Most people understand that eating too much sugar will make you fat, a condition known to raise your risk of a heart attack. But it’s not obesity alone that increases the likelihood of cardiovascular disease. It now appears that simply eating too much sugar (even if you are not overweight) can cause heart disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. The American Heart Association has released a statement1 advising doctors to encourage patients to keep sugar intake to a minimum. It seems the medical establishment is finally coming around to admitting that their belief that the primary culprit in the risk of heart attack being saturated fat is wrong. Saturated fat is not deadly—sugar is.
Although the largest threat to our health over the past 40 years has been believed to be saturated fat, increasing amounts of research are pointing to the fact that it is in fact sugar that may be one of the greatest contributors to the obesity epidemic. We have been eating low-fat products or decades now, but despite the fact that people have cut most of the saturated fat from their diets, rates of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes have continued to skyrocket; certainly if it was fat was the problem, these rates should have dropped significantly. One thing we have not reduced our consumption of is sugar.
We love fall and winter eating. Apples, nuts and leeks are all at their best, as well as squashes. Often overlooked, aside from the perennial favorite pumpkin pie, these little beauties come in many forms (butternut is one of our favorites but the Hubbard, buttercup and Bohemian varieties are also greatly tasty) and are a fabulous addition to soups, stews and curries as well as tasty roasted on their own or stuffed.
Photo: Valerie Hinojosa
Angeline Thiri from Home Weight Training for Women writes our blog this week with helpful tips on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
If you have been a healthy eater for some time now, here are two things you can do to enrich your healthy lifestyle even further. These simple tips can make a big difference in helping you feel healthier.
Photo: JF Sebastian
October 16 has been designated as World Food Day, and there is no better time than now to think about how what and how we eat impacts both ourselves and the planet.
Hunger is still a problem, not only in poor countries, but in some of the wealthiest countries in the world. Even the most obese of people can be malnourished, their body craving necessary nutrients, not just fat, salt and high fructose corn syrup. These three things are what is helping to raise the rates of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Unfortunately, government policies subsidize these foods rather than healthy ones, making a McDonalds burger cheaper than an organic tomato.
Photo: United Way of the Lower Mainland
One of the major PR coups of the GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) lobby to promote genetically modified food has been in convincing people that genetic modification (which used to be called genetic engineering, another PR triumph) is in no way different from the kind of selective breeding that has been practiced for centuries by botanists. Both involve the manipulation of genes, so are the same, right?
Well, no, no and emphatically no! Plant breeding simply involves giving nature a helping hand and then letting it do its thing. If two plants have a characteristic such as sweetness, then the pollen of one can be given to the other in order to try to produce more plants that are even sweeter, rather than letting random pollination occur. The important facts here are that the breeding occurs between members of the same (or closely related) species, and the process of gene transfer itself occurs through the natural process of plant reproduction.
Photo: Timothy Valentine
Not to be confused with the admirable Slow Food movement, SLO is an acronym to bear in mind to help you shop for the tastiest, healthful and most environmentally sustainable food. SLO stands for Seasonal, Local and Organic, all of which are important for the nutritional quality of your food, its freshness, and its impact on the environment through agricultural input and food miles.
In the modern world we are used to having any food we choose at any time of the year. Summer satsumas from Japan? Ill just get them. Strawberries at Christmas? No bother. I remember as a child that part of the joy of strawberries, and other soft fruit, was their brief appearance for a few weeks in summer, to be enjoyed in copious quantities, then the long months of absence until the following June. Aside from that novelty factor, food produced and consumed with regard to its usual seasonality has several advantages.
Photo: Corey Templeton
The gap between the rich and poor is nowhere more evident than in the difference between what each group is able to put on the dinner table. This one thing has a major impact on people's health, in a country where rates of Type II diabetes and heart disease are skyrocketing. Yet many people are unable to afford putting organic food and meat on the table on any sort of regular basis. Why is this?
Is it merely that food produced on an industrial scale can be grown more economically, or rather that organic farms deliberately make their products more expensive in order to increase their profits on the backs of those stupid enough to pay for it? It's neither of these. There are actually two main reasons...
Photo: Kristin Smith
Blueberries, together with broccoli, red peppers and brazil nuts, are often described as a "superfood." Packed with antioxidant anthrocyanins, they have been found to help ward off infection, decrease aging in the brain, and lower cholesterol levels. In fact, blueberries are widely used in herbal medicine for their effectiveness in repairing damaged blood vessels and have been shown to be more effective at lowering cholesterol than some commonly prescribed drugs for this purpose. These healthy properties in blueberries have been touted on the labels of countless packaged cereals and muffin mixes. But are you really eating blueberries? There's a good chance you're not. Find out why...
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