Thursday, June 30, 2011

McDonald’s takes a deeper look into the ingredients in some of McDonald’s most popular foods!McDonald’s scrambled eggs are not just made with whole eggs; they are also filled with preservatives, hydrogenated oils, food coloring, and other additives. In fact, there are approximately 20 different ingredients in the 3.3oz serving that McDonald’s provides each morning to millions of consumers that may possibly believe they are receiving a well-balanced meal.

One of the first ingredients listed on the nutrition label is sodium acid pyrophosphate. This food additive helps scrambled eggs maintain their “appealing” yellow color. What some may not know is that this product is also used in petroleum production. The chemicals in this compound help to prevent clumping in oil-well drilling mud. Still think that’s appetizing?

Some other ingredients listed in this product are sodium benzoate, and beta carotene colors. This is quite controversial considering that some studies recently done by the Food Standards Agency, have shown that sodium benzoate in the presence of food coloring may cause hyperactive behavior in children. Although this study is still being investigated, it is good information to know for the next time you bring your kids to the McDonald’s drive-thru window.

Aside from all the food additives and preservatives, these scrambled eggs also have 4g of saturated fat, and 520mg of cholesterol. These numbers represent 20% of the daily value for saturated fats and 173% of daily value for cholesterol, just in this one serving alone. Sounds like it may be healthier just to prepare your eggs at home.

McDonald’s Big Mac

McDonald’s Big Mac is 3 buns, 2 beef patties, and 100 other ingredients. This sandwich lists high fructose corn syrup, ammonium chloride, propylene glycol alginate, sodium benzoate, and calcium disodium, just to name a few.

What sticks out most in the above list is probably ammonium chloride. You may have heard of this ingredient because it is very commonly used in shampoos as a thickening agent, cleaning products, various glues, fertilizers, textiles and leather, and even fireworks and explosives. In the Big Mac and many other foods, ammonium chloride is used as a food additive. This inorganic compound helps maintain color in food products, changes the texture of foods, and sometimes adds a “spicy” flavor. Would you want the same ingredients listed on your cleaning products also listed on the foods you eat?

A possible positive for this sandwich, there is a lot of protein, about 25 grams. Also, because of the 2 beef patties, the Big Mac also provides 25% of your daily value for iron. However, you also get 1,040mg sodium, 29g total fat, 10g saturated fat, and 75mg cholesterol. This sandwich is also 540 calories, 260 of these calories are just from fat alone.

McDonald’s Grilled Chicken Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap

A few years ago, McDonald’s introduced snack wraps to their long-chain of restaurants. These snack wraps are considered the “healthy” quick items to grab during the day that can help hold you over until dinner time.

This Grilled Chicken Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap from McDonald’s is about half the size of the quintessential Big Mac, but lists more ingredients. Due to the fact these snack wraps are marketed to be the healthy options, one would think it would have fewer, and simpler ingredients. However, one of the ingredients that stick out most is sodium metabisulfite. This substance is commonly used as a disinfectant in home brewing and winemaking to sterilize process equipment. In this snack wrap, it is a food additive that helps to preserve the product over a period of time.

Sodium metabisulfite has also been shown to cause allergic reaction within the respiratory system to those who are sensitive to sulfites. The acceptable daily intake is about 0.7mg per kg of body weight. However, the amount is not specified in this product, so those who are sensitive to sulfites may want to be extra careful.

McDonald’s Large French Fries

McDonald’s french fries are a staple at the thousands of restaurants. Commonly, most people visit the drive-thru just to order a side of fries. Although they may taste good, and be somewhat fulfilling for many consumers, the list of ingredients is a turn-off for some.

For those that may not be as familiar with the chemistry behind hydrogenated fats, it is basically a process to convert monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to the less-healthy saturated fats. This is done because changing the level of saturation, also changes a products physical properties. The more saturated the product, the better it bakes or cooks.

These McDonald’s French fries include hydrogenated oils so that the product maintains its form during the frying process. However, this process increases the amount of total fat and saturated fat in the product. These French fries contain about 18% of the daily value for saturated fat, and 38% of the daily value for total fat, which are pretty high numbers.

Another ingredient in this product is dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent. McDonald’s reported that this compound is used in a matter of safety, to prevent the oil on both the fries and chicken nuggets from foaming. This chemical is a type of silicone-polymer that is commonly used in hair shampoos, lubricating oils, contact lenses, medical devices, and so on. If more people knew about this ingredient, would it still be such a huge seller?

McDonald’s M&M McFlurry

The McDonald’s McFlurry came into production around the late 90’s. This was an instant hit with consumers because it beat the ordinary vanilla soft-serve they had originally offered. Snickers, M&Ms, Oreo, and other flavors have been featured in McFlurry items to increase sales of these popular desserts. Not only are there candies and cookies, but also a long list of ingredients that some may consider controversial. Among these ingredients are 10 different food colorings, and also carrageenan.

Food colorings have been reported to increase hyperactive behavior in children diagnosed with ADHD. Although clinical studies have shown mixed results in this matter, many parents believe that food colorings eliminated from the diet improve their children’s behavior. The McFlurry is equipped with Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6, and Blue

Carrageenan has raised eyebrows in recent years because many people believe it causes certain health implications. Results from studies have shown that rats, monkeys, and guinea pigs consuming a certain amount of carrageenan may not only obtain ulcerations in the GI tract, but also GI cancer. Current studies are also examining the relationship between carrageenan consumption and inflammatory bowel disease and also Crohn’s Disease

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Natural Sunscreen Options


The health of your skin is largely a reflection of your overall well being. Genes certainly play a role as well. However, your genetic makeup has no more influence on skin appearance than on any other area of your body. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity are unlikely parallels in that they all carry genetic influences, but also respond remarkably well to natural interventions such as dietary changes, exercise, proper sleep and stress management. Your largest organ, the skin, is no different.

Increasing your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is the first place to begin if you’re looking for internal photoprotection. Fatty acids found primarily in fish, DHA and EPA, reduce the inflammatory response to UV radiation and prevent the accompanying immunological suppression. What’s more, fish oil supplementation (4 grams/day) may shield skin from cancer on a genetic level. It’s less certain whether plant based omega-3s such as alpha-linoleic acid provide the same protective activity. My personal food of choice in the omega-3/skin department is wild salmon. It not only provides an excellent source of DHA and EPA, but also contains a powerful antioxidant known as astaxanthin which affords additional protection from phototoxicity

As far as beverages go, green tea tops the list of natural photoprotectants. The June 2011 issue of the Journal of Nutrition reports that supplementing with green tea polyphenols (GTP) at a dosage of 1,402 mg daily, experimentally reduces UV-induced erythema or reddening of the skin by 25%. Other “skin structural characteristics that were positively affected included elasticity, roughness, scaling, density and water homeostasis”. The authors of the study noted that a separate investigation using lower dosages of GTPs resulted in improved blood flow or microcirculation to the skin. Green tea intake appears to exert many of its dermatological benefits via antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Another positive attribute of green tea extract is that it intercedes with the skin cancer development process by countering photoimmunosuppression and promotes the repair of DNA. (13,14,15,16,17)

If green tea isn’t your “cup of tea”, perhaps you should consider a glass of malbec, pinot noir or syrah. Preliminary data suggests that red wine consumption may prolong the amount of time you can spend in the sun before you “burn”. A German study from January 2009 reports that applying wine topically in the form of “wine baths” is infective as a guard against UVB damage. However, drinking red wine containing high levels of natural polyphenols allowed a significant degree of UV protection as indicated by a skin reaction test known as the “minimal erythema dose” or MED. Animal and in-vitro trials tend to support the only human study I just referenced. Some researchers believe that two antioxidants present in red wine, myricetin and resveratrol, are key to the chemopreventive and photoprotective properties hinted at in the scientific literature.

My last suggestion may seem too good to be true, but it’s not. Eating a daily serving of non-alkaline or non-Dutched dark chocolate not only shields the skin from the damaging effects of UV rays, but also increases blood flow and oxygen saturation. The results of these changes include an improvement in skin hydration and thickness. A decline in skin roughness and scaling were also detected in one 12 week study. In order to derive these benefits and more, opt for truly dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70%. Two of the trials I reviewed utilized a cocoa product containing 329 mg of flavanols per serving. This can be approximated by making a strong cup of homemade hot chocolate using pure, organic cocoa powder. At home I add three heaping tablespoons of cocoa in a mug and sprinkle in a little organic cinnamon, sea salt and stevia. Add hot water, milk or cream, stir and enjoy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Worldwide Diabetes More than Doubled Since 1980

By Katherine Harmon |

Diabetes incidence has been climbing precipitously in the developed world along with rises in obesity rates and dietary and other lifestyle changes. But a massive new study finds that the rest of the global population has not been immune to these changes. Globally, the rate of diabetes has more than doubled in the past three decades.

For the new study, researchers analyzed the blood glucose levels of more than 2.7 million adults (25 years and older) in 199 countries. By their calculation, as of 2008 about 350 million people had diabetes, a disease that renders the body unable to properly control blood sugar levels and can lead to kidney failure and death. In 1980, that figure was closer to 153 million. The new work published online June 25 in The Lancet.

"Diabetes is one of the biggest causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide," Majid Ezzati, of the Center for Environment and Health at Imperial College in London and co-author of the new study, said in a prepared statement. The escalation of diabetes stands "in contrast to blood pressure and cholesterol, which have both fallen in many regions," he added. But "diabetes is much harder to prevent and treat." Not only is there no cure for diabetes, it is also a costly disease. In the U.S. alone, it eats up about $174 billion each year for the approximately 18 million people who have been diagnosed.

Much of the rise can be attributed to an aging population. But about 30 percent of the increase is likely due to other factors, such as lifestyle changes and obesity.

The biggest increases were in Pacific Island countries and Saudi Arabia, and the lowest overall rates were in sub-Saharan Africa. When averaged across countries, about 9.8 percent of men and 9.2 percent of women now have diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association estimates that more than a quarter of people with diabetes in the U.S. have not been diagnosed, which can lead to worse health outcomes.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Macadamia

by Nell Stephenson

I was already a macadamia fan, but I grew to love them even more on this most recent trip to Hawaii. Yes, they offer all sorts of candied up versions, but my fave is still the natural, raw type.

In addition to tasting great, they offer MANY health benefits:

* The natural oils in macadamias contain 78% monounsaturated fats, the highest of any oil (including olive oil!)
* High in fiber
* They're rich in: Iron Potassium Phosphorus Magnesium and Calcium They also contain significant levels of, Zinc Copper Selenium. The most significant vitamins are: 6 Vitamin E Thiamine (B1) Riboflavin (B2) Niacin, pantothenic acid (B5) and folate.
* Macadamias contain tocopherols and tocotrienols, which are derivatives of Vitamin E, phytosterols such as sitosterol and also selenium, which have antioxidant activity.
* They contain the phytonutrients classes, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, phytoestrogens, phytic acids, ellargic acid, saponins and lignans.

Then, inevitably, comes the most asked question: "How many is too many?"

Well, it depends. If you've come to The Paleo Diet because you have a weight loss goal, then you'd need to be more mindful of someone who is too lean and needs to build a bit of density. As always, just think balance. If you're someone to tends to snack without thinking, then it's simple: DON'T leave a bowl full of them out on your desk.

Regardless of whether you are trying to lose fat or not, NO ONE needs to be eating TONS of anything! Keep in mind that ONE macadamia has 20 calories. I'm not issuing this reminder to get you to count calories, rather, just posting a reminder that the key to being a successful Paleo practitioner is BALANCE.

So- first comes the veg, then the protein, then add some fat and finally a sprinkling of fruit.

Make sure you eat your fish and/or fish oil, and don't rely on nuts as your main fat source as they are STILL not the best providers of an ideal Omega 3:6 ratio.

So- toast them and sprinkle on your salad, chop them and press them onto Sea Bass with an egg wash, then broil, or just eat a few with an apple- enjoy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

1 In 3 Multivitamins Don't Have Nutrients Claimed In Label

Posted By Dr. Mercola

A new review of multivitamins found that a full third did not contain the amount of nutrients claimed in their labels, or else improperly listed ingredients. Researchers at tested 38 multivitamins, and discovered that eight contained too little of specific nutrients, two contained more nutrient than claimed and three improperly listed ingredients.

What’s more, the more expensive products didn't turn out to be any better than those that cost just pennies a day.

According to MSNBC:

“While medications are closely overseen by the federal Food and Drug Administration, supplements like vitamins don’t get regular testing by any government agency. So there’s no way of knowing -- outside of independent testing -- whether a bottle of supplements contains what it’s supposed to ... Although low levels of certain nutrients can be a problem, doses that exceed recommendations are especially worrisome. Several products evaluated ... including some designed for children, had this issue.”

Sunday, June 19, 2011

How to Recover Your Cell Phone if it Drops in Water

Posted By Dr. Mercola

Did you just drop your cell phone into water? According to Yahoo News, all may not be lost! Here are their suggested steps which might enable you to rescue a drowned phone:

Step 1: Do NOT turn on the phone

Step 2: Pull out the battery and SIM card

Step 3: Rinse in freshwater if you dropped your phone in salt water (to rinse out the salt)

Step 4: Dry your phone using compressed air (DO NOT dry it in the oven)

Step 5: Cover your phone with uncooked rice for at least 24 hours (to absorb moisture)

Step 6: Turn your phone back on and see if it works!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Your Brain is Rancid

by John Meadows, CSCS

That's an interesting question. The brain is 60% fat, a large part of that being DHA, a polyunsaturated oil that can go rancid very easily. So wouldn't it stand to reason that the brain could go "rancid" as well?

What is Rancidity?

Rancidity means that the fats have become oxidized or turned into lipid peroxides in a process called "oxidative rancidity." Oxygen molecules make their way into the structure of the fatty acid, profoundly changing its shape, function, and structure.

The more unsaturated a fat is, the more easily it goes rancid when exposed to heat or light. That's why it's advised not to cook with polyunsaturated fats or leave them on the shelf in a clear bottle. Once the structure of the fat is changed, it becomes unhealthy for consumption. It also tastes, well, rancid.

The order of susceptibility to rancidity from highest to lowest is:

Polyunsaturated → Monounsaturated → Saturated → Cholesterol

So what must occur for the brain to go rancid? Nutrition expert Michael Schmidt says that there are three components to this doomsday scenario.
Polyunsaturated oils.

DHA is the longest and most unsaturated fatty acid and a big part of what's between your ears is DHA.
Exposure to free radicals through oxygen and other factors.
Your Brain is Rancid

We need oxygen to breathe, but oxygen can drive rancidity, and the brain is the most oxygen-hungry tissue in the body.

Excessive carb intake, caffeine, stress, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, pollution, and otherwise living the life of a Jersey Shore bar-star can all lead to free radicals that negatively affect the brain.
Presence of metals, especially iron and mercury.

The presence of iron creates a risk for rancidity. When exposed to oxygen, iron rusts like the fenders on the old Schwinn you inherited from your sister. It's definitely the worst offender for "igniting" oxidation in the brain. Iron accumulation is apparent in debilitating neurological conditions like Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, not to mention cancer cell proliferation.

Elevated mercury levels have disastrous potential to the brain, kidneys, and lungs. Consumption of mercury-tainted fish is a leading cause of mercury poisoning; something I've experienced personally. In 2005, my body reached toxic levels of mercury as a result of eating several pounds of orange roughy a day in a pre-contest phase. It can happen.

The above factors present a compelling argument that the brain can go rancid.

What can we do?

Strategies for Keeping a Healthy Brain

Incorporate more essential fatty acid into your diet.

Giving your brain the raw material it needs is the first step. The fats that fit this role include EPA, DHA, and arachidonic acid.

What about linoleic, gamma-linolenic, and alpha-linolenic fatty acids? Aren't they valuable fats, too? Check out the diagram below.
Your Brain is Rancid

Omega-3's, or the foods that contain them, like flax seed, chia seeds, etc., aren't bad fats or fat sources to consume, but don't count on them to be converted to DHA. The body isn't very good at converting these fats to DHA, particularly as we get older. Focus your attention elsewhere.

Omega-6's, or the foods that contain them, like safflower, sunflower oil, etc., all receive high praise from health zealots, but they shouldn't be on your smart fat radar, either. Consuming too much omega-6 can increase inflammation in the body, not a great scenario from a training or general health perspective.

What you should target are the foods in the DHA and arachidonic acid boxes. Wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, grass-fed beef, raw milk, and organic eggs, fit the bill. These are your "money" foods, so commit your resources accordingly.

Notice, I said grass-fed beef, pastured organic eggs, and raw milk. That's an important distinction. Omega 6 to 3 ratios are near perfect in grass fed beef, but are out of wack in conventional, corn-fed varieties. Similarly, cows fed grass have more omega-3 in their milk. Pastured (free range) chickens also have better ratios, especially when fed omega-3 enriched feed.
Use fruits and veggies that fight off brain-damaging free radicals.
Your Brain is Rancid

A free radical is essentially an atom with major issues. It's lost an electron, but rather than seek therapy and accept the loss, it pops a few Vicodin and embarks on a path of metabolic destruction by trying to steal an electron from another unsuspecting atom.

Superoxide radical. Trouble with a capital T. When combined with certain elements, it creates the other radicals listed above.
What foods can stop this lethal brain attack?

Here are some of my favorites.

Protection against peroxyl radical and hydroxyl radical:

* Kale
* Spinach
* Brussels sprouts
* Broccoli (plus source of Vitamin C)

Source of Vitamin C:

* Kiwi fruit
* Oranges

Source of Vitamin E:

* Red palm oil (contains all mixed tocopherols)

High ORAC fruit that fights oxidation:

* Blueberries (also great source of anthocyanins)
* Blackberries
* Strawberries
* Raspberries
* Pomegranates (also great source of anthocyanins)

Try Superfood because of it's incredibly high ORAC score. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It's a measure of the free radical scavenging activity against the peroxyl radical, the most common reactive oxygen species (ROS) found in the body. The higher the ORAC score, the better the food can help fight off free radicals. Superfood's ORAC score of 5000 means it's serious bang for your antioxidant buck.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Running Fast or Fasted Running?

by Nell Stephenson

Should you go into a workout 'on empty'?

Do a quick google search and you'll find a host of recommendations.

Here's my take, and what I do myself:

* If I have a short (i/e an hour or less) and easy (i/e a recovery spin on my bike on the trainer) AND it's first thing in the morning, I'll do it without having eaten first.
* I will NOT attempt to do anything long and hard without fueling up; everyone is different to a degree and speaking for myself, I perform much better when fueled.
* I do NOT recommend trying to do the bulk of your endurance training on empty.

Granted, if you're new to the sport, it may seem foreign to grasp the concept of eating WHILE training as almost ALL of my clients have a hard time getting their head around it. Particularly if you're someone who is coming from a weight-loss background, you may think 'if the purpose is to EXPEND calories, why would I INTAKE anything'?

EASY- for long bouts of activity, you need fuel. The better fueled you are, the harder you can go and then. BURN MORE CALORIES, if that's your goal.

Say, for example, you ride your bike for 4:00. As a VERY GENERAL hypothetical, if you expend 500 calories per hour during the session, and take a gel every 30 minutes (as I do, based on the guideline of 4 kcal/ kg body weight/ hour of exercise), you'll have consumed nearly 1,000 calories, but you're still in a deficit of 1,000. If you had NOT eaten anything, you may have slowed way down or bonked and the ability to burn calories would've been far diminished as a result.

The best thing to do is try a very short session on empty, if you're interested in doing this experiment, as see how your body reacts. Again- do it under easy conditions as listed above and don't attempt to climb Everest on empty! Not that I'm planning on learning how to accomplish a feat like that, but you get the idea!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Eat before you're hungry.... drink before you're thirsty!


One of the biggest lessons I have learned over my last 5 months of training is this: eat before you are hungry, drink before you are thirsty. DUH! Yes, it seems like a no brainer but when life gets busy, training gets longer, and you get lazy, this simple rule gets pushed to the back burner. I alway stress to my clients and in my seminars to not let more than 5 hours pass between meals and snacks. We have all skipped meals here and there and have gotten through the day and been just fine. However, throw in hours of intense exercise whether that be endurance, strength, or cross training, that 5 hour period becomes extremely important. I experienced something called "bonking" for the first time a couple of weeks ago, basically my blood sugar dropped during endurance training, and my the time I realized it (had symptoms) it was already too late. I could dump all the bars, chews, and gus down my throat and it would still take a good hour before the symptoms of headache and fatigue dissipated. Bottom line, don't wait until its too late! Plus, your friends will appreciate your blood sugar consistency since other symptoms may include EXTREME crankiness!

So lesson learned... Eat and drink (water that is) ... before you feel hungry and thirsty, it'll be a life saver.

Monday, June 6, 2011