Sunday, September 25, 2011

Labels Mean Something, What

                                                                Keep on reading
Smart shoppers, and concerned health seekers should know the following most commonly used terms on food packages:
Cholesterol-free. Currently there are no established standards for cholesterol labeling. This term becomes misleading in a food item that itself contains no cholesterol but is laden with saturated fat—like palm or coconut oil—which causes a rise in blood cholesterol.
Dietetic. This product is intended to meet special dietary purposes. One or more specific ingredients, such as sugar or salt, has been replaced or substituted. The term dietetic does not necessarily indicate low in calories.
Enriched. Nutrients lost in the refining process have been put back into the product.
Fiber. No regulations govern the way fiber must be listed. It may appear as dietary or crude fiber and as soluble or insoluble fiber.
Fortified. Additional nutrients have been added to the product. For instance, milk containing vitamins A and D is fortified.
Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Hydrogen has been added to an unsaturated fat to make it saturated or solid at room temperature. Partially hydrogenated fat is saturated, but less so.
Light or lite. There is no standard definition for this term. The product may be light in color, taste, texture, calories, weight or alcoholic content. It’s up to the buyer to figure out which of these applies.
Low-calorie. Under FDA requirements, this food can contain no more than 40 calories in a serving and no more than 0.4 calories per gram.
Natural. By law, the word natural can appear only on meat or poultry that contains no artificial ingredients. When applied to other types of food, this term has little meaning, although it appears on many products. Natural may be confused with pure, a term that means a product is made from only one ingredient—for instance, juice or honey.
Organic. The implication of organic is that no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides were used to grow, process, or package the food product. There is no national standard or definition of organic, and therefore no guarantee that an organic label is true to its claims.
Reduced-calorie. The product must be at least one-third lower in calories when compared with a similar product.
Sodium-free. Fewer than 3 milligrams of sodium are contained in a serving. Very low sodium means there’s no more than 35 milligrams per serving. Reduced sodium indicated that the level of sodium has been reduced by at least 75 percent.
Sugar-free or sugarless. This product contains no sucrose, or table sugar. However, another form of sweetener may be used, such as fructose or sorbitol—which contain about as many calories by volume or weight as sucrose. Aspartame and saccharin are sometimes used to sweeten sugar-free products.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nutrition 101

If you buy a food supplement that contains an enzyme (such as super-oxide-dismutase, SOD) designed to work in your blood or in your cells, you are wasting money. Your digestive enzymes will split up this enzyme and reduce it to amino acids. The body will use these amino acids according to its own priorities, not necessarily those that you may have had in mind. Remember; dietary protein is digested by enzymes in your intestine to amino acids, amino acids are reconstructed by cellular enzymes to body protein.

Amino acids, if not used for protein synthesis or other purposes, lose their nitrogen (amino group) and are metabolized for energy. The body get rid of ammonia, which contains the nitrogen (from amino groups), by converting it to urea in the liver. The blood carries the urea to the kidney, where it is excreted in the urine. Some amino acids are also used for synthesis of hormones or other chemical compounds. Tryptophan can serve as a precursor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Tryptophan can also be converted to a vitamin, niacin. Certain amino acids are also converted to glucose, if the body does not receive sufficient carbohydrates. Starving or fasting people make their glucose this way.

Essential amino acids
We cannot make essential amino acids in sufficient quantities for optimal nutrition in our own body. We therefore need to get them from food. Eight amino acids are essential for adults; nine are essential for children. The remaining amino acids are just as important for protein synthesis, but our body can synthesis them from the carbon skeletons of fats, carbohydrates, other amino acids, and the nitrogen from amino acids already present.

Complete protein is a colloquial term for proteins of high nutritional quality. High quality proteins are dietary proteins that provide all the essential amino acids in the right proportions. Animal proteins usually resemble our own proteins more than plant proteins, and therefore are usually of high quality. Many plant proteins are of lower quality. These differences are not surprising because plants have different needs and properties than animals and, therefore, need different types of protein.

Plant seed proteins, such as grains, rice and corn, are usually low in one or two essential amino acids. Most animal proteins, gelatin is an exception, contain all the essential amino acids in the proper proportions.
Egg protein is one of the highest quality proteins. Other protein sources are therefore compared to egg protein regarding their nutritional value. The relative quality of protein, or its usefulness for the human body is called the “biological value.” A high quality protein would have a high biological value.

Proteins with the required proportions of essential and non-essential amino acids have a high biological value, and can be used for protein synthesis with little waste.We can get good quality protein by combining different plant proteins. This is especially important for vegetarians. For example, one plant protein may be low in one amino acid, while another plant protein may be high in that amino acid. If these two plant proteins are combined and eaten together, they complement each other, delivering all essential amino acids in sufficient amounts.
Some examples:
Rice is low in lysine , an essential amino acid. Beans are low in methionine, another essential amino acid. Since both contain reasonably balanced proportions of the other essential amino acids, rice and beans complement each other to make better quality protein. Rice and beans are staple foods of many countries and of vegetarians.
Good nutrition is essential for a heathy life.  For more helpful, healthy hints go to:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cholesterol Is A Killer-Bad or Good

Animal foods contain cholesterol as a naturally occurring substance; you will find some cholesterol in everything from beef, pork, lamb, veal, chicken, and fish to dairy products and eggs. A prudent diet contains no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day.
Cholesterol is a lipit, or insoluble fatty substance, that your body manufactures to build the outer membrane of each of your cells as well as certain hormones. Because it doesn't mix water, cholesterol cannot travel alone. To gain passage through the bloodstream, cholesterol combines into little packages with high-density lipoproteins, (HDL, or so-called good cholesterol), low-density lipoproteins (LDL, or bad cholesterol), or very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL).
Research has provided much evidence about the association between diet, cholesterol, and heart disease. A very high level of blood cholesterol increases the risk of coronary artery disease in the group most studied--men between the ages of 25 and 60. The higher the cholesterol, the greater the risk. A very low level of cholesterol doesn't carry any risk by itself.
The amount and the kind of cholesterol in your blood are a reflection of the fats you eat. But, as always, there are exceptions to the rule. Some people can feast on high-fat food and still have acceptable cholesterol levels, while others trim their fat intake to the bare minimum without achieving any significant decrease in blood cholesterol. Many premenopausal women with elevations in their cholesterol levels still remain relatively safe because their HDL (good cholesterol) levels are at work protecting their arteries.
New ways of checking levels on in the works now. Don't let that stop you from checking you levels now. Where you stand can be realized by having blood work done
While we don't have all the answers, it's best to take a prudent course: be familiar with the cholesterol and saturated-fat content of foods and apply this knowledge to your food choices.
Fats are a group of various highly concentrated substances that don't mix with water.  Dietary fats
are carriers for fat-soluble vitamins. If there were no fat in the diet, it could eventually lead to a vitamin deficiency. Some fats are crucial for maintaining the structure of each cell in your body and producing hormones. While fats are essential to good nutrition, they are beneficial only when you consume certain types in limited amounts.
Several fats fall into a group of oily substances, some of which bear such familiar names as cholesterol, saturated and unsaturated fat, and triglycerides. There are three kinds of dietary fat, all of which affect your health differently:
Saturated Fat: raises your cholesterol level. Butter, lard, and meat drippings contain mostly saturated fats. Most of these saturated fats, which remain solid at room temperature,and comes from animal sources. The only exceptions are such tropical plant oils as coconut oil and palm kernel oil, which are liquid at room temperature.
Monounsaturated fat: gets it name from its molecular structure. It contains two fewer hydrogen atoms than saturated fat and, by virtue of being one step removed from saturated status; monounsaturated fat merits a place on the recommended list. Olive oil and canola oil are excellent sources.
Polyunsaturated fat: has even less hydrogen than monounsaturated fat and helps lower cholesterol in the bloodstream. Polyunsaturated fat remains liquid at room temperature. Good sources include safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, and soybean oil.
There are two types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-6 oils, which is common in safflower, sunflower, corn, and soybean oil and omega-3 oils, is found in cold water sea fish, such as mackerel and salmon.
While we don't have all the answers, it's best to take a prudent course: be familiar with the cholesterol and saturated-fat content of foods and apply this knowledge to your food choices.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Katie Couric Did It-You Need to Do It

There she was Katie Couric On TV, I caught it on,in her hospital 'johnny' looking slightly dazed and out of sorts but otherwise fit as a fiddle. She had just had a colonoscopy. Hats off to Katie Couric for making us all a bit more aware.
A colonoscopy is an examination of the large intestine using a flexible tube which can be inserted the whole length of your large intestine. This examination will reveal danger signs of cancer and other things you would like to know about your health.
Polyps are abnormal growths in the mucosa lining of the large intestine. There are various kinds of polyps; some are benign, others may be the precursors of colorectal cancer. Although the presence of polyps is not always apparent,signs to watch out for include blood in the stool, and rarely, watery diarrhea. If your doctor suspects polyps,diagnosis is usually made via barium enema and colonoscopy examination. Polyps are removed with a specially equipped colonoscope and examined for the presence of abnormal cells.
There are two different preparations depending on your physician’s choice:
(1) You may be put on a clear liquid diet for a day or two before the test and you are instructed to take a laxative the night before the examination.
(2) You may be instructed to drink a gallon of special liquid which is prepared by a pharmacist. Enemas may be given before the test.
An intravenous line will be started in your arm before the test begins. You must tell the nurse if you have any allergies and what medications you take.
The test is done in a special room called the Endoscopy Room or in the X-ray suite.
You will take off all of your clothes, fold them, place them in a laundry bag and put them away securely. You then put on the hospital “Johnny” with the opening in the back. You will be placed on a special table lying on your left side with your knees drawn up towards your chest. The scope, a fiber optic tube, will be inserted though your rectum and passed into your large intestine. Air may be introduced so that your doctor can see the folds of the lining of your intestine. Because your cooperation and responses are important, it is essential that you be awake during the test. (I honestly don’t remember anything during the examination.) You are given medication thru the IV to relax you before the scope is inserted and if necessary during the test to keep you comfortable. As the scope is inserted you may have the urge to move your bowels. (Don’t worry about it, it’s mostly air.) There will also be some crampy feeling if air is introduced. Both of these will pass when the air is expelled and the scope removed. Otherwise this is not a painful procedure.
You should have no discomfort but you might feel tired from the examination. If a biopsy is done or a polyp removed you may have some slight bleeding. This is usually of no consequence. Your physician may want to observe you for a short time after the test before sending you home.
It is important to make arrangements for someone to accompany you to and from the hospital as you will not be able to drive after the test because of medication.