bite my words

Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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Follow Friday: All of the low-carb diet blogs

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When the news about the new “low-carb diet is the best long-term weight loss diet” came out I fleetingly considered writing about it. In the moment that I took to think about it, pretty much everyone else had covered it. So… Rather than reinvent the wheel. Here are some links to posts that say pretty much everything I would have said (and then some):

James Fell on Six Pack Abs: New Study: What is low carb good for

Karmal Patel on Examine.com: Is low-carb really the best weight loss diet?

Yoni Freedhoff on Weighty Matters: What I actually learned by reading that low-carb is best study

Julia Belluz on Vox: The one thing you need to know about weight loss and diet studies

There’s more, but that’s probably more than enough reading for now. I’m off to The Canteen for a sandwich. See you Monday!

 


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Who’s afraid of a little PSL?

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Last week the “Food Babe” made headlines again. Not about the edible yoga mats; this time she’s discovered the dark caramel truth about Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes. The headline read: You’ll Never Guess What’s In A Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (Hint: You Won’t Be Happy). Ooh, I thought to myself, what could it be? Probably bugs. It had to be something nasty to incur such a sensational headline. I took the bait, I clicked on the link. Even though I don’t even like pumpkin spice lattes the suspense was just too much for me, I had to know. Turns out, it’s caramel colouring and high-fructose corn syrup (probably, as the nutrition information the Babe obtained was conflicting) as well as “Monsanto” milk (Canadians and Europeans you can ignore that part). Ummm… I could have guessed that.

I’m not saying that these are good ingredients to be ingesting, but I’m certainly not surprised that they’re in pumpkin spice syrup. I was even less surprised to learn that pumpkin is not one of the ingredients. Did anyone actually think that Starbucks used pumpkin spice syrup that contained actual pumpkin?? By the name alone, it implies that it’s the spices used in many pumpkin goods, not pumpkin itself. Would anyone be surprised to learn that the apple, blackberry, orange, or any other fruity-flavoured syrup didn’t contain any of those fruits? Frankly, I’d be surprised if they did contain actual fruit.

Yes, Starbucks PSL is not a health beverage. It’s a liquid dessert.

 


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Dr Oz: regular dose of bull

A part of me says that I should stop blogging about terrible advice given by Dr Oz. I know that I’m largely preaching to the choir. However, as long as he keeps spewing incorrect, and potentially dangerous advice, I can’t help but hope that some of his devotees will stumble across my rantings and question his assertions. So… What has he done now? Check out this tweet:

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In the past, aloe vera latex was used to treat constipation. However, due to concerns about dependency, it was removed from the market in 2002 (1). Aloe vera juice may also be effective as a laxative (2); however, there are additional concerns (3) to take into consideration before making blanket recommendations. As many pregnant women suffer from constipation, I think that it’s important to mention that consumption of aloe vera (juice or gel or latex) is not recommended during pregnancy as there is a risk of uterine contractions.

Considering that there are numerous concerns surrounding the supplemental use of aloe vera, and many known safe and effective ways to improve regularity, the recommendation that people drink aloe juice daily to relieve constipation is baffling. Stick to the tried and true: increase fibre (through whole grains, seeds (such as ground flax and chia, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, and possibly a supplement) and water intake, try prune juice, exercise, coffee (if you are able to consume caffeine). Some medications and medical conditions may cause constipation. If this is something that you’re experiencing on a regular basis, you should check with your doctor to see if a medication can be changed or if there is an underlying condition causing your constipation.

 


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Don’t let them eat KD; only the best for the poor

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I had a mixed reaction reading this article about a food bank rejecting “unhealthy” food items last week. Of course, I think that they should reject opened packages and half-eaten items. It’s extremely insulting that anyone would “donate” things like a package of opened pepperoni sticks to the food bank. A donation box is not synonymous with a garbage can. However, removing items such as Kraft dinner or candy is not right.

 

It’s understandable that the food bank staffer(s) doing this think that people relying on food banks deserve to have healthy food. I’m sure that this culling of donations is done with the best of intentions. However, it’s not the place of the food bank staff to decide what food items are suitable for patrons. They should certainly remove any potentially hazardous expired, damaged, or opened items. They should not remove items based on perceived nutritional shortcomings.

 

Everyone, including those in need, are deserving of a treat now and then. The food bank patrons can decide whether or not they wish to take a package of Swedish Berries. That’s not a decision to be made by anyone else. Removing these items in advance (and what’s being done with them? Are they just being pitched?) reeks of elitism. Also, considering that most donation boxes are only able to accept non-perishable food items, this leaves limited donation options. People who are donating may not be wealthy either, but they may be able to afford an extra box of Kraft Dinner to donate when it goes on special.

 

Another problem with the proclamation that food bank patrons deserve healthy food is that many people to not have the facilities or abilities to cook even basic meals at home. Do you know what to do with a turnip? A can of chickpeas? (Okay, I know that you’re not the masses). Many people don’t. Donating many of these items to food banks simply leads to more waste. I don’t want to discourage you from donating these things. Unfortunately, the reality is that these are often the last items to go.

 

If you really want to make a donation that will help, donate money or time to your local food bank or community kitchen.