March 5, 2012
By Amanda L. Chan
“Here is some good news for coffee lovers. Still though, you shouldn’t drink it all day long. A cup in the morning is probably best. Moderation is always key.” –KTRN
Finding it impossible to kick your java habit? It might be just fine to keep your morning cup around.
A new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that regularcoffee-drinkers don’t have an increased risk of diseases like heart disease and cancer, and they also have a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes compared to sporadic drinkers or non-drinkers, Reuters reported.
“Our results suggest that coffee consumption is not harmful for healthy adults in respect of risk of major chronic disease,” study researcher Anna Floegel, an epidemiologist at the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, told Reuters.
The study included 42,659 people who participated in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)–Germany study. The researchers had the study participants record how frequently they ate the different foods in their diets (including coffee), and they also collected information on whether the study participants had any chronic diseases.
After almost nine years, the researchers found that the people who drank four or more cups of coffee a day were at no higher risk for chronic disease, compared with those who drank less than a cup of coffee a day, according to the study.
Daily Glow pointed out that the coffee-drinkers actually had a 23 percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes than the non-coffee drinkers.
The Mayo Clinic reported that past studies on coffee that showed a possible link with disease likely didn’t account for factors like smoking and being sedentary, which may have been popular lifestyle characteristics for coffee-drinkers when the research was conducted.
Are you a coffee-drinker? What do you love about the brew? And be sure to check out our round-up of seven healthy reasons to love coffee.
February 20th, 2012
By: Mark Greenblatt
The Food and Drug Administration will launch a safety investigation of a new product that allows consumers to inhale caffeine through a lipstick-sized portable device, rather than drinking it.
AeroShot delivers 100 milligrams of caffeine per use, and comes in bright colored packages that describe it as “pure energy,” and “breathable energy anytime, anyplace.”
The manufacturer, Breathable Foods Inc., put it on the market in New York, Massachusetts, and in France late last month.
“You could easily overdose or succumb to toxicity associated with the caffeine ingestion,” Dr. Bruce Goldberger told ABC News. “You could mix it with alcohol in a social setting and also I’m troubled by its availability, potentially at home where young children can get a hold of it.”
Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said he shares those concerns.
“A new product like AeroShot raises questions that need to be answered before allowing consumers, especially teens and kids, to use and abuse it,” he said. “The AeroShot caffeine-inhaler is being marketed as a party enhancer; it can facilitate excessive drinking and its effects have never been examined by independent regulators to determine their impact on the human body and in combination with alcohol, especially for adolescents.”
The inventor of AeroShot, Harvard biomedical professor David Edwards, says his product is as safe as a cup of coffee, which provides roughly the equivalent dose of caffeine.
“I think that we are absolutely welcoming a dialogue with the FDA,” he said. “As I say, this is a new way of delivering food in your mouth, and we’re confident that as they look at the product that they will confirm what we hold, that the product is both safe and follows FDA regulations.”
Edwards was able to bring Aeroshot to the market without an FDA review being required because it is sold as a dietary supplement. ABC News asked Edwards if he or his company had done any studies of the health effects of AeroShot on children or teenagers.
“The answer is no, we did not do tests on children,” he said, explaining that children and teenagers are not part of his target market. “We need to be really clear what a company responsibly does to test the safety of their product, and we’ve followed those safety regulations.”
Edwards says his product delivers a lower dose of caffeine than many energy drinks or caffeine pills currently on the market, and says it comes in a controlled, smaller dose of caffeine.
Edwards says demand for the product is eclipsing anything he could have ever anticipated, and increasing.
ABC News found the product on store shelves throughout New York and around college campuses. We visited three delis near Columbia University — two sold us their shelf stock, while the third store was already sold out.
“I would try it during something like finals week,” said Thalia Dergham, a Columbia University student. Dergham said, though, that she would likely not be a regular consumer of the product outside of high stress times.
Other students were not so willing.
“It looks intense,” said Kristin Simmons, a Columbia University art history and visual arts major. “It looks like one of those monster Red Bull drinks.”
After announcing its review, the FDA is now likely to examine the health effects of inhaling the caffeine on at-risk populations, along with looking into the potential health effects of use when combined with alcohol.
“FDA will review information brought to the agency’s attention about this product,” the agency said in a statement. “As with any complaint or concern we receive about FDA-regulated products, we will consider whether a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act has occurred and, if so, whether regulatory action is warranted in light of FDA’s enforcement priorities and resources.”
The product’s manufacturer has come under fire for a round of advertisements that seem to show its use by younger men and women who are out at nightclubs, where alcohol may be present.
ABC News asked the inventor of the product about those ads. Edwards said the product itself is safe and fundamentally sound, but there is ongoing discussion within his company about how to market it and where to sell it.
“Speaking as an innovator, you’re not developing a product thinking of targeting people that it’s going to hurt. And so on the contrary, the motivation of this product was to actually create a healthier and more accessible way of having caffeine, when you need it, as opposed to overdoing yourself often when you don’t need it.”
For The Full Report Go To ABC News
January 10, 2012
By Cathy Jen, PH.D.
Tea—both green or black or anything in between—has been a traditional daily beverage in Asian countries for centuries. The color of the tea is dependent upon the length of the leaves that are fermented (oxidized). The longer the fermentation process, the darker the color is. Black tea has a long fermentation process and a bitter, strong flavor. Green tea, on the other hand, is not fermented at all; rather it’s steamed after the leaves are harvested and dried. The majority of tea consumed in western countries is black.
Tea has long been considered to have health benefits starting as early as the Han dynasty in China (206-220 BC). Recent research has identified more than 700 distinct compounds in tea. Most of these compounds have anti-oxidant properties, meaning that these compounds can protect cells from being damaged by free radicals.
Tea also contains caffeine. However, the amount of caffeine found in tea depends on both the length of time that it’s steeped and the type of tea. Generally speaking, caffeine found in teas is less than that found in coffee.
Many different free radicals can be produced within our cells or brought into our body by inhalation. During physical activity or endurance sports events, oxygen intake is increased due to increased energy needs because efficient energy production requires an adequate supply of oxygen. This increased oxygen intake increases the production of free radicals, too.
Anti-oxidants such as vitamins C and E and CoQ 10 can neutralize the free radicals and reduce the amount of damage that they cause to cells.
Studies have shown that drinking 2 cups of green tea can reduce the risk of endometrial cancers by 25% as well as reducing the risk of atherosclerosis.
Several recent studies examined the relationship between green tea consumption and physical performance. One study that was conducted in the United Kingdom has demonstrated that ingestion of green tea extract increased fat oxidation (more fat broken down and utilized for energy production) during moderate intensity exercise when compared to the placebo phase. Furthermore, green tea extract improved insulin sensitivity. No effect of green tea extract on performance was examined.
December 12, 2011
By Traci D. Mitchell
“Belly fat go away forever. Where’s my six pack? Oh, I think I just drank it.” –KTRN
A recent University of California San Francisco study revealed stress levels go hand-in-hand with deep abdominal fat. Personally, I think this is a really big deal and important for anyone who often feels “stressed” to think about. The nine-week study included overweight women who participated weekly stress management and healthy eating meetings. None of them were on any sort of calorie restrictive diet, but did become more mindful of what they ate as a result of the meetings. By the end of the study, the stress management participants showed a significant reduction in deep abdominal fat – which is strongly associated with an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Stress is odorless, colorless and has no calories – but it can pack on the pounds – fast!
There are points in all of our lives where stress is virtually unavoidable. In fact, some stress is actually ok. It’s the chronic stress that becomes habit, gets out of control and starts dictating behavior, like eating. In addition to stress’ inherent role in production of deep belly fat, stress encourages many of us to eat! When we eat, we’re less mindful of what we put into our mouths. When stress gets really high, and lasts long periods of time, people have a tendency to become more apathetic about their dietary choices. Chips, pizza, burgers and candy bars make it to your mouth long before an apple, almonds or whole grains.
Just about anything can trigger stress. Work, finances, relationships, family, diet and lack of sleep are all known culprits. The most stressful time in my life, hands down, was after the birth of my second daughter. I thought that managing two small children would be just as easy as it was in raising one. Clearly, I was delusional. I always admired mothers who juggled multiple children, but never realized just how amazing they were until after I had my second. Months of sleepless nights threw off my diet, and my new-found “Dolly Parton Syndrome” was killing me. After several weeks, I knew I would need to modify how I managed my stress. My support system was my rockstar husband, and my cure was a little more sleep, no sugar and deep breathing (it really works!). I was a different woman within a couple weeks.
October 7th, 2011
The Huffington Post
By: Delia Lloyd
Ever have one of those mornings where you wake up, jump in the shower, turn on the radio and hear the best news you’ve gotten in ages?
No, not world peace, but close.
Apparently, coffee is now good for you. It holds a host of physical — not to mention psychological — benefits which scientists are only now beginning to appreciate.
In a household where our espresso machine holds a hallowed place, this is definitely grounds for rejoicing. I haven’t been this excited since I learned that sugar made a comeback.
So hear ye, hear ye: Five reasons to drink (more!) coffee:
1. It reduces depression in women. This just in. A new study out of Harvard University shows that women who regularly drink coffee — the fully caffeinated kind — have a 20 percent lower risk of depression than nondrinkers. This comes on the heels of previous research showing that the risk of suicide decreases with increased coffee consumption.
2. It lowers the risk of lethal prostate cancer in men. But it’s not just the ladies who will benefit from more java. In another study out of Harvard (what are they drinking there? ahem!), men who drank six or more cups per day had a 60 percent lower risk of developing the most lethal type of prostate cancer, and a 20 percent lower risk of forming any type of prostate cancer compared to men who did not drink coffee. Given that prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, that’s nothing to sneeze at.
3. It may protect against head and neck cancers. A study from the University of Utah showed that people who drank more than four cups of coffee a day had a 39 percent decreased risk of cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx combined, compared with those who didn’t drink coffee. Regular consumption of coffee has also been linked to a lower risk for brain tumors, reduced rates of colorectal and endometrial cancer, as well as liver cancer and cirrhosis.
4. It may ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Several studies looking at how caffeine affects brain development in mice have confirmed that caffeine significantly decreases abnormal levels of the protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease. When aged mice bred to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease were given caffeine — the equivalent of five cups of coffee a day — their memory impairment was reversed, according to a report issued by the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre. Should these results be replicated on humans, it might suggest coffee as an effective treatment for this disease, rather than just a protective strategy.
5. It appears to stave off diabetes. Numerous studies have shown that coffee may be protective against Type 2 Diabetes, although the precise mechanism is not well understood. An analysis in the Archives of Internal Medicine, for example, found that people who drink three to four cups of coffee a day are 25 percent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who drink fewer than two cups. In the U.S. alone, nearly 24 million children and adults — nearly 8 percent of the population — have diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease and accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of these cases.
Whether these studies will prove robust in coming years — or be cancelled out by some of caffeine’s adverse effects on things like sleep and high blood pressure — remains to be seen.
But I’m going to blithely hedge my bets and carry on enjoying my cuppa (or two).
Latte or Cappucino?
October 7th, 2011
By: Tony Isaacs
Energy drinks have become a modern day phenomenon, with tens of millions now being consumed daily. What’s not to like about having more energy and alertness, particularly if it comes from beverages which often tout herbal and other “natural” ingredients? As it turns out, there is a very great deal not to like – including unhealthy ingredients and potentially dangerous health consequences.
Some of the more common unwelcome side effects of energy drinks include elevated heart rates, hypertension, anxiety, headaches and interrupted sleep patterns. Earlier this year, a report in the medical journal Pediatrics warned against energy drinks and cited potential harms including heart palpitations, seizures, strokes and even sudden death.
Late last year, poison control centers started tracking energy drink overdoses and side effects nationwide. 677 cases occurred from October through December. The chart’s list of reported energy drink-related symptoms included seizures, hallucinations, rapid heart rate, chest pain, high blood pressure and irritability.
The two most common ingredients found in energy drinks are sugar and caffeine; both of which provide temporary stimulation but can result in actual long term energy loss due to stressing the adrenal glands and causing adrenal fatigue.
Just one of a huge number of health risks caused by processed sugar is the risk of diabetes, a disease which has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. Very large amounts of sugar can ultimately overwhelm the pancreas, the organ which generates insulin to offset sugar intake. If the pancreas becomes “worn out” by being overworked from too much sugar, diabetes can begin.
Some energy drinks contain up to 7 times as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. While small amounts of caffeine are not generally considered dangerous, too much can over stimulate the central nervous system and can dangerously elevate blood pressure and heart rate. Caffeine is also addictive and withdrawal symptoms include headaches and irritability. Caffeine also causes a loss in valuable B vitamins which are needed for “normal” energy creation.
When sugar is not used, dangerous artificial sweeteners are employed. Perhaps the most dangerous is aspartame; though increasingly, the sugar substitute of choice has become sucralose. Sucralose is a chlorinated organic compound, a chemical group which includes several compounds known to be harmful to animals and plants and which has been linked to birth defects and other prenatal conditions. The body does not recognize artificial sweeteners like sucralose as food, but instead essentially processes them as toxins.
Other potentially dangerous ingredients commonly found in energy drinks include:
*Sodium benzoate. Last year a study conducted by an expert in molecular biology and biotechnology linked the common energy drink preservative sodium benzoate to cell damage and an increase in the production of free radicals. Even more concerning, sodium benzoate in combination with vitamin C causes the potent carcinogen benzene.
*Phenylalanine. Though an essential amino acid, phenylalanine is also a neurotoxin and is one of the three main ingredients which make up aspartame. Too much can excite the neurons in the brain to the point of cellular death.
*Guarana. Guarana (or guaranine) comes from the seeds of the guarana plant, which contain up to 3 to 4 times the caffeine as coffee beans.
*Ephedra. Ephedra has been described as a drug that increases heart rate and blood pressure at low doses and causes strokes, seizures, and possibly even death at high doses.
There are far safer options for achieving greater energy than energy drinks, such as super foods powders for example. The very best long term option is an active lifestyle combined with adequate sleep, avoidance of energy robbing toxins and stress and a healthy nutrient-dense diet.
September 27th, 2011
The Huffington Post
By: Catherine Pearson
Coffee may provide more than a momentary pick-me-up, says new research suggesting daily java consumption is tied to a lower risk of depression in women.
Researchers from Harvard University found that women who consumed two to three cups of caffeinated joe per day had a 15 percent lower risk of depression than non-coffee drinkers, while those who drank four-plus cups daily had a 20 percent lower risk. In general, women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with depression.
“Our results support a possible protective effect of caffeine, mainly from coffee consumption, on risk of depression,” the researchers wrote Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The researchers followed more than 50,000 participants in the Nurses Health Study — one of the largest women’s health studies in the U.S — for 10 years.
But the study’s authors cautioned that their results must be replicated before it’s possible to draw any firm conclusions about caffeine and depression risk — particularly in terms of any causal mechanisms that might be at play.
“Caffeine is known to affect the brain,” study co-author Dr. Albert Ascherio, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, offered as one possible explanation. “It modulates the release of mood transmitters.” He pointed out that previous studies have shown a link between coffee and decreased suicide risk, though as the National Institute of Health points out, caffeine may cause or worsen anxiety issues.
Dr. John Greden, executive director of the University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Depression Center, agreed that the Harvard study — as well as others that have come before it — suggest interesting possibilities in terms of a link.
“Clinical depression is found in one out of every six people, roughly, and caffeine is one of the most widely used stimulants in the world,” he said. “If you put those two together, it has always been a logical question to ask, ‘Is there a connection?’”
But Greden cautioned that the current study has its limitations, too, particularly in terms of the participant pool.
“The women they studied had an average age of above 60, and most depressions start young,” he said. “So in a strange way, this is probably a very protected group, given the fact that none had depression at the start of the study.”
The results of the new study center on the potential impact of caffeine from coffee — not caffeine in general — namely because among the participants, the amount of caffeine consumed from other sources was too small for any stable results.
Ascherio said this should be just one of many additional considerations in future research that looks at possible caffeine and depression links.
In the meantime, he said the study should not prompt non-coffee drinkers to take up the habit. It could, however, offer current coffee drinkers some reassurance.
“I’m not saying we’re on the path to discovering a new way to prevent depression,” he said. “But I think you can be reassured that if you are drinking coffee, it is coming out as a positive thing.”
If you’re a regular Red Bull consumer, shame on you! France and Denmark have already banned Red Bull from the country. What do they know that we don’t?
In America, Red Bull is sold in supermarkets across the country and is mostly consumed by children.
What “they” don’t want you to know — is that Red Bull is a drug and its effects are potentially FATAL.
Red Bull was originally created to stimulate the brain in people who are subjected to great physical force and never was designed to be consumed by normal people, let alone children, as a replacement to soda pop.
Here’s the truth. The reason Red Bull was banned in France and Denmark is due to its vitamin components mixed with a highly dangerous chemical which was developed by the United States Department of Defense during the 1960s to stimulate the morale of the troops based in Vietnam.
It was a drug. This chemical that is in Red Bull acts like a hallucinogenic drug that calmed the stress of war in the GIs. But the effects of this in the human body were also devastating. And it was so devastating that the U.S. Army discontinued its use. It caused a high index of cases of migraine headaches, cerebral tumors, and diseases of the liver. And that was all proven by looking at the soldiers who were consuming this drink.
Why won’t the manufacturer put that warning on the can?
Don’t let anyone you know drink Red Bull. In fact, introduce them to the energy drink I personally recommend, Mona Vie. It is all natural, so you don’t have to worry about the harmful, scary side effects!
Yours in Health,
May 23rd, 2011
By: Ethan A. Huff
Coffee addiction may not be the detriment to health many people think it is, according to a new study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research. Postmenopausal women over 50 who drink five or more cups of coffee every day may be as much as 57 percent less likely to develop estrogen-receptor (ER) negative tumors, say researchers from the Karolinska Institute (KI) in Sweden.
Dr. Jingmei Li and her colleagues from KI evaluated 6,000 women, some of whom drank no coffee, and others who drank five cups or more. After adjusting for outside factors like age at menopause, weight, family history of breast cancer, and others that affect results, the research team observed that women who drank the most coffee were least likely to develop some of the most serious forms of breast cancer.
On the other hand, coffee consumption played no role in reducing the risk of ER-positive cancers, indicating that something unique to the ER-negative varieties is sensitive to coffee. ER-negative breast cancers are typically the most difficult to treat with conventional medicine, as many breast cancer drugs have no effect on them.
“A high daily intake of coffee was found to be associated with a significant decrease in ER-negative breast cancer among postmenopausal women,” wrote the team in their report. “We believe that this may have something to do with the way the coffee was prepared, or the type of bean preferred.”
Previous research has shown that drinking coffee may also help to reduce the risk of developing liver fibrosis, hepatitis, type-2 diabetes, prostate cancer, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.
However, drinking too much coffee can lead to dehydration, hypertension, and even mineral leeching from the bones. The high acidity of coffee can also upset proper digestive function, leading to various other health problems.
March 1st, 2011
What you eat plays a big role in whether you’re getting the nutrients you need to build strong bones. What might surprise you, though, is that your diet can also play a role in sapping bone strength. Some foods actually leach the minerals right out of the bone, or they block the bone’s ability to regrow. Here, the six biggest bone-sappers:
Salt saps calcium from the bones, weakening them over time. For every 2,300 milligrams of sodium you take in, you lose about 40 milligrams of calcium, dietitians say. One study compared postmenopausal women who ate a high-salt diet with those who didn’t, and the ones who ate a lot of salt lost more bone minerals. Our American diet is unusually salt-heavy; most of us ingest double the 2,300 milligrams of salt we should get in a day, according to the 2005 federal dietary guidelines.
What to do: The quickest, most efficient way to cut salt intake is to avoid processed foods. Research shows that most Americans get 75 percent of their sodium not from table salt but from processed food. Key foods to avoid include processed and deli meats, frozen meals, canned soup, pizza, fast food such as burgers and fries, and canned vegetables.
2. Soft drinks
Soft drinks pose a double-whammy danger to bones. The fizziness in carbonated drinks often comes from phosphoric acid, which ups the rate at which calcium is excreted in the urine. Meanwhile, of course, soft drinks fill you up and satisfy your thirst without providing any of the nutrients you might get from milk or juice.
What to do: When you’re tempted to reach for a cola, instead try milk, calcium- and vitamin D-fortified orange juice, or a fruit smoothie made with yogurt. Or just drink water when you’re thirsty, and eat a diet high in bone-building nutrients.
The numbers for caffeine aren’t as bad as for salt, but caffeine’s action is similar, leaching calcium from bones. For every 100 milligrams of caffeine (the amount in a small to medium-sized cup of coffee), you lose 6 milligrams of calcium. That’s not a lot, but it can become a problem if you tend to substitute caffeine- containing drinks like iced tea and coffee for beverages that are healthy for bones, like milk and fortified juice.
What to do: Limit yourself to one or two cups of coffee in the morning, then switch to other drinks that don’t have caffeine’s bone-sapping action. Adding milk to your coffee helps to offset the problem, of course.
4. Vitamin A
In the case of vitamin A, recent research is proving that you really can get too much of a good thing. Found in eggs, full-fat dairy, liver, and vitamin-fortified foods, vitamin A is important for vision and the immune system. But the American diet is naturally high in vitamin A, and most multivitamins also contain vitamin A. So it’s possible to get much more than the recommended allotment of 5,000 IUs (international units) a day — which many experts think is too high anyway.
Postmenopausal women, in particular, seem to be susceptible to vitamin A overload. Studies show that women whose intake was higher than 5,000 IUs had more than double the fracture rate of women whose intake was less than 1,600 IUs a day.
What to do: Switch to low-fat or nonfat dairy products only, and eat egg whites rather than whole eggs (all the vitamin A is in the yolk). Also check your multivitamin, and if it’s high in vitamin A, switch to one that isn’t.
Think of alcohol as a calcium-blocker; it prevents the bone-building minerals you eat from being absorbed. And heavy drinking disrupts the bone remodeling process by preventing osteoblasts, the bone-building cells, from doing their job. So not only do bones become weaker, but when you do suffer a fracture, alcohol can interfere with healing.
What to do: Limit your drinking to one drink a day, whether that’s wine, beer, or hard alcohol.
6. Hydrogenated oils
Recent studies have found that the process of hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oil into the solid oils used in commercial baking, destroys the vitamin K naturally found in the oils. Vitamin K is essential for strong bones, and vegetable oils such as canola and olive oil are the second-best dietary source of this key nutrient, after green leafy vegetables. However, the amounts of vitamin K we’re talking about are tiny here — one tablespoon of canola oil has 20 micrograms of K, and one tablespoon of olive oil has 6 micrograms, as compared with 120 micrograms in a serving of spinach.
What to do: If you’re eating your greens, you don’t need to worry about this too much. If you’re a big lover of baked goods like muffins and cookies, bake at home using canola oil when possible, and read labels to avoid hydrogenated oils.