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Health's Blog (Page 6)

April 24, 2015 - 12:20pm

Listen up. I have a secret to share, one that I rarely admit. I really like hot dogs. So when I first discovered uncured hot dogs (also labeled “no nitrates or nitrites added”), I immediately bought them.

Nitrates and nitrites are key in hot dogs and other cured meats like ham and bacon: they prevent spoilage and block the growth of the bacterium that causes botulism (a foodborne illness). They’re types of salts, with nitrates naturally found in many vegetables and converted to nitrites in your body—or in the lab. But I also knew the preservatives are believed to be associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer.

So these uncured dogs were the healthier choice, right? Turns out most uncured meats still have nitrates/nitrites in them—they just come from a natural source like celery powder. They’re labeled “uncured” and “no nitrates or...

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February 25, 2015 - 12:29pm

Every five years, the USDA releases the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (aka what we all should be eating).

In advance of the official release, an advisory committee publishes its suggestions for what should become the Dietary Guidelines. That report came out last week.

Although some vociferous voices have criticized the guidelines, well-respected, highly credentialed nutrition experts have also applauded them (see here, here and here).

I’...

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February 18, 2015 - 4:36pm

The concern started in 2012 when Consumer Reports published its first report on arsenic in rice. Since then, it’s been making us think twice about too much risotto and sushi rolls.

Arsenic is a natural element in water and soil. (It also comes from environmental contaminants.) And while many foods we eat contain some arsenic (from apple juice and beer to chicken), the concentration of arsenic tends to be higher in rice because rice absorbs it more readily than other plants do.

“Arsenic is held tight in soil by iron oxide, but in flooded paddy soil [where rice is grown] these iron oxides dissolve, releasing arsenic into the water, making it more available to plants,” says Brian Jackson, Ph.D., associate research professor at Dartmouth College.

Long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic is associated with skin, bladder and lung...

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February 18, 2015 - 9:12am

Granola’s health halo can be well deserved; after all, it’s made with whole oats, nuts and dried fruit and most brands have 3 grams of fiber per ¼-cup serving. But they can be high in sugar and calories. Here’s how to pick the healthiest and tastiest.

Sugar Smarts: Almost all granolas have some sugar—it’s one reason they’re so yummy. Look for one with no more than 6 grams per ¼ cup.

Don't Miss: DIY Homemade Granola Ideas

Check the Calories: Granolas pack around 100-130 calories in a small 1/4-cup serving. That’s about twice what you’ll find in many cereals. So keep serving size in mind and try just a bit of granola on top of yogurt or ricotta with lots of fruit....

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January 7, 2015 - 9:37am

Ooh, the Fitbit. I’m completely addicted to mine. Thanks to my Fitbit, I’ve discovered I’m a bit of a sloth on nonexercise days. So now I’m the first person in my house to offer to run upstairs and grab whatever anyone needs. More steps!

I say the Fitbit—and other wearable trackers—are so worth it because they make you aware of your activity level (or lack thereof) and motivate you to move more.

There’s science to back me up, too: research shows that tracking your activity and/or being motivated to work out helps shed pounds.

Better yet, one study showed that simply wearing a tracker could help you lose as much weight as if you regularly attended in-person weight-loss sessions.

But if you take the calorie-burn number too literally you could end up gaining weight. How is this possible?

Don't Miss:...

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