Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Oh My, There’s a Warning on that Food Dye!

My Oh My, There's a Warning on that Food Dye!

Posted: 21 Jul 2010 04:53 AM PDT

Starting today, European consumers can better protect their children from risky food. The EU nations will require foods manufactured with artificial colors to present the following warning on the label

"May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children"

This warning applies to 6 artificial food colorings that have been found to negatively affect neurological activity in children. If you've been wondering why your son or daughter go wild after eating a snack, perhaps it's not a sugar rush, rather a food dye thing.

This decision is a death notice for these colorings. No food manufacturer will want such a turnoff on their products. Which means they'll resort to natural, more expensive colorings.

Four of the 6 colors that EFSA has marked are widely used in the US. They are regarded as safe by the FDA and may be found in thousands of products across all supermarket categories. These are:

  1. sunset yellow (E110) – known in the US as Yellow #6
  2. tartrazine (E102) – aka Yellow #5
  3. carmoisine (E122) – aka Red #3
  4. allura red (E129) – aka Red #40

Some of the dyes are also suspected carcinogens.

This is great news for Europeans, who have governments that have a higher propensity to look out for consumers' needs compared to the US. Our leadership is more business friendly. While we could debate the ideal form of government and corporate relationships for days on end, we prefer not to go there in this blog post.

What's clear is this – more is being done to protect kids across the Atlantic puddle than here at home. As parents, we should be concerned. Let's hope this new labeling regulation serves as a wake up call to the FDA and Congress, so that our kids can be better protected too. House Rules Committee Chair Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) has already made a statement on this issue.

What to do at the supermarket:

It's hard to imagine that labeling laws will change here anytime soon. Right now, YOU have to be vigilant about the products you buy for your family.

Scan ingredient lists of products such as cereals, yogurts, cakes, snacks, soups, and more for numbers next to colors (Yellow 5, Red 40. etc…) . If you see them, move on to an alternative product. If a product is too bright and colorful, and it's not a fresh fruit or veggie, be suspicious.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Only in America: Candy Maker to Sponsor Our Dietary Advice [Thanks Hershey!]

Only in America: Candy Maker to Sponsor Our Dietary Advice [Thanks Hershey!]

Posted: 20 Jul 2010 05:00 AM PDT

The American Dietetic Association announced yesterday that it has inked a partnership with Hershey Company. The exact sum of the sponsorship was not disclosed. From the press release:

The Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition develops and supports cutting-edge scientific research for products and technologies to provide consumers with a range of snacking choices, and will collaborate with ADA on consumer and health professional initiatives including an innovative, national consumer-focused nutrition education campaign.

"The campaign will spotlight the expertise and experience of registered dietitians, the nation's front-line food and nutrition professionals, in helping people achieve a healthy, personalized, balanced eating plan." read more…

Did you understand that?

We didn't.

Sounds like high words for "Take our big money and don't forget us when it comes to consumption recommendations for candy. We'll provide scientific data to back up our propaganda through your dietitians' mouths."

Note that the sponsorship agreement is not directly with the company but with the Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition, founded in 2005 to promote the chemistry and health benefits of cocoa, chocolate, nuts and other ingredients. By "other ingredients", do they means corn syrup and sugar? artificial colors? preservatives?

The ADA is already sponsored by health promoting behemoths such as PepsiCo, The Coca Cola Company, and Mars. Why add another candy maker to the mix?

What you need to know:

First off, let us clarify that we love chocolate and candy. Our kids do too. Hershey has been a part of our life since we were babies, whether with Kisses, chocolate bars, Reeses Pieces, Jolly Rancher, or Twizzlers. While we rarely purchase these brands anymore, we won't have a heart attack if our kids enjoy these and similar snacks here and there.

However, as the kids grow older and rely less on our sphere of influence, there are more and more opportunities for them to get snacks (school, friends, parties, personal allowance, Internet, TV..). We'd like for them to eat less candy, not more, if it was up to us. But when dietitians in an already obese nation get sponsored by a candy company, you've got to wonder what support system we the parents will get.

Instead of a very simple message – "less candy" – we'll hear "moderation", "balance", "chocolate is healthy" and other messages that help nudge consumers to buy more snacks instead of less. (And they ain't gonna be buying Hershey's Special Dark, either.)

And that folks, is the endgame for all the snack companies – to sell us more of their products, not less. If they have to spend millions to set up a scientific research center and contribute to doctors and dietitians as well, so be it. Marketing expenses.

One parting thought. When you log into the ADA website, one of the first things you see in huge letter is the following copy:

Food and Nutrition Information you can Trust

By accepting funding from the corporations least contributing to American nutrition, how can the ADA convince consumers that it really is to be trusted?

RDs, ADA members and non-members, please chime in with your thoughts.

Why Diet Soda Makes You Fat

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fwd: Marrow registry: Thanks to you, we won the Pepsi Refresh Grant

Yay to us!

-Dr. Tang

National Marrow Donor Program

Member Update

   REGISTRY MEMBER E-NEWS                                     JULY 2010

Race matters for patients and donors

People of all racial and ethnic backgrounds need transplants. Diagnosis with a life-threatening disease can happen to anyone. But when it comes to matching for transplant, a patient is more likely to find a donor from the same racial or ethnic background.
Learn more >

Transplant recipients Mary, Anna, Ricky and Hend. In 2009, the National Marrow Donor Program facilitated nearly twice as many transplants for people from racially or ethnically diverse heritage than we did five years ago, but some patients still face a challenge in finding a match.

Unusual twist of fate: Erma's donor story

Erma Hightower

When Erma’s husband Franco was told he needed a marrow transplant, Erma got involved right away, organizing to recruit members of her community to the Be The Match Registry®. She never guessed that she would be called as a match for someone else even before her husband received his transplant.
Read Erma’s story >

Be The One Run launches in Atlanta, Long Beach and Minneapolis

Go to >
Post the badge >

We’re excited to announce the Be The One RunTM, a fundraising run/walk event. With a 5K, a 1K fun run and a Tot Trot, Be The One Run is perfect for the entire family and for people of all fitness levels.

Be The One Run events will raise funds to support transplant research, help patients with uninsured costs and grow the Be The Match Registry.

You're invited
In its first year, Be The One Run will feature run/walk events in three cities:

Atlanta – Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010

Long Beach, Calif. – Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010

Minneapolis/St. Paul - Spring 2011

Get Involved
You can walk, run, sponsor a participant or volunteer to give patients a second chance at life. Participation from registry members like you is crucial to make the run a success!

If you're not nearby, you can still participate. Visit to support a runner or make a contribution to support the effort. Or post a badge to help us spread the word across the country.

Watch for Be The One Run to expand to more cities - maybe yours - next year.

Did you know?  NMDP is among the top 20 largest nonprofits in Minnesota

Be The Match Registry is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), with nearly 700 people at the NMDP’s Coordinating Center in Minneapolis and 38 locations across the United States. What keeps almost 700 employees busy every day doing their part to help save lives?  Find out >

Donor Center #: 00x
Donor Record #: xxxxxx

12561 JULY 2010


Update Your Information

We won! Thank you for voting 

We are pleased to announce that Jimmie Johnson and Be The Match Foundation’s Transplant Grants for Kids won the $100,000 Pepsi Refresh grant last month.

See Jimmie's thank-you video

We couldn’t have done it without you. When we asked, you voted and put us over the top. Thank you from Be The Match, and from the patient families you’ve helped.

Nationally designated African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month

Across the nation, we're promoting donor awareness in recognition of African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month. Learn more >

Tell us what you want in your e-news 

Since we launched our e-newsletter more than a year ago, hundreds of thousands of you have read the e-news each month, joined us on Facebook, followed us on Twitter, watched our videos on YouTube and invited your friends to the cause.

We want to be sure we’re giving you the stories and information that are important to you. Please take this short survey to tell us your areas of interest.

Thank you for being a part of the registry and part of our online community.

 Find us on:

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Improvement in Autism with Chiropractic - a Case Study

A case study appearing in the July 5, 2010 issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health,  documented the case of a 6 year old boy who was diagnosed with Autism by a neurologist, and was helped by chiropractic care. According to the case study authors, autism is defined as a brain development disorder that causes impaired social interaction, decreased communication ability, restrictive repetitive or stereotypical behaviors, and decreased cognitive and learning abilities.

In reviewing previous studies, the authors note that the number of autism cases in Britain in 2005 was reported to be 16.8 per 10,000 children, while in the United States in that same year, the rate was 22.0 per 10,000. The latest numbers released in a report by the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH), which is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services, shows that as of 2009, a full 1% (1 per 100) of all US children currently have an autism spectrum disorder.

In this case a 6 year old boy was brought to a chiropractor's office with autism which had been diagnosed by a neurologist one year earlier. The boy exhibited loss of social skills, inability to make eye contact, constant head rocking, and a jabbering type of speech pattern with minimal vocalizations. He had been subjected to a battery of tests including an EEG and MRI along with neurological consultations. All tests were negative for brain pathology and therefore an autism diagnosis was made. The boy had received all his vaccinations and was on daily Ritalin. He was getting twice weekly speech therapy by the school psychologist, who also confirmed the diagnosis of autism.

When the boy was brought to the chiropractor's office his mother was asked to fill out an Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) in order to have a point of comparison for the monitoring of future clinical changes in the boy. This test is designed to record the patient's communication/speech abilities, sociability, sensory/cognitive awareness, and health/physical behavior. The chiropractic examination showed significant restriction of neck movement and multiple areas of spinal misalignments. It was determined that multiple vertebral subluxations were present.

Care was initiated for specific correction of the subluxations. After the 4th visit the boy's mother mentioned that her son no longer rocked his head and was jabbering less. After his 6th chiropractic adjustment, the case study documented that the child began spelling out the words on video cassette covers, which is something he had never done before. By the 7th week the mother reported that the child began to vocalize his name, as well as the words that he had been spelling. Improvement continued and by the 12th week of care it was reported that the child showed improvement in school and was performing exceptionally well in math and was reading in class.

In their conclusion, the authors of this study wrote, "This case demonstrates that there is a possible link between chiropractic care and the reduction of autistic signs and symptomatology, as seen by the improvements in subjective and objective findings."

U.S. Health Care System: Worst in the world?

Multiple news sources have reported on a study released on June 23, 2010 by the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based private foundation focused on health, concluding that American healthcare ranks highest in cost and last in performance among seven industrialized nations. The above headline comes from one of those stories that was published on June 24, 2010 in "The Week".

A June 23, 2010 Reuters news story starts off with the ominous statement, "Americans spend twice as much as residents of other developed countries on healthcare, but get lower quality, less efficiency and have the least equitable system." The Commonwealth Fund's president, Karen Davis PhD., stated, "On many measures of health system performance, the U.S. has a long way to go to perform as well as other countries that spend far less than we do on healthcare, yet cover everyone. It is disappointing, but not surprising, that despite our significant investment in health care, the U.S. continues to lag behind other countries."

The factors looked at in the Commonwealth report were quality, efficiency, access to care, equity and the ability to lead long, healthy, productive lives. The study noted that Americans spend  $7,290 per person for healthcare which is twice as much as any other country studied in the survey conducted in 2007. The study reported that New Zealanders spent the least at $2,454 per person, while in the other 5 countries the amount spent on healthcare per person was $3,357 for Australians, $3,895 for Canadians, $3,588 for Germans, $3,837 for the Dutch and $2,992 for the British.

According to a June 23, 2010 Wall Street Journal article on the report, there are several key findings that need improving. They are:

  • The U.S. ranked last in measures of safe care (an indicator of quality), cost-related access problems, efficiency, equity and the long, healthy lives measure.
  • A full 54% of U.S. adults with chronic health conditions said they didn't fill or complete a prescription, get a recommended test or treatment or visit a doctor when needed due to cost.
  • Of those same adults with chronic problems, 19% said they'd visited an ER for something that a regular doctor could have handled had one been available. In Germany and the Netherlands, that rate was 6%.
  • The U.S. has the highest "mortality amenable to health care" rate (from 2002-03), at 110 per 100,000 population. Australia was lowest, with 71 per 100,000. (That rate refers to the number of deaths before age 75 from ischemic heart disease, diabetes, stroke and bacterial infections.)
  • We ranked no higher than fourth on anything — for effective care and patient-centered care.

In the Commonwealth study executive summary, the authors clearly state the problems with the US healthcare system when they say, "The U.S. health system is the most expensive in the world, but comparative analyses consistently show the United States underperforms relative to other countries on most dimensions of performance. Among the seven nations studied—Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States—the U.S. ranks last overall, as it did in the 2007, 2006, and 2004 reports."

Resolution of Otitis Media in a Nine Month Old Undergoing Chiropractic Care

 - Case Study

A case study involving a 9-month-old boy with a history of recurring ear infections, who was subsequently helped with chiropractic, was documented in the June 21, 2010 issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health.

The study author points out that the most frequent reason for physician visits for children under the age of fifteen in the United States, is otitis media, more commonly known as ear infections. Acute otitis media is the most common infection for which antibiotics are prescribed for children in the United States. The study also notes that by 3 months of age approximately 10% of infants will have had an episode of acute otitis media, and by 3 years of age 50% of children will have had more than three episodes of acute otitis media.

In this case the nine month old boy was brought by his mother to a chiropractor for evaluation and possible care. The case history noted that the boy was having recurring ear infections and there was consideration given to possibly having tubes placed in his ears. The child was born via cesarean section, and had no history of falls or accidents. The mother states that the ear infections started after vaccinations at the age of four months. The boy was suffering from episodes of the ear infections about every three weeks and was taking antibiotics regularly.

The chiropractic examination noted that in addition to the ear infections there was muscle tightness in the boy's neck. Thermal scans also showed asymmetry in the neck and a determination was made that multiple subluxations were present. Subluxations (a.k.a. Vertebral Subluxations) are when one or more of the bones of the spine (vertebrae) move out of position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves. Spinal nerves are the nerves that come out from between each of the bones in the spine. This pressure or irritation on the spinal nerves then causes those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves. This can then cause changes in function in various areas of the body.

Specific chiropractic adjustments were initiated according to the findings of subluxation. The study reports that by the second week of care the young boy's mother reported that the child was pulling at his right ear and was not sleeping well. Upon examination, both ears were clear, with some wax but no fluid. By the third week of chiropractic care the child stopped pulling on his ears and seemed to be doing well.

A re-examination was performed in the fifth week of care documenting that the boy had not had any ear infections since the start of care. His mother reported that her son's naps were longer and he was getting better quality sleep. After seven weeks the boy was brought to his Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor, who confirmed that his ears were clear and there was no need for tubes, or antibiotics.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wish-Bone Salad Dressing Mistakes Consumers for Chumps

If the FDA sees this they will shot WishBone down!  I'd NEVER buy their salad dressings anyway...

Wish-Bone Salad Dressing Mistakes Consumers for Chumps

Posted: 11 Jul 2010 05:19 AM PDT

Wish-Bone salad dressing is upping the ante with an ad campaign and a new label on the bottles. The label includes the following bold statement:

Naturally helps
BETTER ABSORB vitamins A & E
from salad with the oils in Wish-Bone

Wow, that sounds great. Absorb more vitamins, from the oils in Wish-Bone, how did they manage that? What kind of special oil does Wish-Bone use? What a scientific breakthrough!! How come we didn't hear anything about this in the news?

Folks, sorry to be the party pooper – no news here. All and any fats help the body more readily absorb certain vitamins. Wish-Bone is not special in any which way, aside from a creative marketing department. Vitamins A,D,E, and K are known as fat soluble (vs. water soluble B vitamins). This means that consuming foods rich in these vitamins, together with a small amount of fat, can help more be absorbed by our body.

That's why it makes sense, aside from the flavor added, to have some oil in your salad, or to have some source of fat in whatever main dish you are having. Even the small amounts of fat from a serving of chicken or lean beef should suffice.

But if you do go ahead and purchase Wish-Bone salad dressing here's what else you'll get – lots of unnecessary and some potentially harmful ingredients. From Robusto Italiano's ingredient label:

Water, Soybean and Canola Oils, Distilled Vinegar, Sugar, Salt, Garlic (Dehydrated), Onion (Dehydrated), Red Bell Peppers (Dehydrated), Maltodextrin (Corn), Spices, Xanthan Gum, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Natural Flavor, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Calcium Disodium EDTA (Used to Protect Quality), Caramel Color, Annatto Extract (Color)

Just for fun, let's imagine the marketing messages Wish-Bone could come up with for these prime ingredients:

made with  Water
to help drive manufacturing cost down
and Wish-Bone revenue Up!


made with  Soybean Oil
because olive oil is too expensive
even if that's the true Italian recipe


Sugar and salt
in amounts you wouldn't dare add at home!


made with stuff from laboratories
like Maltodextrin, Xanthan Gum, Autolyzed Yeast Extract


Now with Calcium Disodium EDTA*
On the FDA priority list to be studied for mutagenic & reproductive effects!
*May cause intestinal upsets, muscle cramps, kidney damage, and blood in urine.

You get the drift. Salad dressing is a huge business where there probably shouldn't be one, not if this is the stuff that's pushed to consumers.

Our friend Jennifer Huget at the Washington Post looks at the bright side – if using a favorite dressing encourages you to eat more vegetables, that's a good thing.

What to do at the supermarket:

How about making you own Italian Dressing – it's really  easy! Mix olive oil with some lemon juice, add a sprinkle of salt and pepper and presto – you're ready. Invest in a good olive oil and some lemons, not a bottle of chemicals.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Harvard, USDA: Soda Tax Will Cut Obesity

A soda tax can help fight the obesity that these useless drinks causes.  Then again, nobody forced us to drink it.

Harvard, USDA: Soda Tax Will Cut Obesity

Posted: 07 Jul 2010 04:37 AM PDT

It may take a year or two or five or twenty, but eventually some sort of levy will be placed on the liquid candy purveyed by the  beverage industry. In the past few weeks, two additional voices were heard in the argument for consumer (and legislator) mindshare on this issue.

A Harvard experiment, in a hospital cafeteria, tried various intervention models to get people to drink less sugary drinks. Posters with warnings had no effect, but raising prices by 35% caused a 26% decrease in sales.

And yesterday, the USDA's Economic Research Service published a report [download PDF], with a bottom line conclusion that

a 20% increase in prices could cause an average reduction of 37 calories per day, equivalent to 3.8 pounds of body weight over a year for adults, and an average of 43 calories per day, or 4.5 pounds over a year, for children. Given these reductions in calorie consumption, results show an estimated decline in adult overweight prevalence (66.9 to 62.4 percent) and obesity prevalence (33.4 to 30.4 percent), as well as the child at-risk-for-overweight prevalence (32.3 to 27.0 percent) and the overweight prevalence (16.6 to 13.7 percent).

What you need to know:

The beverage industry has argued that a soda tax is too simplistic and ineffective. It has spent millions on TV commercials, lobbying efforts, and other PR activities to stop this tax which would mean hundred of millions of dollars of revenues evaporating overnight should a federal law be enacted.

They've played the "poor" card, citing that this tax will be most harmful to the lower socio-economic brackets, thus trying to gain sway as "for the people". This is a dirty little trick, because it is a disproportionate percentage of poor people who suffer the most from obesity and other food related illnesses. And guess what, they drink the most soda pop too.

We wonder if the American Dietetic Association will weigh in on this matter, although it's highly doubtful it can voice a strong opinion against an industry whose top players (Coca Cola Co., PepsiCo) are its corporate sponsors. After all, it's not polite to bite the hand that feeds.

Going back to the Harvard study, it's interesting to note that the "education" intervention had no effect on buyer choice. Perhaps this explains why Coca Cola spends millions in education programs, for example the American Academy of Family Physicians. The group received $600,000 last year "to educate consumers about the role of their products in a healthy lifestyle."

While the soda tax may have some merit, we've suggested a more creative approach, which you can read about here.

What to do at the supermarket:

Taxes or not, the average US family of four spends over $500 a year on sugary soft drinks. Imagine if you could free yourself of that expenditure by switching to tap water. In most parts of the country, tap water is safer to drink and more heavily regulated than bottled water. By making this one switch, a family can lose weight, reduce plastic pollution, and save money to buy more fresh produce.

IS your family up to the challenge, or is it too taxing?