Top 15 crusaders for health in America's food industry

Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 10:59 PM
Updated: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 10:59 PM

Wondering how this year's list stacks up against the last? Check out Top 15 Crusaders for Health in the Food Industry 2012.

Amongst all the junk food commercials and donut sandwiches, there are a handful of health heroes. These aren’t just people who eat organic greens for lunch and free-range eggs for dinner; they’re moving and shaking the way we think about our food, including where it comes from, the implications it has on our environment, and what our meals mean for our bodies. Here, we recognize 15 superstars (in no particular order) that have devoted themselves to improving American’s relationship with food.

1. Marion Nestle
Nestle has got her hand in nearly every facet of America’s food industry. Her blog, Food Politics, covers topics from nutrition and biology to health policy and food marketing. She’s been teaching nutrition for nearly four decades and currently teaches sociology, food studies, and public health at NYU. Nestle is the author of many books, but her latest — “Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics” — is all about understanding the intersection of health and food amidst all the mass marketing and misinformation put forth by major food manufacturers. Currently, Nestle updates her blog regularly and presents at universities and conferences on topics such as genetically modified foods and the role food companies play in our food system. (Photo: www.foodpolitics.com)

2. Michael Pollan
As one of the foremost activists for change in the overwrought food industry, Pollan is an outspoken and often controversial figure in the food and farming space. Though probably best known for his book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” (which hung out on The New York Times Bestseller list for more than three years), Pollan has continued to write. In his most recent book, “Cooked”, Pollan explores how cooking connects us to plants, animals, farmers, and culture (amongst other things). (Photo by Ken Light)

3. Michelle Obama
After launching the Let’s Move! campaign at the start of 2010, the First Lady has made healthifying America’s eating habits (especially for kids) her job. The ultimate goal is to eliminate childhood obesity and help kids live healthier lives with good food and a little extra physical activity. This year, Obama held the second annual “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge,” where she asked children ages eight to 12 to whip up nutritious, tasty, and affordable recipes. Unfortunately, we weren’t invited to the White House kids’ “State Dinner” with the winner of this year’s challenge. (Photo: www.whitehouse.gov)

4. Mark Bittman
As an author and New York Times writer,Bittman likes to weigh in on what’s wrong with the American diet. A part-time veganhimself, Bittman is an advocate for the “flexitarian” diet — which means eating vegan during the day, but allowing for more flexible consumption after 6 pm. His super popular book, “How to Cook Everything”, is a go-to resource for basic kitchen skills. Not only does he push for humans to stay healthy, Bittman relentlessly encourages us to keep the environment happy and healthy, too. Oh, and in his spare time, he runsmarathons(Photo: www.markbittman.com)

5. Mike Bloomberg
As the mayor of New York City, Bloombergtakes his role seriously, making waves in the name of public health. From smoking bans tosoda bans, Bloomberg’s initiatives aren’t without controversy and backlash. Passionate about combating obesity, he’s pushed for salad bars and healthier menus in school cafeterias. Plus, he’s managed to eliminate trans fats from tons of restaurant items, and make it mandatory for chain restaurants to clearly post calorie counts on menus. We’re excited to see what goals Bloomberg sets (and reaches) next. (Photo: www.nyc.gov)

For the full list of 2013's top health crusaders in the food industry, go to Greatist.com.

Women’s hands really are colder than men’s, scientists confirm

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 2:10 PM

Women's hands really are colder than men's, according to scientists. Researchers found women's hands are typically 2.8 degrees colder. Scientists guess think differences in body size, hormones and composition are the cause. Cold hands is not usually a medical issue, except for people with Reynaud's disease.

Ladies, raise a gloved hand if your hands feel as frozen as Elsa’s, especially in the winter.

Women’s hands generally are colder than men’s, and the old saying “cold hands, warm heart” may go a long way to explaining why.

Using thermal images, University of Utah researchers compared the hands of men and women, and found that women’s hands typically run 2.8 degrees Fahrenheit colder than men’s.

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Exposure to cold — whether it comes from taking a cold shower or a wintry walk outside — causes blood vessels in the hands and feet to contract, reducing blood flow there as the body seeks to protect the heart and other vital organs.

While this happens in men and women, the cold response is much quicker for women.

It’s still a bit of a mystery why, but scientists suggest that differences in body size, composition and hormones are the culprits.

Women have more body fat and less muscle than men. The fat protects the vital organs, including the uterus, but it also restricts blood flow to the extremities.

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Women also tend to lose heat faster from their skin because they’re generally smaller than men.

That explains why so many women are shivering in office cubicles next to their male co-workers wearing short sleeves.

For most women, having cold hands, though uncomfortable, isn’t cause for concern — unless it is a symptom of a medical condition known as Raynaud’s.

Raynaud’s disease causes fingers and toes to feel numb and cold in response to chilly temperatures or stress, according to the Mayo Clinic. The condition causes small blood vessels that carry blood to the extremities to spasm and severely constrict, affecting blood flow. This can lead to tissue damage.

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Women are five times more likely than men to have Raynaud’s. Symptoms include: icy fingers or toes, skin color turning white or blue with exposure to cold or stress, and red with stinging pain after warming up.

There are two types of Raynaud’s — primary and secondary. The secondary type is caused by an underlying condition and is less common. The primary type is linked to family history.

Eating healthy diet also good for environment, study finds

Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 10:23 AM



Sean Gallup/Getty Images
(Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Eating healthy is not only beneficial to your body -- it benefits the environment, too, according to a recent report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from universities in the Netherlands recently conducted an experiment, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, to determine how dietary choices impact the environment.

To do so, they used Exiobase, an input-output database that represents the world’s economy. The platform allows users to track the environmental costs of growing a variety of foods and the machinery needed to produce and distribute it to supermarkets. The site is also able to adjusts its figures based on a different countries’ production efficiency.

Scientists gathered information on the average diets of citizens living in 39 countries as well as its nationally recommended diets. They then entered the data into Exiobase to examine how it would affect greenhouse gas emissions, land use and eutrofication, which is the addition of nutrients to water sources that can lead to toxicities and lack of oxygen in water.

After analyzing the results, they found that if people in 28 high-income nations, including the United States, Germany and Japan, followed the dietary recommendations set by its respective governments, greenhouse gases related to the production of the food would drop by 13 to 25 percent. 

Additionally, the amount of land needed to grow the food would decrease by 17 percent.

“The study shows that choosing to follow an NRD over the average national diet would have the biggest environmental savings in the United States, Australia, Brazil and Canada. Most of these savings are due to the reduction of meat in the diet. There are reductions also in most EU nations, with Greece, Ireland, and the Netherlands saving the most,” the authors wrote in a statement

As for lower-income nations, researchers discovered following a NRD over the average national diet would result in higher environmental impacts, because these areas rely on higher consumption of animal product to combat low levels of protein. 

But they say the overall benefits would still be positive. 

“Although I think we could do even better, the message is a positive one, overall, especially if middle- and high-income countries modify their diets to align with nationally recommended diets,” they wrote. “This will generally mean eating more plant products such as legumes and vegetables, and fewer animal products. If you know your diet isn't healthy, you have one more reason to change, for our environment too. It might just be possible to have your cake and eat it!”

Is feeding a cold a real thing? 5 winter health myths debunked

Published: Thursday, November 30, 2017 @ 4:05 PM

We separate fact from fiction with the following five winter health myths MYTH: Cold weather can make you get sick FACT: We're more likely to get sick in colder months because we're all cooped up together MYTH: You lose 90 percent of your body heat through your head FACT: You could cover up any other exposed body part and also feel warmer MYTH: You don't need sunscreen in the winter TRUTH: Up to 80 percent of the sun's rays can still penetrate the clouds MYTH: Feed a cold, starve a fever TRUTH: You need t

You've probably heard winter health myths for years and you may have even accepted some of them as fact.

From being told to bundle up, so you don't catch a cold to your neighbor swearing he got the flu from his flu shot, these myths make the rounds every winter.

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We separate fact from fiction with the following five winter health myths:

Stock photo

Cold weather can make you get sick.

Mom always warned you you'd get sick if you didn't bundle up before heading out in cold weather. Her advice wasn't exactly horrible, since you'll certainly be more comfortable and protected from frostbite. But cold by itself doesn't make you more likely to get sick, according to The Weather Channel. Most experts think we're more likely to get sick in colder months, but that's because we're all cooped up together, exchanging germs. Cold weather also dries out your nasal passages, reducing their ability to filter out infections. Despite evidence to the contrary, moms will probably keep warning their kids to bundle up. It's what they do.

You lose 90 percent of your body heat through your head.

Of all your body parts, your head is more likely to be exposed in cold weather. But that doesn't mean the myth about losing 90 percent of your body heat through your head is true, according to Business Insider. Sure, wearing a hat in cold weather will help you stay warm, but that's just because you're covering an exposed body part, not because there's anything special about your head. You could cover up any other exposed body part and also feel warmer.

You don't need sunscreen in the winter.

If you think you only need sunscreen in hotter weather, you've probably packed your lotion away by the time winter comes around. But even when the weather's overcast in the winter, up to 80 percent of the sun's rays can still penetrate the clouds, according to Reader's digest.

UVA rays are always present - even in winter - and they can damage the deeper layers of your skin, increasing your risk for skin cancer and causing premature aging of your skin. And if you're planning a ski trip, you should be even more careful. UV radiation increases with elevation, and snow reflects and intensifies sunlight. So whatever the season, wearing sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF is the safest way to go.

Feed a cold, starve a fever.

The origin of this myth may be rooted in antiquated beliefs about colds and fevers, according to CNN. It was once believed that your body literally became colder if you had a cold, so it needed to be "warmed up" with food. Fever was thought to need "cooling down" by not eating.

In reality, you need to eat whether you have a cold or a fever. Good, nutritious foods are important, but it's OK if your illness suppresses your appetite a little. Staying hydrated is most important, especially if you have a fever. You may need to replenish electrolytes, so sports drinks can be a good choice. Good ol' chicken soup will keep you hydrated while also helping to clear your nasal passages.

RELATED: Your guide to an (almost) allergy-free home

The flu shot can give you the flu.

This isn't true, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC). Flu shots are made with either an inactive form of the virus or no flu virus at all. Neither type can give you the flu. You may have a sore arm after getting a flu shot and some people report having a low-grade fever and aches for a day or two, but it's not the flu.

On the other hand, you may still get the flu even if you've had a flu shot, but the odds of getting it are much lower and, if you do get the flu, the symptoms will likely be less severe.

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Yes, you can actually enjoy the holidays without gaining lbs. Here’s how

Published: Monday, December 04, 2017 @ 5:22 PM

Here are 12 tips for keeping holiday eating under control Plan ahead and bring a snack Be the slowest eater at the table Drink plenty of water Bring your own guilt-free dish to a party so you know there’s at least one you can splurge on Use a small plate so it looks full Remember, you can eat whatever you’d like, as long as it’s in moderation Ditch sweet drinks and consume alcohol in moderation, if at all Don’t hang out by the buffet table Keep the portion size in check Before going back for secon

During the Christmas season, it's way too easy to eat, drink and merry your way to holiday weight gain while visiting with loved ones.

A little puff pastry here, some spinach dip there - before you know it, you've overindulged. But it doesn't have to be that way. When it comes to maintaining your weight during the holidays, it's all about balance.

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Here are a few top tips to help you keep seasonal weight gain at bay, no matter what potlucks, dinners and cookie parties come your way.

Stay active

Keeping your body moving throughout the season can help you avoid extra pounds by burning off all those excess calories. Try taking family walks before or after a holiday meal, break out the Wii or visit a few holiday light displays around the Metro area that offer walking tours.

Snack smart

Skip all the chips, crackers, chocolate and cheese at the appetizer table, which can really rack up the calories. Focus on fresh fruit, nuts and vegetables instead. This can prevent you from eating excess sugar and refined flour, which can contribute to weight gain.

Add protein

Include a little protein whenever you snack or eat a holiday meal, which can make you feel more full and help stabilize your blood sugar.

Bring a healthy dish

Potlucks are often laden with decadent treats and can present a challenge if you're trying to avoid gaining weight. Try bringing along a few lighter dishes so you can fill your plate with healthier options.

Stick with water

Let's face it, you can easily drink a day's worth of calories at holiday get-togethers. Stick to water and save your calories for the good stuff. 

Keep it natural

Whenever possible, eat whole, unprocessed foods that look as close to their natural state as possible. Processed foods often contain ingredients that can encourage weight gain, like high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. 

(Getty file photo)(Tetra Images/Getty Images/Tetra images RF)

Avoid seconds (and thirds)

After you've enjoyed one plate of holiday food, sit back with a cup of hot tea and let your food settle. Don't rush back for seconds or thirds, which can really increase your overall calorie count.

Savor one dessert

Ah, the dessert table. It's everyone's favorite part of a Christmas feast, and everyone's worst weight-gain nightmare. Prevent yourself from over-indulging by picking out one delicious-looking treat and savoring every bite, instead of sampling a few.

Increase fiber

Fiber can make you feel fuller for a longer period of time, which can help you avoid overeating during the holiday season. Increase your fiber intake naturally by eating fiber-rich foods like fresh and dried fruit, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

Reduce stress

When you have long periods of unchecked stress, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that at high levels can increase your appetite. Not only that, but cortisol can cause you to crave fatty, sugary foods that might lead to unwanted weight gain. Reduce your seasonal stress by periodically drinking herbal tea, relaxing in a hot bath, meditating or listening to classical music. 

Watch your portions

Filling your plate with smaller portions enables to you enjoy your holiday meal without overeating. Take smaller portions of high-calorie foods like stuffing and casserole, and fill in the gap with high-protein or nutrient-rich foods like turkey and fresh fruit.

Get your zzz’s

Lack of sleep can lower your metabolism, which could cause you to burn calories more slowly. Ramp up your holiday calorie burn by getting a good night's sleep.