Special Reports

Getting to the Meat of the Matter

A collection of controversial research reviews on consumption of red meat and processed meat published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine seemingly overturns years of public health guidelines and recommendations from a range of experts and organizations. It was met with resounding criticism from many nutrition experts. A close look at the findings can help you make informed choices for your own health.

Processed Foods

Practically all foods undergo some form of processing before they are ready to eat-from simple processes like cutting and cooking to more complex processes like homogenizing, pasteurizing, fermenting, fortifying, refining, hydrolyzing, and extruding.

The Facts About Plant Oils

There is a lot of confusing, and often conflicting, information in the media about which oil is the best for health. The information is confusing partly because plant oils are fats, and fats are complicated. Dietary fats are actually composed of a mixture of molecules called fatty acids.

Why Do We Overeat?

Humans eat for many reasons, and hunger is just one of them. Overeating contributes to excess weight gain, and subsequently cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, and other problems. Scientists have been working for decades to try to explain why we overeat, says Emmanuel Pothos, PhD, an associate professor at Tufts Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. Perhaps identifying the biological and psychological factors that contribute to overeating will lead to the discovery of an off switch that will make it a thing of the past. More likely, a combination of changes, at the personal, healthcare, and community levels, will be required to curb overeating.

Sugar Substitutes: Helpful or Harmful?

Since the 1980s there has been an explosion of sugar substitutes in the marketplace. These artificial or highly refined natural compounds are used frequently in beverages and processed foods to lower total calories (so-called diet foods and beverages) or decrease added sugar (as in sugar-free or low-sugar products). The number of products available for use at the table or in cooking and baking at home has also increased. While these compounds are touted as calorie-cutting weight loss aids and an option to people with diabetes looking for sweet choices while sticking to their diet, questions about efficacy and safety have dogged them from the start.

Sustainable Eating: The Key to a Healthy Future

Since you are reading this newsletter, you clearly care about your health, and its likely you care about the health of the planet as well. It should come as welcome news that you can help the earth and the rest of its inhabitants while helping yourself-by making health-promoting dietary shifts that support sustainability. …

Health Benefits of Whole Grains

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend replacing refined grains with whole grains so that at least half of all grains consumed are whole grains. This recommendation is echoed in other guidelines and is backed up by many observational studies in which diets high in whole grains are associated with an array of health benefits compared to diets high in refined grains.

Demystifying Type 2 Diabetes

The prevalence of diabetes is rapidly rising in every country around the world. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population-more than 30 million Americans-has diabetes. Another 84 million adults have prediabetes. And, at least a quarter of people with diabetes and the vast majority with prediabetes dont even know they have it. If things dont change, about two in five Americans will develop diabetes in their lifetime.

Beating Hypertension-the Silent Killer

One in three American adults has hypertension (high blood pressure). And, because hypertension causes few obvious symptoms, many people with high blood pressure dont even know it.

Personalized Nutrition

There is evidence that people respond differently to foods or nutrients depending on genetics and other factors, such as the make-up of their gut microbiome. While dietary guidance, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is designed as a public health tool to impact the health of the population as a whole, the frontier of nutrition science brings us the concept that dietary advice can be adjusted to take individual biological differences into account.