How Did Our Brains Evolve To Equate Food With Love?

March 01, 2013 4:26 PM
 
At some point in human evolution, our brains became wired to remember food events and the people associated with them.

If food is love, Americans must love their kids a lot. About one-third of children and adolescents in the U.S. are overweight or obese.

And our emotional response to food may be one of the reasons so many kids eat so much, according to a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. The poll found that in more than a quarter of families, food is considered an important way to show affection.

That result is no surprise to Carol Cassie, who lives in Great Falls, Mont. For many years she ran a restaurant there called Mama Cassie’s, where the front of each menu proclaimed, “Food is love.”

“I wanted my customers to know as soon as they came into the restaurant that I was caring for them,” says Cassie, who is also the author of Mama Cassie’s “Food is Love!” Cookbook.

 

Customers at the restaurant really did feel like family, says Erin Duffy Osswald, who used to work at the restaurant and edited the cookbook.

“People would get engaged at Mama Cassie’s,” Osswald says. “They would satisfy their pregnancy cravings on turtle cake from Mama Cassie’s. They would bring their babies into Mama Cassie’s later, and Carol would walk around the restaurant with them.”

Cassie says she loved running the restaurant. But looking back, she says, there’s something that concerns her. Some of her customers, including whole families, didn’t seem to know when to stop.

“They’ll have big plates of whatever, like a big pork sandwich that was just oozing with cheese and pulled pork and the meat sauce,” Cassie says. And then, “they would have a piece of cheesecake afterward.”

Just plain gluttony? Or did customers at Mama Cassie’s think more food meant more love?

Love is probably at least part of the answer, scientists say, because of the way humans have evolved.

You can see some aspects of human food behavior in our animal ancestors, including marmoset and tamarin monkeys. These monkeys are like people in that fathers and siblings help raise the offspring, and all the adults make a big deal of providing food to youngsters in the family, says Adrian Jaeggi, a biological anthropologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The older monkeys give a special call when they find a special treat, like insects that are “big and juicy and very nutritious,” Jaeggi says. Then they adopt the “food offering posture” to present the young monkeys with the treat.

Chimpanzees, an animal ancestor that’s even closer to humans, take the food-is-love concept to the next level. Chimps share food with individuals outside their own families.

The sharing often involves a precious food: meat. And a chimp who makes a kill doesn’t share the meat with everyone, Jaeggi says, only the chimps in his group who are long-term allies. Sharing food appears to be a way of strengthening the alliance and ensuring future cooperation, he says, not unlike a business lunch.

Bonobos are another of our close relatives in the ape world. But unlike chimpanzees, bonobos live in groups run by females, and emphasize cooperation over competition. And like people, Bonobos use food to make new friends, not just to keep old ones.

Researchers showed this in a series of experiments done at the Lola Ya Bonobo sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The experiments involved a plate of food. “What we call it is the giant salad bowl, so we have apples, bananas, peanuts, papaya and cucumber all mixed together,” says Jingzhi Tan, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University.

Researchers give the salad bowl to a bonobo in a locked enclosure. The bonobo has two neighbors in adjacent enclosures who don’t have food. One of the neighbors is a bonobo they know, and one is a stranger.

Only the bonobo with the salad bowl can unlock the doors that would let a neighbor in. “So basically we create a situation that they can eat or they can share,” Tan says.

And most of the time, the bonobo with the salad bowl did share — but not with the bonobo they already knew. “The majority of the time, they chose to share with the stranger,” Tan says.

What was most surprising, though, is that often the stranger who had just gotten access to the food would let the third bonobo in, and all three bonobos would eat together, Tan says.

And that brings us back to humans. It’s not clear how long our human ancestors have been sharing food. But it appears that the social importance of food took a big leap forward about 1 million or 2 million years ago, says John Allen of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California. He’s the author of The Omnivorous Mind, a book about how our relationship with food has evolved.

That’s when humans began hunting really big animals, like mammoths, Allen says. The animals were so big that they couldn’t be eaten by a small number of people. “That in effect provides a little arena for sharing and social exchange,” Allen says.

In other words, the feast is born. Then when agriculture came along, we added harvest feasts, which eventually led to Thanksgiving.

And somewhere along the way, our brains became wired to remember these food events and the people associated with them, Allen says. It’s probably no accident, he adds, that the digestive system produces hormones like insulin, leptin and ghrelin that act on the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays a key role in memory.

Allen says the gut-brain connection probably exists because our ancestors were more likely to survive if they remembered clearly where they got their last good meal. And he says this same link between gut and brain is probably why he responds the way he does to a dish his mother used to make him called ketchup fried rice.

“Every time I make it I think of my mother,” he says. Allen says he makes ketchup fried rice for his own children in hopes that they will always associate the dish with their father.

And if his kids really like that ketchup fried rice, another system in the brain will kick in to help create a lasting memory. It’s the brain’s dopamine system, which rewards us with feelings of pleasure.

The dopamine system becomes active in people when they look at someone they love or a favorite food, Allen says. So in our brains, at least, food really is connected to love and a sense of well-being.

And until recently that was probably a purely good thing, Allen says.

“There’s never really been any incentive ever to limit calories,” he says. “You know when you had a feast, when the food was there you ate it.”

A lot of us still think that way. In the poll NPR did with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, about half of families said they treat celebrations as a time to take a break from concerns about overeating.

And in a world where it’s possible to feast every day, that can be a problem. But it doesn’t have to be, says Cassie, the cookbook author in Great Falls.

“You make that one day of celebration, or a weekend if you’re going away for a weekend,” she says. “But then you go back on Monday and you say, ‘OK, now we have to get back to real life.’ “

HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES TO THANKSGIVING CLASSICS | Livestrong.com

Healthy Alternatives to Thanksgiving Classics
Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
A traditional Thanksgiving meal is high in calories, fat and sugar. You can significantly improve the nutrition profile of your holiday meal with some easy substitutions and alternatives. You do not have to sacrifice flavor to eat healthy foods, even on a holiday, nor do you have to spend all day in the kitchen. In your recipes, always use light versions of the ingredients, cut back on the butter and sugar and try these alternative choices.

Cocktails and Hors d’ouvres

Many of the calories and fat you consume on Thanksgiving starts before the main event, in the form of fatty crackers and cheese, sweet and sour meatballs, fried pastry goodies, salted nuts and more. Appetizers should be light but flavorful. Buy whole grain crackers that are low in fat or tasty crispbreads with sesame seeds toasted on top. Have reduced fat cheese and hummus on hand for topping and spreading. Have a wide variety of tasty raw veggies and reduced-fat dip and/or roasted vegetables (roast in your oven) such as red bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Brush them with olive oil before roasting. For beverages, serve diet ginger ale or low-calorie champagne punch. Mix low-calorie fruit punch with chilled champagne and serve out of a large punch bowl (keep it iced).

Saavy Side Dishes

Instead of regular low-fiber, high fat, nutrient-poor regular stuffing, make a homemade fruit stuffing. Start with whole wheat bread, cubed (12 slices). Toss in a cup of chopped cranberries, a half cup of raisins, 2 tablespoons of sugar or sweetener, a cup of low-sodium broth (chicken or vegetable), 2 tablespoons of light margarine, melted (such as Promise light), grated lemon and orange peel and a 2 tablespoons of fruit juice. Bake in a casserole dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray for about 35 minutes at 325 degrees.

Instead of regular mashed potatoes or candied yams, serve simple sweet potatoes, baked to perfection. If you just have to make the old fashioned green bean casserole, lose most of the fried onion rings and make it with non-fat cream of mushroom soup or served herbed green beans. Toss green beans that have been steamed or microwaved with a bit of olive oil and some of your favorite savory herbs, such as tarragon. Top with sauteed sweet red onions.

Simply Sweet and Light

What makes pies so fattening is the sugar and the pastry crust. You can significantly decrease the fat and calories by switching from a double crust fruit pie or pecan pie to pumpkin pie (and save 300 calories on average). You can make it even lighter by serving a pumpkin pudding or mousse instead. Make your own homemade version of vanilla pudding (you can make it in the microwave, just use evaporated skim milk or low-fat milk in place of whole milk or cream). When you’ve prepared your pudding, fold in a can of pumpkin (depending upon how much pudding you’ve made you may require more or less than one 15-oz can). Do not use canned pumpkin pie mix, just the regular pumpkin. Chill it for at least 2 hours. Then serve it in fancy dessert glasses. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon sugar on top with a dollop of light whipped topping. If you want to serve more than one item for dessert, such as cookies, serve a variety that is naturally lower in fat, such as gingersnaps.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/27684-alternatives-thanksgiving-classics/#ixzz2CgEzsOUs

NYC passes ban on supersized sugary drinks: NBC

By NBC News and wire reports

The New York City Board of Health voted Thursday in support of the ban on large, sugary drinks on Thursday, in a controversial move to reduce obesity.

The ban is an unprecedented 16-ounce limit on sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, delis and movie theaters.

By a vote of eight members in favor, with one abstaining, the mayoral-appointed city health board outlawed sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces nearly everywhere they are sold, except groceries and convenience stores. Violators of the ban, which does not include diet sodas, face a $200 fine. Continue reading

The Healthiest Foods at the Grocery Store | Women’s Health Magazine

Your Groceries Are About to Get A Whole Lot Healthier

These supermarket finds are convenient and time-saving, but not at the expense of your abs or your taste buds. Here, sneak a peak at some of this year’s 125 Best Packaged Foods:

(click through below to women’s health’s website)

via The Healthiest Foods at the Grocery Store | Women’s Health Magazine.

Top 10 Worst GMO Foods for Your GMO Foods List

Personal note – while I post about reducing pesticides and GMOs in your diet, and I do try myself, I can’t say I’m perfect. Still I think it’s good to have these things in the back of your mind. For me I’m moving slowly with the change as I find ways that work for myself.

by Elizabeth Renter

Genetically modified foods have been shown to cause harm to humans, animals, and the environment, and despite growing opposition, more and more foods continue to be genetically altered. It’s important to note that steering clear of these foods completely may be difficult, and you should merely try to find other sources than your big chain grocer. If produce is certified USDA-organic, it’s non-GMO (or supposed to be!) Also, seek out local farmers and booths at farmer’s markets where you can be ensured that the crops aren’t GMO. Even better, if you are so inclined: Start organic gardening and grow them yourself. Until then, here are the top 10 worst GMO foods for your “do not eat” GMO foods list.

Top 10 Worst GMO Foods for Your GMO Foods List

1. Corn: This is a no-brainer. If you’ve watched any food documentary, you know corn is highly modified. “As many as half of all U.S. farms growing corn for Monsanto are using genetically modified corn,” and much of it is intended for human consumption. Monsanto’s GMO corn has been tied to numerous health issues, including weight gain and organ disruption.

2. Soy: Found in tofu, vegetarian products, soybean oil, soy flour, and numerous other products, soy is also modified to resist herbicides. As of now, biotech giant Monsanto still has a tight grasp on the soybean market, with approximately 90 percent of soy being genetically engineered to resist Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. In one single year, 2006, there was 96.7 million pounds of glyphosate sprayed on soybeans alone.

3. Sugar: According to NaturalNews, genetically-modified sugar beets were introduced to the U.S. market in 2009. Like others, they’ve been modified by Monsanto to resist herbicides. Monsanto has even had USDA and court-related issues with the planting of it’s sugarbeets, being ordered to remove seeds from the soil due to illegal approval.

4. Aspartame: Aspartame is a toxic additive used in numerous food products, and should be avoided for numerous reasons, including the fact that it is created with genetically modified bacteria.

5. Papayas: This one may come as a surprise to all of you tropical-fruit lovers. GMO papayas have been grown in Hawaii for consumption since 1999. Though they can’t be sold to countries in the European Union, they are welcome with open arms in the U.S. and Canada.

6. Canola: One of the most chemically altered foods in the U.S. diet, canola oil is obtained from rapeseed through a series of chemical actions.

7. Cotton: Found in cotton oil, cotton originating in India and China in particular has serious risks.

8. Dairy: Your dairy products may contain growth hormones, since as many as one-fifth of all dairy cows in America are pumped with these hormones. In fact, Monasnto’s health-hazardous rBGH has been banned in 27 countries, but is still in most US cows. If you must drink milk, buy organic.

9. and 10. Zucchini and Yellow Squash: Closely related, these two squash varieties are modified to resist viruses.

The dangers of some of these foods are well-known. The Bt toxin being used in GMO corn, for example, was recently detected in the blood of pregnant women and their babies. But perhaps more frightening are the risks that are still unknown.

With little regulation and safety tests performed by the companies doing the genetic modifications themselves, we have no way of knowing for certain what risks these lab-created foods pose to us outside of what we already know.

The best advice: steer clear of them altogether.

via Top 10 Worst GMO Foods for Your GMO Foods List.

7 Foods That Help Protect Your Skin from Harmful UV Rays

Before you soak up some sun now through Labor Day, maybe try munching on a few from the article below!

You know that a lot of foods are really good for you, but did you know that several actually have properties that can help protect your skin from the sun? Considering the intense rays many of us are exposed to this summer, everything helps, right?

Here’s a little more about how this works, and what foods to add to your diet for a little extra skin protection.

Science Indicates Foods Can be Skin Protective

According to the University of Maryland Medical System, eating certain foods can help protect against skin cancer. Though we don’t yet have scientific tests that have measured and compared various foods and their ability to protect the skin, research has shown that antioxidants may offer protection.

A study published in 2010 also came to similar conclusions, though it added that food nutrients can protect not only against skin cancer, but photo-oxidative damage that leads to skin aging. Scientists noted in the study that antioxidant vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, in addition to essential fatty acids, have demonstrated protective properties. They added that the presence of these nutrients in the traditional Greek-style Mediterranean diet may have contributed to the low levels of melanoma there, despite the population’s exposure to high levels of solar radiation.

“The increasing incidence of skin cancer despite the use of externally applied sun protection strategies,” said Niva Shapira, lead author, “alongside research showing that nutrients reduce photo-oxidative damage, suggest nutritional approaches could play a beneficial role in skin cancer prevention.”

Some of the Best Choices

Though many foods may offer sun protection, below are a few of those with the most promise so far, though we’re always finding out about new super foods.

1. Apples. Surprised? A Japanese study actually found that apple polyphenol extracts, particularly flavonids called “procyanidins,” inhibit skin cancer in mice. Another polyphenol, quercetin, protected DNA from human skin cancer cells.

2. Green Tea. Yes, it’s a beverage, but it’s got powerful antioxidants. The University of Maryland Medical Center says it contains polyphenols, potent antioxidants that have shown in studies to help prevent skin tumors from starting or growing.

3. Dark Chocolate. Another reason to indulge now and then, dark chocolate has powerful antioxidants that may help protect from sunburn.

4 and 5. Olive Oil and Tomato Paste. Did you need another reason for using these health-filled goodies, often critical in flavorful pasta sauces? Here it is. German studies found that those subjects consuming about 2 teaspoons of olive oil and about ¼ cup of tomato paste daily for 10 weeks experienced 35 percent less reddening when exposed to sunlamps than those who didn’t eat these items. In addition, research from the University of Michigan found that lycopene and other antioxidants in tomatoes can help prevent the skin from becoming sunburned.

6. Broccoli. Research from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine exposed areas of volunteers’ skin to intense ultraviolet light one to three days after applying a broccoli-sprout extract to the same area. The extract was all but rubbed away by the time of the exposure, but those areas had, on average, 37 percent less redness and inflammation. Simultaneous animal studies showed that mice treated with the extract had significantly fewer and smaller skin tumors after exposure to UV rays. Scientists say that broccoli turns on the body’s natural cancer-fighting machinery, and once turned on, it works for days. The lead researcher of the study recommended eating one-half cup of broccoli each day to protect against skin cancer.

7. Green, Leafy Vegetables. This includes kale, spinach, and chard. According to an Australian study, these could decrease skin cancer risk. Scientists studied over 1,000 adults living in Australia over an 11-year period, and found that increasing intakes of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 41 percent decreased risk of skin cancer. These vegetables are rich in folic acid, which plays a key role in DNA synthesis and repair. In addition, researchers also examined those participants that previously had skin cancer, and found that those who did had a 55 percent decrease in skin cancer with increasing intakes of green leafy vegetables. “Our findings show that higher intakes of green leafy vegetables may help prevent Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) tumors among people who have prior skin cancers,” the researchers stated.

via 7 Foods That Help Protect Your Skin from Harmful UV Rays / Cinco Vidas.

8 foods you should really get at your farmer’s market… by Emily Main

I know I know… I should really be posting some original stuff. 🙂 We’ve had company in town and I’m trying to get through my Organic Chem online (self taught… awful) course before I startup Anatomy and Phys 2 in a couple of weeks.

I did think this article was really interesting though and wanted to share!

8 Foods You Should Always Buy at the Farmers’ Market

You get more than just better taste and fresher produce when you buy these eight foods at your local farmers’ market.
BY EMILY MAIN

Fresh, Local & Fair

Farmers’ market food tastes better, simple as that. But that’s not the only reason you should start hitting up your weekly market as much as you can. Whether you care about your health or the health of the planet, there are dozens of reasons to support local farmers, including buying vegetables that have higher antioxidant levels and haven’t been fumigated with toxic chemicals. When you buy these eight foods in particular, you’re supporting less-toxic food production and could even save a farm or two, all while getting the best-tasting food you can find!

Tomatoes

Surprised? Probably not. A bland, mealy grocery-store tomato will never rival a fresh-from-the-farm-market tomato. And there are more benefits to local tomatoes than just taste. In Florida, where a third of the country’s fresh tomatoes are grown, slavery of illegal immigrants on tomato farms is a persistent problem. And farmers in that state apply five times as much fungicide and six times as much pesticide as farmers in California, which supplies another third of the country’s fresh tomatoes.

Carrots

You’ll never find anything but standard orange carrots at a supermarket, but you’ll find them in every hue, from purple to white, at local farm stands. Those colorful varieties, particularly purple carrots, have higher antioxidant values than commercially grown orange carrots, according to a study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. They’re also better for the planet. The energy required to store carrots when they’re out of season or being shipped long distances accounts for 60 percent of the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with carrot production.

Berries

Grab a pint of local strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, and you’re doing the planet a favor. Because they perish quickly and have relatively short shelf lives, berries are often shipped from farm to distribution center via air freight, the most fossil-fuel-guzzling form of food shipment, from South America, Mexico, Canada, and even as far off as Poland. You’re also doing domestic growers a favor: According to Food & Water Watch, the United States imports $220 million worth of strawberries, while selling just $1.5 million worth of domestically grown berries.

Onions

Oddly enough, buying local onions could help save a farm. A few years ago, the U.S. government loosened trade restrictions with Peru, and the result has been a glut of imported onions that has dropped the price local farmers can get for their crops by half. As a result, domestic onion growers have slowly been cutting back on the number of onions they grow. All of Peru’s onion exports aren’t doing farmers there any good, either. The primary pesticide used on Peru’s onion crops, methamidophos, has been linked to sperm damage in farmers.

Asparagus

Sales of this crop have also benefited from our neighbors to the south. Asparagus imports from Peru have grown steadily over the past decade and now account for 51 percent of the asparagus we consume. The vegetable is now Peru’s largest agricultural export. The USDA requires all shipments of fresh asparagus from Peru to be fumigated with the dangerous pesticide methyl bromide, a neurotoxic chemical suspected of causing cancer. If that’s not bad enough, the chemical shortens asparagus’s shelf life, so it doesn’t even taste good by the time it arrives at the store! The best-tasting stalks are at the farmers’ market, even if the asparagus season is fleeting.

Peaches

Domestic, imported. Organic, nonorganic. Peaches just don’t taste good any other time of year than in midsummer, the height of their season, because they don’t hold up well during transport. Another benefit to buying local? Pesticides. According to the Environmental Working Group’s Shoppers Guide to Produce, peaches are treated with more pesticides than any other fruit. Buying local means you can grill the farmer to see which chemicals, if any, he or she uses.

Grass-Fed Beef and Dairy

Like organic food, the environmental impact of animal products has more to do with how they were raised than how far they traveled—which is why buying local beef and dairy is important. Animals raised entirely on grass produce 8 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions and 30 percent lower ammonia levels than corn-fed animals raised in confinement. Since the term grass-fed isn’t always reliable (it’s not well regulated), local venues allow you to ask farmers direct questions about how their animals were raised.

Anything Organic

Despite the feel-good factor of supporting local farms, where your food is grown accounts for just a fraction of its environmental impact. It’s how your food is grown that matters most. According to agricultural researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, 11 percent of your food’s environmental impact comes from food miles, whereas 83 percent comes from how it was grown, particularly when it’s grown with the greenhouse-gas-intensive fertilizers and pesticides used on chemical farms.

Kale Recipes: 5 Ways to Make Kale Less Boring | Women’s Health Food Blog: Get easy recipes, healthy food swaps, and cooking products

I thought today’s article from Women’s health was funny as last night I tried to give my husband a baby kale salad and he picked at the cucumbers from it and tossed the kale. I don’t mind the taste, but here are some recipes for those who do!

Kale is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. The leafy green is very low in calories (36 calories per cup) and is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K. It’s also a good source of fiber and minerals such as manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron.

Problem is, kale isn’t the sexiest veggie in town. If you’re like me, you routinely toss a bunch of it into your grocery basket, but don’t quite know what to do with it once you’re home. Because of its bitter taste and a texture that requires a learned appreciation, kale’s not first on my list of go-to salad ingredients. Luckily, there are countless (meat-free!) ways to doctor up this good-for-you green. Try these five kale recipes and learn how to incorporate it into your next breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack.

Healthy High C Smoothie Kale for breakfast? You bet. With a powerful blender and sweet ingredients like kiwis and orange juice, you won’t notice kale’s taste or texture, but you’ll still reap all the nutritional benefits.

Cheese and Kale Quesadillas Put a healthy spin on a typically bad-for-you dish opting for whole-wheat tortillas, a small amount of feta cheese, and kale.

Kale and Lentil Salad With so much flavor from ingredients like bell peppers, tomatoes, and sunflower seeds, this salad doesn’t even need dressing. Try it with some chopped seasonal fruits such as apples, grapes, strawberries, or blueberries.

Creamy Potato, Kale, and Leek Soup Use late summer and early fall to perfect the hearty soup recipes you’ll enjoy all winter long.

Roasted Kale Chips Health food disguised as junk food? We’ll take it. Try this brilliant snack idea from chef Tyler Florence.

via Kale Recipes: 5 Ways to Make Kale Less Boring | Women’s Health Food Blog: Get easy recipes, healthy food swaps, and cooking products.

8 Foods You Think Are Healthy But Aren’t | SmashFit

8 Foods You Think Are Healthy But Aren’t

Wed, 08/01/2012 – 2:25am | by heather

They’re fast, convenient and you’ve been sold by their packaging that their product is somehow healthy. But tricky marketing and packaging may be keeping you stuck eating foods that seem healthful, but really aren’t. You can’t Undo Unhealthy by adding a few healthful ingredients when the sugar, fat and chemicals far out weigh what’s actually good for you.

8 Foods You Think Are Healthy But Aren’t

1. 100 Calorie pack.

Calories have little to do with health. 100 calories of processed chemicals still aren’t good for you.

2. Whole Wheat Bread.

Most of the time it’s just white bread with carmel coloring. Look for Whole GRAIN bread and even then, read the label carefully. Simply adding whole grain to processed bread does not bring health wh

3. Granola Bars.

Most are just processed grain with too much fat and sugar to be heathy.

4. Trail mix.

Although the ingredients might be healthy, nuts and dried fruit are high in fat, and sugar and it doesn’t take much to overdo it. A serving size is barely a handful and when you’re hungry, a handful generally wont’ cut it.

5. Packaged oatmeal.

The flavor packets are mashed and processed with added sugar and chemicals. You’re best to go with the old fashioned whole oats and add your own natural flavors like honey and fruit.

6. Foods that say they’re gluten-free.

They may be, but this is only important to people with gluten allergies and it does not mean the food doesn’t have sugar and fat. It’s become a buzz word that people associate with “healthy” but it means nothing more than there is no gluten in the food.

7. Frozen yogurt.

People go to the frozen yogurt places and fill up their cups thinking it’s somehow healthier than ice cream but it’s not. Some may be lower in fat but it has the same amount of sugar and sometimes more.

8. Vitamin water.

A frustrating beverage because the label makes you think you’re doing something good for your body when in fact if you take a close look at the label, there are about 13 grams of sugar and a list of almost unreadable ingredients. If you look even closer, that bottle is really 2.5 servings so it’s not 13 grams of sugar you’re downing, it’s over 30 grams of sugar.

The more knowlegized you are about what you’re eating the more power you have behind your fitness effort. Don’t waste your time with the wrong foods

by Heather Frey

via 8 Foods You Think Are Healthy But Aren’t | SmashFit.

A Reason to Choose Organic Tomatoes Year-Round – Shape Magazine

A Reason to Choose Organic Tomatoes Year-Round

Monday, 7/23/2012 at 11:56:30 AM

By Jennipher Walters

Ah, summertime. When the living is easy, flip-flops are the norm, weekends are spent at the pool, and the tomatoes are extra fresh and delicious. Seriously, is there anything tastier than a tomato straight from the garden? While many of us are more likely to enjoy food from the garden or Farmer’s market in the summer (especially those in areas with cold winters!), new research suggests that farm-fresh organics may be the way to go year-round.

A recent study out of the University of Barcelona found that organic tomatoes contain higher levels of phenolic compounds —organic molecules found in many veggies that have health benefits — than conventional tomatoes. Previous research has found that organic tomato juice and ketchup contain higher polyphenol content than juice and ketchup made from conventionally grown tomatoes, but this was the first time tomatoes were studied before being processed for tomato products. Polyphenols have been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular and degenerative diseases, and even some forms of cancer.

So why are the organic tomatoes so much better than traditionally farmed ones? It comes down to fertilizer, according to the study. Organic farming doesn’t use nitrogenous fertilizers, and as a result, plants respond by activating their own defense mechanisms, which increases the levels of all antioxidants, study author Anna Vallverdú Queralt told ScienceDaily.

Continue reading