Friday, November 8, 2013

A move in the right direction from the FDA

Proposal to revoke GRAS status for PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED OILS

MANY of you have heard me or my dietitian colleagues say: "avoid trans fats" and/or "read your food labels and avoid the term partially hydrogenated" in no uncertain terms. For some time now the World Health Organization has recommended avoiding trans fats. Yet the FDA and USDA have used terms like "limit" trans fatty acids. Additionally a claim of "0 trans fats per serving" has been allowed on products that actually contain trans fats (up to .49 gram of trans fat per serving.)

Many things in our food supply are gross yet safe, like rodent hair in hot dogs, but this is actually harmful. 

Trans Fats fats lower HDL (good cholesterol) but raise total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol)

Well hooray, the FDA has taken the step to revoking the GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) designation from partially hydrogenated oils. In my world this is HUGE! and I am glad they have caught up to science. FDA press release here

A 60 day public comment period is open!

Here is the link to submit online comments. Please read a little about it and make your voice known. 

People, citizens need to make comments on this. I am certain BIG FOOD will have their best Slick Willie lobbyists on the scene as this change of classification will impact profits (trans fats are cheap to make and have a provide a long shelf life).

A little more info you can actually use

Products with trans fats
cheap stick margarine
some desserts - like the cakes in grocery bakeries & some frozen items
microwave popcorn
frozen pizza
coffee creamer
biscuit mixes, breaders, and similar products
products from smaller companies (One of my most loved food companies still uses trans fats in their mixes because of cost. I hate it for them, but Trans Fatty Acids /Partially Hydrogenated Oils have got to go)

Deep frying generates trans fats in the frying oil. 

As oil degrades through the cooking process trans fats and other harmful compounds are formed. The older and dirtier the oil the more of these compounds will be present in the fat and also in the food cooked in it. A recent study with human subjects resulted in a positive association of deep fried food and prostate cancer risk.

If you have a fried food habit seriously re-consider how much fried food you eat. If you are going to eat fried food anyway smell your restaurant! If it smells like old grease don't eat there. It is a first step.

If you have read this far I am authorized to offer a buy one get one free admission to the Whole Grain Holidays Cooking Demo & Nutrition Class this Tuesday 11-12-2013 at Let's Cook. This class was planned in honor of National Diabetes Month but the menu is plant based and full of health promoting foods. You get to eat, be social, take home information and maybe even some food.  All you have to do is click here to register and pay then send me an email with your name and the name of your plus one. That's $35 for 2 people, such a deal! This offer good til Sunday 11-10-2013 at noon. I do have a minimum to hold a class so tell a friend.

In order of appearance: Photos courtesy of Stuart Miles, mrsiraphol, and koko-tewan at

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Know Your Diabetes Risk

November is National Diabetes Month

It is worth it to take steps to prevent diabetes.  According to the American Diabetes Association...
  • Nearly 79 Million people in the US have pre-diabetes and are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • The CDC estimates that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will develop Diabetes by 2050 unless we take steps to STOP diabetes.

Do you know your risk of developing diabetes? Use the widget to find out

Prediabetes Screening Widget

If you are at risk. Think of one change you can make part of your lifestyle. Start doing it today, don't wait. One simple change can make a big difference if applied every day. Things like...

  • Take a daily walk / get some physical activity every day
  • Trade in your soda or sweet tea for unsweet tea or water
  • Eat fruit for dessert instead of baked goods, ice cream or other sweets
  • Buy, cook and eat more whole grains than refined grains
  • Take your lunch rather than eating fast food or restaurant foods 

For more information go to
National Diabetes Program National Diabetes Education Month 2013
American Diabetes Association

Thursday, October 10, 2013

An Apple a Day - Hooray, It's Apple Month

Kale is working for a day of recognition but our old friend the apple officially has a whole month and it is October.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away? not far from true...

The clip below discusses results from a research study, sponsored by the US Apple Association, which came to the conclusion that an apple a day can help lower risk factors for heart disease. What I find most interesting and  is the study showed eating the whole apple provided more benefits than eating an extract from the apple.

Key to this is eating the peel and flesh of the apple,. The peel contains 2/3 of the fiber. Also this is where the flavonoids and most of the pectin in apples is found.

Quercitin is a much researched flavonoid that appears to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is being researched as a positive factor in cancer and heart disease risk reduction. among others. Also quercetin may be a factor in allergy relief.  It has been a hot research topic for a few years now. 

Pectin is the stuff that makes jelly gel. As fruits ripens pectin gradually changes from a large molecule called protopectin to pectic acid which will not form a gel. So eat fruits that are ripe but not over-ripe for best effect. Pectin is being researched for prostate cancer risk reduction and heart disease risk reduction. In simple terms it binds certain substances to help to keep our pipes (intestines and arteries) clean.

Apples are on the dirty dozen list put out by the Environmental Working Group. Pesticides are something we need to be aware of and take steps to control. But if organic apples are not available in your area or you do not care to pay the extra price don't sweat it. The benefit and value of the fruit or vegetable outweighs the risk of pesticides. Do take a few steps to protect yourself such as...
  • Eat a varied diet - maybe you have an apple every other day or every three days (eat a pear or a mango on your off days)
  • Wash the apple under cool running water rubbing gently (with your fingers) to help remove pesticide residue and bacteria. 
  • Relax, try not to be uptight about it. Stress can impair digestion and increase disease risk. 
What is your favorite apple? I have always been partial to a golden delicious as a hand apple and Rome beauty for baking. Chart of apple varieties for cooking, baking and eating out of hand