Category Archives: Nutrition

Sugar: What kind is best? Is there a good kind?

The controversy over the proposed banning large-sized soft drinks in New York City has also sparked interest among consumers over whether all sweeteners are created equal. In particular, are the replacement sweeteners like Sweet’N Low or Spenda better than consuming real sugar? The New York Times recently addressed this issue, with the ultimate conclusion: “Eat and drink less sweet stuff.”

Photos from the Field: Human Health Studies in the Balkans

Dr. Cassandra Quave, CSHH Postdoctoral Fellow, has just completed a field study in NE Albania in collaboration with Dr. Andrea Pieroni, from the University of Gastronomic Sciences (Italy). The scope of the study was to investigate traditional health practices, including the use of wild plants for food and medicine, in several small Albanian and Gorani communities located in the Dinaric Alps near Mount Gjallica. Photos capturing the local agricultural, food, and health traditions can be accessed here on Dr. Quave’s website.

Added fiber: Does it improve health?

Much health-related advice that circulates through public (and particularly media) sources emphasizes the need to attain a certain quantity of specific nutrients each day.  For example, Vitamin C, iron, sodium, and calcium all have dietary reference intakes (RDIs) that set a minimum daily threshold according to RDA guidelines.

But does consuming a specific quantity per day matter, and how does the source of that nutrient come into play?  NPR’s Amy Standen investigated whether added fiber, particularly that added into foods traditionally not providing a significant source of fiber such as children’s cereal, truly has substantial health benefits.

The story can be accessed on NPR’s website in print or audio format.


Mindful eating as food for thought

Mindfulness meditation practices have been shown effective for improving outcomes for cancer patients undergoing other aggressive medication-based treatments, and has recently been promoted as a method for controlling diet.

The concept is being researched at universities across the US, with Dr. Lilian Cheung, a Harvard nutritionist, promoting mindfulness eating as a way to provide relief from hectic schedules and a way to reconnect with food.

A description of mindfulness eating and current research is available through the New York Times.

US adopts new school lunch program policies to target obesity

On Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Michelle Obama announced changes to government-subsidized school meals that are part of the Obama administration’s effort to reduce obesity among youth by promoting improved nutrition and exercise habits.

Key aspects of the new requirements include: doubling daily servings of fruits and vegetables, serving only whole grains, milk must be low fat, and salt and trans fat maximums.

For more information, you can read the new rules or the New York Times article which includes a more detailed summary and interviews with key government and food industry leaders.

U.S. Obesity rates remain steady during last decade

A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) finds that the percentage of the population that is obese has not changed significantly in the last 10 years.  That the rates remain steady, at 35.7% of adults and 16.9% of children being obese, indicates that attempts at improving the population’s health by reducing excess adiposity have not been successful in the last decade.

A description of the CDC’s findings is available from the New York Times.  The full report was published online by JAMA on January 17.

FDA Restricts Antibiotic Use in Livestock

Recent decades have witnessed an ever increasing rate of antibiotic-resistant infections across the globe.  Many microbiologists attribute this to the usage of antibiotics among livestock, leading to the FDA to tighten restrictions for the administration of such drugs to animals.  The restrictions apply to the antibiotic class cephalosporins, which are among the most commonly prescribed for children and those undergoing surgery, and used to treat other infectious illnesses such as strep throat, pneumoia, and urinary tract infections.

See the article “Citing Drug Resistance, U.S. Restricts More Antibiotics for Livestock” from the New York Times for more details.

A New Year’s resolution to diet? Emory cardiologist helps rank top diets

It’s common for many of us to make a New Year’s resolution about diet and fitness… but how do we know which diet is the right one for us? Emory Heart and Vascular Center cardiologist Laurence Sperling, MD served on a U.S. News & World Report panel evaluating some of the USA’s most popular diets. Learn more about this report at the Emory Health Now blog.

Emory University Partners with Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces Initiative

Emory University School of Medicine has joined Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces Initiative, serving with other member organizations such as the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), to serve the health care needs of veterans through research, education, and patient care.  Veterans have unique health needs, including traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Just a few of the ways Emory University provides unique care to veterans includes:

  • Virtual reality therapy to combat phobias through the Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program
  • A National Institutes of Health-funded phase III clinical trial to treat TBI with progesterone
  • A hand transplant protocol that uses advanced immune suppressant drugs that are less toxic
  • The BraveHeart: Welcome Back Veterans Southeast Initiative, a joint effort between Emory University and the Atlanta Braves that provides Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with access to mental health and counseling services.

More information about Emory University’s involvement in the Joining Forces Initiative is available in this press release.  Full details are available on the Initiative’s website.

TedxManhattan “Changing the Way we Eat” Viewing Party at the DUC

Saturday, January 21st, Slow Food Atlanta and Emory University will host an official viewing party for TedxManhattan, which provides a series of talks with the theme “Changing the Way we Eat” from 10:30 am to 6 pm in the DUC.  Refreshments are provided, and RSVPs are encouraged at julie [dot] shaffer [at] emory [dot] edu.  Stay for a single talk or many – it will be a great opportunity to meet others in the Emory community interested in sustainable and healthful food options.

The TedxManhattan line up is available at their website.  More information about the viewing party at Emory is available here.