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Food Labeling Tricks

Did you resolve to eat a healthier diet this year? That means that you are going to choose better foods, right? Simply reading food labels might prompt you to buy some items that really aren't good for you. It is important to understand the finer points of food labeling guidelines to avoid making poor choices. They can be tricky!

Robert Davis, PhD, a science journalist, has posted an intriguing list of the 10 most tricky food label claims on his blog. Here are seven of the trickiest.

What's in Your New Year?

New Year’s Eve has come and gone. So have many of the New Year’s resolutions that many people have made, like not texting while driving, taking better care of your health, being nicer to the dog, spending more time with the kids (grandkids). New Year’s resolutions are notoriously ineffectual in making life changes, especially when it comes to an area that resists change such as personal health and well-being.

Instead of making (and breaking) New Year’s resolutions, consider these principles and imagine some ways that you might make them happen in your life. Don’t make big changes or choose hard-to-do options. Instead, think about the general principle, then imagine how that principle would play out in your life. Write down (helps crystallize thinking) one or two ways you would be willing to try for two weeks. If it works for you, continue to do it, or consider other options to achieve the same goal.

Making Effective Resolutions

A new year has arrived and it is the time we are thinking about making needed changes in our lives. We often refer to these as resolutions. I have a list and you probably do too. They might be things like,

  • "This year, I’m going to relax and not worry so much."
  • "I will eat less and exercise more so I can loose weight."
  • "I’ll save more money this year."
  • "I’ll want to get along better with my family."

I had to ask myself a question the other day: Why are some of my resolutions the same as last year? The answer is very disconcerting! They were important and worthy, but here I am including them again this year.

Our brains have enormous "plasticity." That means they can create new cells and pathways in most remarkable ways. At the same time, our brains create strong tendencies to do the same thing over and over and over again. The old pathways never disappear. 

May Your Holidays be Filled with Joy

You may be traveling to celebrate with family and friends, or, you may be spending quiet days at home. However you celebrate or wherever you go, we want to wish you a most fulfilling, joyous, healthy, and safe holiday season.

Our team will be doing the same, and we will resume our posts on January 3, 2012.

We trust that at this special time of year you will be surrounded by family and friends. Remember, the Reason for the season is the greatest gift of all, the Baby of Bethlehem, the Savior and soon coming King.

Healthy, Happy Holidays

The emergency room is about the only place people can go for  health problems during major holidays, and each holiday presents its own health risks. Take for example:

  • Fights by intoxicated guests as to who will carve the turkey sometimes result in serious injuries.
  • EMTs arrived at one home to find a man lying stabbed on the floor by his brother with a carving knife. Yet his injury did not stop him from eating as much as he could "because he knew once he got to the ER he wasn't going to get any more food."
  • The new trend in deep-fried turkey has increased the number of reported burns as a result of hot oil spatters, splashes and spills.

The majority of Christmas and Thanksgiving ER visits are the result of simple overindulgence and the resulting pain and nausea. Eating too much for some people could also be life-threatening. 

Prevent Your Own Cancer

Nearly 50% of all cancer deaths can be prevented. It is reliably estimated that lifestyle and environmental factors are responsible for 42% of the cancers in the United Kingdom. What is true in the UK is likely to be true in much of the industrialized world. 

The research looked at the contribution to cancer made by tobacco, unhealthful foods in the diet, obesity, alcohol, lack of exercise, industrial exposures, radiation and several other factors that make a small contribution to cancer. 

Of the 314,000 cases of cancer in the UK in 2010, 134,000 were preventable. Tobacco caused 60,000 premature cancer deaths.There were 29,000 cancers caused by eating red meat or a lack of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Obesity was responsible for another 17,000 premature cancer deaths. Alcohol drinking caused 12,000 premature deaths.

A Tough Decision?

“Margaret,” Laurie called out as she rounded the end of the last aisle in the grocery store.

“Hi, Laurie,” Margaret responded as she placed a bottle of Bordeaux wine in her shopping cart.

“I didn’t know you liked wine.” Laurie, basket on her arm, tried to speak without accusation as she approached Margaret’s shopping cart. “I thought you were an abstainer.”

“Oh, I was – until I saw the most recent study about the good effects of red wine,” Margaret said. “You know, lowering cholesterol, decreasing clots, better heart health.” Margaret seemed quite confident.

Laurie wrinkled her brow, trying to recall what she had read. “Good effects? I did read something about that in a magazine – or on-line somewhere, but I don’t remember the details.”

“Yeah. It’s all about the resveratrol in wine. You know about that?”

“Um, I remember resveratrol,” Margaret nodded. “A magical element in red grapes.”

Tobacco Use

An estimated 440,000 people die from smoking - related causes each year in the United States. Nearly all smoking - related deaths occur after the age of 35, but the majority of adults who smoke began during adolescence. Eighty - two percent of adults who smoke started smoking before age 18, and virtually no adult smokers start after the age of 25.

Young adults ages 18 to 25 have the highest prevalence of recent smoking — 60 percent higher than that of adults over the age of 25. The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes the situation with tobacco by pointing out the following:

Early Drinking Influences Alcohol Addiction in Adulthood

It is fairly common to hear parents talk about the need to teach their children how to drink responsibly.  Apparently, many people assume that responsible use of alcohol at home will be projected to youth as they get older.

This is a dangerous assumption.

Recent research has focused on the connection between the age when a person first uses alcohol and their alcohol problems later in life. Delaying the onset of alcohol use has been proposed as a strategy to prevent alcohol dependence or abuse in adulthood.

Germs Can Cause Colon Cancer

It is estimated that 15% of all cancers are caused by infectious organisms. The HPV virus causes cancers of the cervix, anus, and the head and neck. Hepatitis B and C viruses can cause cancer of the liver and the bacteria Helicobacter pylori can cause cancer of the stomach. 

Recently, it was discovered that there is a relationship between the bacteria fusobacterium nucleatum and cancer of the colon and rectum. F. nucleatum is a germ that invades human tissue and promotes an inflammatory response. It grows in an environment that doesn’t require oxygen for survival. 

In humans F. nucleatum is most commonly found in the mouth where it causes infections of the gums. This germ can also cause infections around the heart and has been identified as the offending organism in some cases of acute appendicitis. Up to now F. nucleatum has never been linked with cancer.