March: National Nutrition Month
Not only does March play host to St. Patrick’s Day and the beginning of spring (as well as a now earlier Daylight Savings Time), but it’s also National Nutrition Month. Consumers can consider this another New Year’s by resolving to be healthier. How to start? Just say no to fad diets. Here, we offer a brief history of the worst plans (including low-carb versions that date back to 1825), courtesy of the American Dietetic Association, www.eatright.org
1820: Vinegar and Water Diet (Made popular by Lord Byron)
1903: Horace Fletcher promotes “Fletcherizing” (Chew food 32 times)
1925: Cigarette Diet (“Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet”)
1928: Inuit Meat-and-Fat Diet (Caribou, raw fish and whale blubber)
1930: Hay Diet (Carbohydrates and proteins not allowed at the same meal)
1950: Cabbage Soup Diet (Flatulence is listed as a main side effect; this diet resurfaced in 1990)
1970: Sleeping Beauty Diet (Individuals heavily sedated for several days)
1981: Beverly Hills Diet (Only fruit for first 10 days but in unlimited amounts)
1994: High Protein, Low Carb Diet (Dr. Atkin’s version)
2000: Raw Foods Diet (Focuses on uncooked, unprocessed organic foods)
2004: Coconut Diet (Fats replaced with coconut oil)
2005: Cheater’s Diet (Cheating on the weekend is required)
2006: Maple Syrup Diet (Features a special syrup-lemon drink)
B12 - B-Intelligent
Can increased levels of Vitamin B12 slow the rate of age-related cognitive decline? A study by the University of Michigan says yes, for at least one ethnic group.
Researchers followed 1,405 older Mexican Americans and found that raised levels of the amino acid homocysteine doubled the risk of dementia such as Alzheimer’s, and increasing levels of Vitamin B12 lowered those levels.
Over 4.5 years of follow-up, 4.4% of study participants developed dementia and 3.9% developed cognitive impairment with no dementia. Elevated homocysteine levels increased the risk of dementia development by 136%.
The conclusion? B12, which can be administered as a supplement, might be more important than other B vitamins when it comes to cognitive health.
The detailed results of this study are published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Fast AND Healthy?
We rarely associate health and nutrition with fast food, but at least one chain is changing that mindset.
According to a recent report called the Quick-Track Awards of Excellence by Sandelman & Associates, a San Clemente, Calif.-based market research firm, Subway leads the pack when it comes to providing healthful “fast” foods. In 2006, 55% of diners rated the sub shop “excellent” when it comes to “availability of healthful/nutritious foods.” These same consumers (43%) rated that availability “extremely important” to their selection of fast-food restaurants in 2006, up from 35% in 2001.
Is it any coincidence that “Eat Fresh” is Subway’s slogan?