Do you take a multivitamin everyday?Â Choose beverages with added vitamins?Â If you answered yes, you may want to rethink your routine.Â Recent studies have shown that too much of the vitamin, folic acid, may be linked to an increased risk of breast, prostate andcolon cancer.
Folic acid is the synthetic form of the B vitamin folate, which is necessary for producing healthy red blood cells.Â So, too little folate can lead to anemia.Â If you're a woman in your child bearing years, folate is essential for reducing the birth defect spina bifida.Â For this reason, foods made from refined grains such as breads, pastas and cereals have added folic acid.
If you start your day with a bowl of cereal, take a multivitamin and then grab a vitamin enhanced water after your work-out, you may be getting way more than the 400 micrograms (mcg) needed daily for adults. Â In fact, outside testing of some popular vitamin waters have shown they contain much greater levels of folic acid than advertised.Â The truth is, one type was shown to have 1500% more folic acid than shown on the label.
Now the problem only seems to come from an excess of the synthetic form, folic acid. You can eat as much as you want of naturally occurring folate, which is in foods like beans, oranges, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, peas, romaine lettuce and peanuts.
So they next time you're thinking about a vitamin enhanced beverage, or a vitamin pill with more than 100% of your daily needs, you might want to think twice.Â You could be getting too much of a good thing.
A few months ago, the National Dairy Council launched a campaign called Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk.Â This was in response to a number ofÂ schools removing the popular, flavored milk from their menus.Â If you have kids in school, you might be familiar with this issue which continues to beÂ debated by parents, educators and health professionals.
The reason for removing the questionable milk? The small amount of added sugar. Chocolate, like plain milk, contains nine essential nutrients including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin and niacin. Research shows that kids who drink flavored milk actually meet more of their nutrient needs, do not take in more sugar, and are not more overweight than non-milk drinkers.Â The belief is, if you remove the sweeter chocolate milk the kids will go with plain instead.Â But this is not the case.Â The studies show that removing chocolate milk resulted in up to a 63% decrease in milk consumption.
Now, I'm not saying that all kids must drink milk. I know some non-milk drinkers who eat other sources ofÂ milk's nutrients.Â However, my personal experience as a mom, and dietitian, has shown that most of the time, this isn't the case.Â I'm always surprised how few kids and teens are consistently drinking milk.Â Since many of these kids are also not eating a lot ofÂ vegetables, soy or other low-fat dairy, their diets are deficient in essential nutrients.Â At a time of rapid growth and bone formation, this is not a time to be missing out on nutrition.
I know, I recently wrote about limiting foods with added sugar.Â The key message here is making educated choices about the sweetened foods in your diet.Â Isn't it better for kids to have a little added sugar with a very nutritious food, than not choose this food at all?Â When it comes to the option of chocolate milk in schools, my hand is raised.Â Is yours?
At the gym, I couldn't help but peek at the magazine with Jillian Michaels on the cover. For anyone who doesn't watch reality TV, she's the tough-as-nails fitness trainer from The Biggest Loser. Now that she's a star, she's offering nutrition advice. My only fear is that people are listening.
In the article, the reporter describes how Jillian gives herÂ a cup of coffee with coconut milk. Jillian explains that the coconut milk is "super good for you, and has more vitamin D than regular milk". Huh???
The reality is, coconut milk is very high in saturated fat, which is known to increase the risk of heart disease. And it contains no vitaminD. In fact, a cup of coconut milk has 552 calories and a whopping 57 grams of saturated fat. That's more saturated fat than a stick of butter! While virgin coconut oil has become the in-thing in many health food circles, there is very little scientific research to support most of the health claims.
On the other hand, a cup of whole milk is only 150 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat. And yes, it is an excellent source of vitamin D.Â Use a reduced fat version and you'll save even more calories.Â If you're trying to lose weight and protect your heart, which would you rather put in your coffee?
Jillian Michaels' expertise is in fitness training. And of course, she's a celebrity. So does that make her an expert in nutrition? Does she understandÂ biochemistry and how to examine scientific research? Be careful who you listen to for nutrition advice. Just something to think about over your next cup of coffee. And be sure to use the milk.
With the eating and drinking of the holidays behind us, many people are looking for a fresh start.Â In Hollywood, cleanses and detox diets are all the rage. When we look at these beautiful stars, it's easy to believe they are doing something right.Â Fasting, juicing, vinegar, pills and powders all have their following.Â While this might soundÂ like a good idea, does it really work?
Our bodies have their own built-in detox systems - the kidneys, liver, lungs, colon and lymphatic system. These systems are pretty efficient at getting rid of toxins introduced from our environments, as well as those created through normal metabolism. While it sounds magical, there is no scientific evidence to show that special diets, vitamins or herbs, help us eliminate more unwanted toxins.
Not only don't they work, some detoxing regimens could actually be dangerous. While a one day fast offers no benefit, and is probably harmless, longer fasts could be risky for some. As for the powders and pills, these are considered supplements and are not regulated.Â In the past, some supplements have been found to contain prescription drugs, as well as contaminants, like lead.Â If this is the case, you could actually be eating toxins as part of your detox.
What's the best way to detox? Start the year with a healthy diet.Â Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain antioxidants, which neutralize the free radicals, or "toxins", created by normal metabolism. These same foods contain fiber which most of us need more of.Â And eating enough fiber will help move things through your digestive tract, naturally "cleansing" your colon.Â Avoid processed foods when possible, include some lean protein and low-fat soy milk or dairy, and you'll have a balanced diet.Â Now that's a "detox" plan for a healthy 2010!
As 2009 comes to a close, many of us will celebrate with our favorite alcoholic beverage.Â So, as we raise our glass and welcome 2010, join me in looking back at what we've learned so far about alcohol and health.
Yes, it's true, sensible drinking may have some health benefits.Â In moderation, alcohol may protect the brain against dementia and Alzheimer's disease.Â When it comes to our hearts, alcohol may offer protection by raising HDL or "good cholesterol" , decreasing inflammation, and preventing clots that can cause heart attacks.Â In some cases, moderate drinking has been shown to lower blood pressure which also protects the heart.Â Just recently, research has shown that reasonable alcohol intake could even protect your bones by increasing their density and reducing fractures.
The key word here is moderation.Â In excess, alcohol can damage the brain, liver, bones, stomach and pancreas.Â So what's moderate drinking?Â For women this includes 1 drink per day, and 2Â for men.Â One drink is considered 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces ofÂ 80-proof liquor.
Now the bad news.Â When it comes to breast cancer, even one drink a day can increase your risk.Â Some researchers have shown that alcohol increases estrogen.Â While this same boost could protect your heart, it might also contribute to breast cancer.
So how do you choose between your heart, brain, bones or breasts?Â Look at your lifestyle and family history.Â Do you eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains?Â Exercise and maintain a healthy weight?Â If you have a family history of heart disease or Alzheimer's, then maybe that daily cocktail is just fine.Â If your family has a history of breast cancer,Â then you may want to rethink that glass of wine.Â We all make decisionsÂ every day that carry both risks and benefits.Â How often do you drive your car?Â So, if you choose to raise your glass this New Year's Eve, do so in moderation,Â and don't forget to toast to your health.
Happy New Year!
Kim Kulp, RD
* Journal of the National Cancer Institute; March, 2009
*American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; April, 2009
*Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research; February, 2009
When people choose to improve their diets, they often tell me they're giving up sugar.Â While that can be a good idea, it's certainly not easy.
Sugar occurs naturally in a variety of healthy, whole foods such as milk, yogurt and fruit.Â However, it's the addedsugar that we all need to watch.Â This is trickier since it's often hiding in places you'd least expect, like spaghetti sauce, salad dressing and soup.Â Unfortunately, the food labels aren't much help, since the listed grams of sugar don't differentiate between what's naturally occurring or what's added.
The American Heart Association has recommended that women not exceed 100 calories of added sugar, and men 150 calories each day.Â This translates to no more than 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men.Â For reference, a 12 oz can of soda has about 10 teaspoons of added sugar.Â So how do you know where that added sugar is hiding?Â Read the ingredient list.
Added sugar has many names.Â Other than sugars, honey or molasses, look for dextrose, fructose, sucrose, glucose, fruit juice concentrate or malt, cane and corn syrups.Â Once you start reading ingredient lists, you'll be surprised at how many products actually contain added sugar.
So what's the problem with too much added sugar?Â Other than providing energy (calories), sugar has no nutritional value. When you eat too much sugar, there's no room for the nutritious foods you need.Â And, if you eat too many calories, you'll gain weight.Â For some people, too much sugar can cause an increase in triglycerides, which can lead to heart disease.Â Of course, if you want to help your dentist buy a new car, then consuming a lot of sugar could definitely help.
To cut back on added sugar, avoid processed foods when you can.Â If you can't, read the labels and try to make choices with the least amount of "sugar aliases" as possible.Â Save your added sugar for those foods you enjoy most, and make those 6-9 teaspoons a day really count!
Here comes the joy of holiday treats, and with it the fear of gaining weight. You might have heard the average person gains five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years. Now hereâs the good news. Research shows the average gain is only a little less than a pound. Unfortunately, most holiday weight gain sticks around, adding up year after year.
Better news. With some simple planning, you can enjoy those wonderful holiday parties, and still wear your favorite jeans come January 1st.
1.Â Â When youâre getting ready for a party, think P.O.T.S.
2.Â Â Prepare - donât go to a party hungry. Start with a healthy breakfast, and donât skip meals. If youâre feeling ravenous, youâll have no control.
3.Â Â Observe - take time to look over the holiday table. Pick your three favorites and take a small portion, about the size of your palm.Â Fill the rest of your plate with veggies and lighter fare. Then step away from the buffet table.
4.Â Â Taste and Savor - slow down, and pay attention to the textures, and flavors of each bite. Chew thoroughly. It takes about 20 minutes for our bodies to signal weâre full, and youâll be surprised at how much more satisfying and filling your choices will be.
5.Â Â When given food as gifts, spread the wealth â bring the gifts to a party, the office, or give them away. This is a time when re-gifting can be a good thing.
6.Â Â Have fun â remember, the best part of the season is spending time with others. Enjoy the conversation, and focus on interests and activities other than food.
7.Â Â Picture yourself a success!
I just received this article via my vet clinic...Bishop RanchÂ VeterinaryÂ Center in San Ramon...
I hope by passing this info along, it will save your dogs life!
by Frank Utchen, DVM
Can raisins and grapes really poison dogs? The answer is an emphatic yes, and everyone who owns a dog needs to know it. In this article, Iâll describe the grape-raisin syndrome in dogs and review the basic steps in treating the most life-threatening aspect of this type of poisoning: kidney failure.
If your dog ingests grapes or raisins, it is best to contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435), where they have specially trained staff who provide assistance to pet owners and specific diagnostic and treatment recommendations to veterinarians. Because affected dogs could die, dog owners should stop feeding their dogs grapes, raisins, and any food containing grape extracts.
If ingestion should occur, it is recommended that you seek veterinary assistance immediately to initiate aggressive medical management. For more information on the toxicity of grapes or raisins, see the ASPCA APCC Web site (www.apcc.aspca.org ).
Recently, veterinarians have recognized this new poisoning in dogs: severe acute kidney failure following ingestion of grapes or raisins.
What causes it?
The specific poisons involved in this toxicosis have eluded identification. Fungal, pesticide, and heavy-metal causes have been ruled out at this time. Investigation continues. It appears from recent unpublished data that the toxic component is within the flesh of the grape/raisin, not the seed.
How much is dangerous?
The lowest recorded amounts that caused kidney failure in dogs are, for grapes: 0.3 ounces of grapes per pound of body weight, and for raisins 0.05 ounces per pound. In more conventional terms, this would mean a 50 lb dog could be poisoned by eating as little as 15 ounces of grapes, or 2 to 3 ounces of raisins.
However, smaller amounts could also cause problems - we really don't know exactly what the minimum dose is.
However, not every dog or cat is susceptible. Many animals can tolerate large quantities of grapes or raisins without problems, and at this time no one knows what the main risk factors are that make one animal susceptible to being poisoned.
What about Grape seed Extract or grape juice?
This appears to be safe.
Toxicity has been associated with seedless grapes, so the toxin is unlikely to be within the seeds. It is then possible that grape seed extract is safe to useâhowever, this has not been conclusively proven. The reason this is important to know is that grape seed extract is a powerful antioxidant that may be helpful in the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, and some dog owners use this in their older dogs.
There is no information available about grape juice or wine. However, since the toxic agent is not known, current recommendations are to avoid giving grape juice or wine to dogs or cats.
What should I do?
If you see you dog eat grapes or raisins, the smartest thing to do is to make them vomit immediately. A tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide given by mouth will usually accomplish this within 5 or 10 minutes.
However, if there is any chance that some grapes or raisins have not been vomited up, the safest thing to do is take your dog to your veterinarian. The appropriate treatment to minimize the risk of kidney damage is to administer large amount of IV fluids for 36 to 72 hours.
What is the prognosis?
The prognosis in cases where kidney failure develops is guarded, at best. This is medical jargon that means, very roughly: the chances of survival are 50/50.Â Prognosis is good if caught immediately after a dog has eaten the grapes or raisins.
Here are the facts of the story that I was trying to tell about the song, "Angel" as told by Spence D.
"Run DMC was the first rap group to go platinum. They were the first rap group to sell out a successful arena tour. They were the first rap group to bridge the gap between the decidedly white medium of rock n' roll and the decidedly more urban medium of rap. And they undoubtedly revived the career of a flailing Aerosmith back in 1986 when they reworked their seminal classic "Walk This Way" as a blistering rap/rock crossover. Yet amidst all the success lies the inevitable heart of darkness.
While working on his forthcoming solo album,Â Checks, Thugs And Rock N' Roll, DMC learned that he had been adopted as a child. Perhaps not a huge revelation, but still nonetheless an eye-opening discovering, especially for a man well into his thirties. The buck doesn't stop there, however. We're all familiar with the de rigueur rock n' roll cliches of drug abuse, sexual escapades and groupie hi-jinx, band in-fightingâ¦tucked in amongst these is the dark specter of suicide.
And hard to believe as it may be, Darryl McDaniels, 1/3 of what many consider to be the greatest rap group ever to grip a set of microphones, command a pair of turntables, and grace the stage, once considered killing himself. Surprisingly enough, it was the intervention of a Canadian chanteuse that saved his life. This is his storyâ¦as told to Spence D. Of further note is the fact that DMC's knowledge of his adoption and the classic Harry Chapin song, "Cat In The Cradle" play an important role in the events that unfolded over the course of the past decade."I've been on this earth for 35 years and 10 years ago I'm sittin' there and I'm like 'Yo, am I here just to be DMC?'
First to go Gold, first to go Platinum, did all of this. Grew up in Hollis, Queens, I went to the best Catholic schools all my life, Catholic elementary, Catholic high school, I went to St. Johns University. Okay, it was Christmas for me everyday growing up as a kid. I was spoiled. Best life a kid could have. Now I become DMC with Joey, who was just Joey, but now we're Run DMC and we go on to spearhead the whole hip-hop movement and we go on to fortune and fame. So I'm sittin' over in Europe 10 years ago and sayin' 'Somethin' ain't right here. Somethin' is missin'.' But I couldn't put my finger on it. So I said to myself--not that I wasn't happy with the way things were goin' and I wasn't grateful for all of my accomplishments, but I said 'Okay, I'm gonna commit suicide.' Why? Probably because I was unhappy with 'if this is all I'm gonna get out of this life, I can't stay here. I'm ready to move on to my next plane of existence. There's gotta be more to this. People were like 'D, you're crazy! You're f-----' DMC. You've got a wife, kids, life is beautiful.' I said, 'All of that is lovely, but there's something else that is missing.'"This was in '97 and I said 'When I get home from Europeâ¦' I was in Europe and Run DMC, without havin' a hit record or video, we're over in Europe getting' a hundred grand a night. Life can't be better than that s---. I don't give a f--- if somebody knows nuthin' about my music, we're the f-----' Rolling Stones, we're the f-----' Beatles of hip-hop. A lotta rappers, after they sell their 21 million two years from now you ain't gonna care about these muthaf-----. It don't get no better than that. Me, Run, and Jay, we were able to tour until we were 85. People would still comes see us doin' "It's Like That" [as old men]. But I said 'When I get home, I'm gonna commit suicide.' So I get home and I get in the car that picks me up [at the airport], I turned the radio on. Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" was on the radio.Â That recordsaved my life. Wife. Kids. Fortune. Fame. I didn't give a f--- about none of that.
I turned the radio on--and I'm tryin' to express to you how it's so funny. I turned it on and I heard Sarah McLachlan's record and something that day said 'Life is good. It's good to be alive.' "So I go and I buy that record andÂ everything Sarah McLachlanÂ ever made. I listen Sarah McLachlan for one whole year. At the end of the year the Grammy's come around and my manager says 'D, let's go to the Grammy party. We're gonna go to Clive Davis' party.' I didn't want to go. I didn't care about s---. All I cared about was Sarah McLachlan records. So we go to the Grammy party, I get there and who do I see sittin' across the room--'cuz she was on Arista Records under Clive Davis--it's Sarah McLachlan. She was 'that lady.' I go 'Oh my god, it's that lady!' So I'm gettin' all nervous, but then I go 'No, I gotta go over there and tell Sarah McLachlan what her record did for me.'
So I pushed through the red carpet and the paparazzi, I get over to Sarah McLachlan, she looks up and she sees DMC standin' there in his full Run DMC regalia, hat, dressed in black, Adidas on. She says 'Run DMC, I love you guys. I love what you guys represent. Your music is so cool. I'm a big fan.' I'm like 'Wow!' Then I go, 'Ms. McLachlan, thank you for tellin' me that but I was suicidal, I didn't know what life was about, I had a lot to live for, but I was upset and was gonna kill myself. I don't know if I would've really done it, but just having suicidal thoughts. Then I heard your record "Angel." Now the record's name is "Angel," you sound like an angel, people say you're an angel, but you're not an angel to me, you're a god.' And I'm goin' on and on and on and she's lookin' at me like 'Oh-kaaaaay. So I finish and she looks at me and she says this to me: 'Thank you for telling me that Darryl, 'cause that's what music is supposed to do.' She shakes my hand and she walks away."