CC News Wrap: Food, Fitness, and Health
There have been interesting findings, news, and great tidbits of info as of late. Here is the latest health news important to calorie counters.
A new study led by University of Sydney researchers found too much sitting could take years off of your life. The study’s lead author, Dr. Hidde van der Ploeg had this to say about the results published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, “That morning walk or trip to the gym is still necessary, but it's also important to avoid prolonged sitting. Our results suggest the time people spend sitting at home, at work and in traffic should be reduced by standing or walking more.” The results highlight the importance of incorporating more physical activity throughout the day in addition to exercising regularly. A separate study points to brisk walking for cutting the genetic effect of obesity in half.
The Good and Bad: US Population’s Vitamin and Mineral Levels Exposed
The CDC’s Second National Report was recently released. CDC scientists measured these levels in the blood and urine of people who took part in CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) during all or part of the four-year period from 2003 through 2006. The document reveals about 10% of Americans had nutrition deficiencies of Vitamin B6, Iron, and Vitamin D, while deficiencies were less than one percent for folate and vitamins A and E. Dr. Pfieffer, a research chemist with the Division of Laboratory Sciences at CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health had this to say about an alarming finding in the report, “The highest deficiencies we found were for vitamin D.” In addition to its role of preventing bone diseases, A separate CDC report points increased vitamin D intake may reduce the risk of various cancers, diabetes, and heart disease. Almost one-third of Blacks and 12% of Hispanics that took part in the study were found to have low levels of the vitamin as compared to just 3% of whites. Pfieffer explained the finding as “interesting” given that blacks have “better bone health and less fractures.”
Bugs in Your Cup: Cochineal Dye Exposed
A Starbucks employee exposed a new ingredient in the strawberry flavoring: cochineal extract. Her revelation prompted this response, “Cochineal extract is a commonly used ingredient and is a natural, FDA-approved colorant found in a wide variety of food and beverage products in the U.S.” Cochineal extract, also known as carmine, crimson lake, or Natural Red 4, is a pigment that comes from tiny white insects that turn red when crushed. The insects’ bodies are collected off cactus, dried and then ground into a powder. At Starbucks, other than the Strawberry Frappucino, the birthday cake pop, mini donut with pink icing, and red velvet whoppee pie has the coloring. While Starbucks is reconsidering its use, some regular products that use cochineal extract include candies, beauty products, juice drinks, baked goods, ice cream, fruit filling, puddings, and yogurt.
Fast Food Making You Sad?
A sample of almost 9,000 respondents were observed over six years. Those who ate junk food were 51 percent more likely to develop depression. The rate was directly related to fast food intake, that is the more fast food you eat, the more your susceptibility to depression. Their findings were published in the March issue of Public Health Nutrition. Fast food eaters were also more likely to smoke and work more than 45 hours a week. In other news, consumer research group BIGInsight reports McDonald's patrons are the unhappiest with their health at 24%. The other restaurant customers frequented Wendy’s, Subway, Burger King, Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A, Arby’s, and KFC. Add this to a separate report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that found that sugar-sweetened soft drinks and fast-food intake predicted weight gain independent of caloric intake, physical activity, and television viewing and the result of eating large amounts of fast food looks even sadder.
What health headlines caught your eye in the last couple months?