Upcoming presentations

Saturday, August 17th, 2:00 p.m. at the Encinitas Library, The Health benefits of wine and chocolate. This has been the all-time favorite of my 75 PowerPoint presentations. I wonder why!

Thursday, August 22nd, 1:00, OASIS Center, Grossmont Center. Shingles: how a new vaccine will help you to avoid a condition that will affect many persons who reach their 80s. Sponsored by OASIS. To register see their web site at http://www.oasisnet.org.

In the news

Ultra-processed foods – more of a hazard than you think

The most recent issue of Nutrition Action makes clear what many in the healthcare field have suspected for a couple of decades: our modern diet of highly processed foods contributes to weight gain, type 2 diabetes and all the  conditions that follow from them.

What are ultra-processed foods? You can probably guess: sugary drinks, cookies, pastries, breakfast cereals, flavored yogurt, fish sticks, frozen pizza, sausage, hot dogs, instant soups, ice cream (darn!)

Unprocessed foods include fresh and frozen vegetables, fresh fruit, plain yogurt, poultry, seafood, meat, milk, eggs, beans, pasta (Yay!)

For one month, volunteers lived in a research facility and their keepers measured every bite. They had all the food they wanted. The results were no surprise. The persons who ate ultra-processed foods took in about 500 more calories a day and they gained weight. Ultra-processed food has more sugar and sodium and is easier to chew. Unprocessed food has more fiber, giving the subjects a feeling of fullness – but there’s more! It takes longer to eat unprocessed food, giving the body’s satiety hormones time to kick in.

By gradually switching from ultra-processed foods to the kinds that our grandparents had, we’ll be on our way to good health, leaner, livelier and longer-lived!


What’s with sea salt?

       Sea salt and Himalayan salt have become the darlings of gourmet cooks – and they have become the target of some exaggeration as well.

Salt used in cooking can come from a variety of sources: salt mines tend to produce the plainer stuff. Salt from the sea can include many other things depending on the source and the degree of refinement. Sea salt that is unrefined can contain various trace minerals and even some organic material that gives it the characteristics that cooks look for – texture and flavor. But is it healthier? Probably not, because those trace minerals – “trace” is the tip-off – are present in such small amounts, and we use so little salt in any given dish, that it really doesn’t make as much of a difference in preventing disease as it does in enhancing the flavor of certain foods.

Himalayan salt sounds exotic, but it’s just another variant, with chemical differences that are noticeable but confer no documented health benefits.

Grocery store table salt contains a nutrient that most sea salt and Himalayan salt do not: iodine.  Those of us who are quite long in the tooth can remember friends and neighbors with large swelling of the neck called goiter – massive enlargement of the thyroid gland that furiously tried to make up for a lack of iodine in the diet. That condition vanished when the government mandated that commercial salt had to contain iodine.













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