, also known as long-term memory for previous events, by about 10 percent in healthy young adults.

lisaweightsGeorgia Tech research isn’t the first to find that exercise can improve memory. But the study, which was just published in the journal Acta Psychologica, took a few new approaches. While many existing studies have demonstrated that months of aerobic exercises such as running can improve memory, the current study had participants lift weights just once two days before testing them. The Georgia Tech researchers also had participants study events just before the exercise rather than after workout. They did this because of extensive animal research suggesting that the period after learning (or consolidation) is when the arousal or stress caused by exercise is most likely to benefit memory.

The study began with everyone looking at a series of 90 photos on a computer screen. The images were evenly split between positive (i.e. kids on a waterslide), negative (mutilated bodies) and neutral (clocks) pictures. Participants weren’t asked to try and remember the photos. Everyone then sat at a leg extension resistance exercise machine. Half of them extended and contracted each leg at their personal maximum effort 50 times. The control group simply sat in the chair and allowed the machine and the experimenter to move their legs. Throughout the process, each participant’s blood pressure and heart rate were monitored. Every person also contributed saliva samples so the team could detect levels of neurotransmitter markers linked to stress.

The participants returned to the lab 48 hours later and saw a series of 180 pictures – the 90 originals were mixed in with 90 new photos. The control group recalled about 50 percent of the photos from the first session. Those who exercised remembered about 60 percent.

“Our study indicates that people don’t have to dedicate large amounts of time to give their brain a boost,” said Lisa Weinberg, the Georgia Tech graduate student who led the project.

Although the study used weight exercises, Weinberg notes that resistance activities such as squats or knee bends would likely produce the same results. In other words, exercises that don’t require the person to be in good enough to shape to bike, run or participate in prolonged aerobic exercises.

While all participants remembered the positive and negative images better than the neutral images, this pattern was greatest in the exercise participants, who showed the highest physiological responses. The team expected that result, as existing research on memory indicates that people are more likely to remember emotional experiences especially after acute (short-term) stress.

liftingweights_smallBut why does it work? Existing, non-Georgia Tech human research has linked memory enhancements to acute stress responses, usually from psychological stressors such as public speaking. Other studies have also tied specific hormonal and norepinephrine releases in rodent brains to better memory. Interestingly, the current study found that exercise participants had increased saliva measures of alpha amylase, a marker of central norepinephrine.

“Even without doing expensive MRI scans, our results give us an idea of what areas of the brain might be supporting these exercise-induced memory benefits,” said Audrey Duarte, an associate professor in the School of Psychology. ” The findings are encouraging because they are consistent with rodent literature that pinpoints exactly the parts of the brain that play a role in stress-induced memory benefits caused by exercise.”

The collaborative team of psychology and applied physiology faculty and students plans to expand the study in the future, now that the researchers know resistance exercise can enhance episodic memory in healthy young adults.

“We can now try to determine its applicability to other types of memories and the optimal type and amount of resistance exercise in various populations,” said Minoru Shinohara, an associate professor in the School of Applied Physiology. “This includes older adults and individuals with memory impairment.”

Read the complete article here. The watch my webinar on why great nutrition is vital the more you exercise.