New Rating Systems

March 11, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Nutrition

If you find your supermarket labels confusing, help is on the way. New rating systems are coming this year.

Toni Hope, health editor of Good Housekeeping magazine, says the new systems can help you make healthier choices if you know how to use them.

“The big one coming out this year is Smart Choices. Foods get the Smart Choices checkmark if they meet federal dietary guidelines. They show you the number of calories and the number of servings per package right on the front of the package,” said Hope.

Good Housekeeping says nutrition labels coming to a number of big chains, including Albertson’s, are good if you want to know about particular benefits, such as fiber or whole grains.

While we’re at the supermarket, let’s talk about artificial sweeteners. If you don’t want them in your food, you’d better look closely at the ingredient labels. Don’t assume products that look natural are free of artificial sweeteners.

Samantha Cassetty, R.D., Good Housekeeping’s nutrition director, says most people think of little sweetener packets when they think of artificial sweeteners, but the sweeteners are also in some very surprising products.

“Some even include the word ‘sugar’ in their name or they say they’re ‘naturally-flavored.’ But when you take a closer look at the ingredient list, you’ll find that there are some sugar substitutes among them. Look for words like ‘sucralose,’ ‘acesulfame potassium,’ ‘aspartame’ and ‘saccharin,’” she said.

The Food and Drug Administration says these sugar substitutes are safe, but some people just don’t want them as a part of their or their kids’ daily diet.

“Artificial sweeteners have no nutritional value. They’re in products that might look all-natural, and some of the products that they’re in say that they’re naturally-flavored. So if you’re the type of person who wants to avoid them, you really have to be on the lookout,” Cassetty said.

I know a lot of people worry about artificial sweeteners. And nothing I say will change your mind. But just for the record: the government’s National Cancer Institute says there is no clear evidence of an association between artificial sweeteners and cancer in people.

School Nutrition Programs

March 11, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Nutrition

The USDA is defending their school nutrition, food stamps, and other public nutrition programs to the government, saying that there is no concrete proof that these programs contribute to the country’s obesity epidemic.

The USDA nutrition programs will cost an estimated $73 billion in fiscal year 2009. Currently, around 31.8 million people accept government food stamps and 61 million Americans are affected by the food programs in some way. it is estimated that the numbers of Americans who need food ass stance will increase during the current recession.

However, some critics blame the programs, which include food stamps, the government’s Women/Infants/Children program, and school milk programs, for contributing to the nation’s obesity problem.

Both educational and governmental experts state that there is no definitive link between the government’s food programs and the current obesity problem, which affects some 32% of U.S. children.
President Obama has proposed a $1 billion increase in childhood nutrition funding, part of which would go to school nutrition and food programs.

What is Homeopathy?

January 25, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a safe, natural form of medicine, based on the practice of treating like with like. Homeopathy is derived from the Greek words homios, meaning like or similar, and italios, meaning suffering.

Homeopathy is concerned with treating the whole mortal rather than the illness alone. The homeopath will consider the patient as a whole, both physically and psychologically, taking into statement the patient’s physical appearance, their likes, dislikes and their temperament. It is there fore a highly personalized form of treatment, so patients who apparently suffer from the same ill ness may be given advice for different medicines.

Homeopathy is a well established form of healing. Today many of the leading pharmaceutical companies are researching and mass-producing homeopathic medicines.

Homeopathic Medicines

Homeopathic medicines look very much like conventional medicines, are taken in the same way, but the way they work is entirely different.

The medicines are not synthetic and are derived from natural sources. Over 60% of homeopathic remedies are prepared from vegetable or plant materials. Other remedies are prepared from naturally occurring mineral substances, including metals, non-metallic substances, and mineral salts. Animal sources of homeopathic remedies include: Cuttlefish (the ink or juice provides sepia) and Honeybee.

Homeopathic medicines are prepared by obtaining the cure in its most concentrated form, and then, through a long process of dilution, by preparing a medicine whose potency is sufficient to effect a treatment. The potency describes the measure of the dilution of the cure and is denoted by the number which follows the study of the medicine itself. The higher the number, the greater the dilution (up to one part cure to one trillion parts dilutant).

Remedies

Homeopathic medicines, commonly referred to as remedies, may come from the plant, mineral, or animal kingdom. Some common remedies include: arnica montana, from the Leopard’s bane plant; belladonna, from the deadly nightshade plant; calcarea, calcium carbonate from oyster shells; sepia, from cuttlefish ink; and the element, sulphur.

Homeopathic remedies today are produced using the same dilution principles as in Hahnemann’s day. In a common dilution of 1:100, one drop of the homeopathic substance is added to 99 drops of water and/or alcohol. The mixture is then potentized by a process called “succussion” - repeated tapping on a hard surface for a specific length of time. Remedies may be diluted up to 1000 times, leaving only an infinitesimal trace of the substance. Remedies are typically diluted 10, 100, or 1,000 times, which translate into potencies that are marked with the Roman numerals X, C, and M. Homeopathic remedies range from 6X as the lowest potency to 1M or more as the highest potency.

Remedies can be taken orally in pill, powder, or drop form, rubbed topically, or injected. There are usually no side effects from homeopathic treatments, but a patient can experience what is called a “healing aggravation,” a temporary accentuation of symptoms. This is seen as a positive sign that the cure is working. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, a homeopath may choose an antidote, which produces the opposite effect of the remedy. The antidote may be another homeopathic remedy, or a strong substance, such as perfume, camphor, or coffee, which are known to block the effects of a remedy.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recognized homeopathic medicines as drugs since 1938, working with the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention to produce and update their reference book of homeopathic medicines. Over the years, the FDA has classified homeopathic medicines as either prescription or more commonly as non-prescription (over-the-counter), depending on their strength. In the United Kingdom, homeopathic medicine has been part of the National Health Service (NHS) since it began in 1948. There are currently 5 homeopathic hospitals in the NHS. Homeopathic medicines are acquirable over-the-counter or by prescription.

Safety of Homeopathic Medicines

Because of the very, very small doses used in homeopathic treatment, the medicines are completely safe, non-addictive and have no unwanted side effects. The curative properties of the remedies are released even in extremely high dilutionand render the medicine completely innocuous for the treatment of both children and babies.

Always consult a practitioner before buying homeopathic remedies, and make sure that they are kept innocuous and out of the reach of all children.

Where dosing instructions have been followed, no case of toxic action has ever been reported in association with homeopathic medicines.

Receiving Homeopathic Treatment

Homeopathic treatment is practiced by fully eligible Health Practitioners who understand the philosophy of homeopathic medicine’s well as patients’ emotional and regular situations.

While some homeopathic medicines are readily acquirable in both regular pharmacies and health stores, you MUST consult your homeopathic practitioner before attempting treatment for any serious ailment or illness.

If you are currently on medication for a serious medical or psychological condition, you should NOT stop taking your medication in order to start homeopathic treatment. Your practitioner will advise you on the best course of treatment, often working with your internist or therapist.

Article courtesy of Rene Graeber graduated from the University of Munic in Educational and Sports Science