Brierley Wright's Blog
MSG—or monosodium glutamate—is a flavor enhancer used in savory foods, especially Asian foods. It contains sodium, but only a third of the amount that you’d get from the same amount of salt.
MSG also includes glutamic acid (aka glutamate), an amino acid that’s found naturally in foods like tomatoes, mushrooms and soybeans and is the source of our fifth taste—umami.
In fact, we eat about 13 grams of natural glutamate a day on average, compared to only around half a gram from MSG.
Some people say they have an MSG allergy—or that MSG gives them headaches, worsens their asthma, causes chest pain or palpitations, or causes mild mood changes or other symptoms, all of which are collectively referred to as Chinese Restaurant Syndrome (because MSG is commonly found in Asian-style meals).
Contrary to popular belief, decades of research...read full post »
Whether it is possible to be healthy and heavy has been an ongoing debate among health professionals. And for a while the research seemed to favor being fat and healthy. Last year, for example, a review study of nearly 100 studies, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at close to 3 million people and found that people who are overweight (defined as a BMI of 25 to 29.9) live longer than normal-weight folks. (Obese people, however, didn’t have a lower risk of premature death.)
But newer research may be turning the tide. A study published in April in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology looked at 14,828 adults with no known heart disease and found those who had a BMI of over 25 had more early plaque buildup in their arteries than normal-weight adults, putting them at risk for heart...read full post »
Following the alkaline diet means eating mostly plants, limiting meat, skipping dairy, sweets, alcohol and caffeine and banishing processed food. Sounds like a healthy move, right?
Not so fast. Most of the touted health benefits of the alkaline diet aren’t research-backed. The theory behind it is that our Western diet (rich with saturated fat, simple sugars and sodium and lacking in potassium, magnesium and fiber) produces acid, driving our body’s pH down slightly, making it more acidic. So the thinking goes that having an acidic pH fuels chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and obesity and promotes ailments like bloating and chronic fatigue. Eating a diet that makes your body more alkaline staves off those health problems. Nice theory. The reality is that your body, especially your kidneys and lungs, maintains a steady pH regardless of what you...read full post »
U.S. News & World Report’s Best Diets 2014, released earlier this year, ranked 32 diet plans. But the No. 1 diet may surprise you. The “Best Diets Overall” winner: the DASH diet.
The DASH diet—or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension—was developed to combat high blood pressure (hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure). So it certainly doesn’t fall into the realm of trendy diets like Paleo or the Alkaline Diet. To earn a spot on the “Best Diets” list, the diet plan has to help with weight loss and diabetes (research shows the DASH diet does)—as well as be easy to follow and nutritious (check and check). Their panel of experts, which included EatingWell advisors David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., and Brian Wansink, Ph.D., gave it top billing in part because it scored well in the heart health and nutrition completeness...read full post »
If you really want to see that number on the scale drop, what you put in your mouth matters most. People who simply cut calories to slim down lose about 2 pounds a week, says a study in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders. At the same time, people who exercise but don’t restrict calories drop less than half a pound each week.
Why doesn’t physical activity produce the same pound-dropping results as calorie restriction? One thought is that though exercise burns calories, it doesn’t rev your metabolism, says a study in Obesity Reviews. It also doesn’t prevent your metabolism from slowing as you lose pounds. As you slim down—via any method—your metabolism slows incrementally with your weight loss and, despite what many believe, exercising doesn’t keep that from happening. As you lose weight, you burn fewer...read full post »