Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Golf Nutrition Is Not An Oxymoron - Listen Up

Golf nutrition is still a relatively new concept. However, everybody knows that leading athletes in the NBA and NFL quite often have special diets and specific nutrition programs to help them perform at their peak.

The reasons who golf nutrition is still in it’s’ infancy in the golf game is easy to see. To start with nutrition in sports goes hand in hand with the training and physical exercise program for the particular sport. In golf, exercises are still a very new concept although many professionals have already embraced it as an important part of their golf game.

For years golf has had the image of being a leisure sport to be played by the rich and the sort of people who do not just carelessly break into a sweat. Then came golfers of the likes of the legendary Tiger Woods. For the first time in the sport, leading golfers were very young and extremely physically fit. Since then, the game has never been the same again and as exercise continues to take center stage golf nutrition has to grow alongside it.

Golf nutrition is usually part and parcel of a golf exercise program and is really designed to enhance energy and strength even as the exercise program works to build up the golfer.

The sort of golf nutrition that will become common will not be very different from what we see in other sports. The idea will be to have a diet of energy foods and foods that will help in building up strength and endurance for a better golf game.

So the typical nutrition recommendations that go with weight training for strength will be found in the special golf nutrition that leading experts are recommending to golfers.

This is the direction that the wonderful game of golf has taken and it seems that there is no turning back for any golfer who wants to improve their game. You just have to consider golf nutrition alongside your current golf exercise program.

About The Author: Mike Pedersen is one of the top golf fitness experts in the country, author of the Ultimate Golf Fitness Guide, and founder of several cutting-edge online golf fitness sites. Take a look at his just released golf fitness dvds at his golf training site - Perform Better Golf.

Good Hair Day: Nutrition for Healthy Hair

Good Hair Day: Nutrition for Healthy Hair
By Kristin Johnson

If you're one of the many vacationers this summer who dread split ends and dried-out hair after a day at the beach or pool, or find that the sun isn't kind to healthy tresses, or discover that the partial weave doesn’t look as good as in the magazines, there's a better alternative to hair extensions, minoxidil, and high-priced salons. You may be having a bad hair day because of what you put in your mouth.

Studies by hair loss prevention researchers at MMT Research Inc. found that bad hair days abound when we don't get enough vitamins or protein. Bad nutrition causes hair loss (androgenic alopecia). In the April 2003 issue of Better Nutrition, zinc, for example, inhibits high levels of DHT, a form of testosterone that is linked to hair loss. Other inhibitors are amino acids such as L-arginine, essential fatty acids such as omega-3 (found in fish), lecithin, B vitamins, lutein, sulfur, iron, and minerals that help your magnificent mane. You can find these hair helpers in:

• Beans
• Whole grains
• Eggs
• Salmon
• Raw nuts
• Flax and pumpkin seeds
• Berries
• Dark greens

Salmon and greens also provide calcium for your teeth, so you're helping your hair and teeth. Berries are high in cancer-preventing antioxidants, and dark greens also contain lutein, which halts blindness and cataracts. So when you eat all of the above, you'll have a great hair day and look like you just had a day at a luxury spa.

In 2004, Dr. Nicholas Perricone’s bestselling book, THE PERRICONE PROMISE, outlined a diet for hair that differs from the 2003 recommendations. Perricone’s hair diet may seem as much of a fairy tale as Rapunzel. (Remember, though, Rapunzel’s mom wisely decided to eat greens during pregnancy!) Dr. Perricone’s top ten hair superfoods are no secret to health enthusiasts:

• Acai berries that contain powerful antioxidants
• Allium foods—onions, garlic, leeks, and shallots with powerful bioflavonoids
• Barley rich in niacin, which helps hair growth
• Wheatgrass, spirulina, and algae that cleanse the hair of toxins and provide essential fatty acids to build hair protein
• Buckwheat (eat your pancakes), which Perricone says is richer in vitamins, flavonoids, and minerals than other grains (except barley)
• Beans and lentils, for the same reasons as the 2003 study
• Hot peppers, which contain capsaicin that stops the pain so you don’t tear your hair out!
• Nuts and seeds, which contain essential proteins, phytochemicals and fatty acids to build healthy tresses sand reduce signs of aging
• Sprouts—they’re great for a youthful body, including the body in your hair
• Yogurt and kefir, which are said to promote longevity and health in people who live in the Caucasus Mountains in Russia—remember Julie Christie’s gorgeous hair in “Doctor Zhivago”?

While you can eat your way to healthy hair, many “hair formula” supplements crowd the market. In general, a multivitamin containing biotin, especially multivitamins for women, will strengthen your hair, skin and nails. Be sure to compare vitamin supplements, and make sure you don’t get an excess of vitamin D, which can lead to cancer as well as too much calcium that your body can’t process. Don’t count on supplements to save your hair.

Also, don’t expect to look like you’ve just stepped out of a hair commercial after changing your diet. You’ll start to see healthier hair three months after you improve your regimen. You can jazz up your beauty routine with juicing, dehydrating, and sprouting. Better nutrition will help color-treated hair maintain its bounce, too. And drinking water is always a great idea. You’re worth it!

Kristin Johnson is health editor for LivingRight.com, your source for health-improving appliances such as the Blendtec Kitchen Mill Grain Mill and the Green Star Juicer. Visit http://www.livingright.com for health appliances and ideas on living right.

Looking at Nutrition and BMI

If you are trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy weight, you should understand the connection between the energy your body takes in and the energy your body uses. Energy is taken in through food you eat and beverages you drink. Energy is used by activities performed. To lose weight you have to use more calories than you take in. To maintain, you have to match the calories you take in with those that you use. Eating a healthy diet and being physically active can help you reach either goal.

The number of calories you need each day depends on your age, activity level and whether you are trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight. Your diet should include the most nutritious foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat free or low fat milk and dairy products. Foods should be rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients.

You also must be physically active. Regular physical activity is important to your overall health and fitness. It can help you control your body weight. Aim to be physically active at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes a day. Increase the intensity or amount of time you exercise to have greater health benefits. Children and teenagers should be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day.

To see if you are at a healthy weight you can measure your BMI (Body Mass index). To calculate your BMI, multiply your weight in pounds by 704, and then divide by the square of your height in inches. For example: if you weigh 162 pounds and are 69 inches tall, your BMI is (162 x 704) divided by (69 x 69)= 23.9 which is normal.

Underweight= <18.5
Normal weight= 18.5-24.9
Overweight= 25-29.9
Obese= BMI of 30 or greater

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Sarah Verneke runs http://www.Fitness-Infomercial.com where she looks at health and fitness infomercials, and

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Nutrition: Tips for Improving Your Health


Nutrition: Tips for Improving Your Health

What is good nutrition?

Good nutrition is one of the keys to good health. Good nutrition means eating foods that have a lot of vitamins and minerals in them, and foods that are not high in fat. For most people, foods that are high in fiber are a good choice, and almost everyone should eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

Good nutrition also means watching how much you eat, so that you are not eating more calories (energy) than you use up each day.

Do I need to change what I eat?

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may need to talk about nutrition with your doctor:

Has your doctor talked with you about a medical problem or a risk factor, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol?
Did your doctor tell you that this condition could be improved by better nutrition?
Do diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or osteoporosis run in your family?
Are you overweight, or have you gained weight over the years?
Do you have questions about what kinds of foods you should eat or whether you should take vitamins?
Do you think that you would benefit from seeing a nutritionist? (A nutritionist is a registered dietitian who specializes in nutrition counseling.)
Will it be hard to change my eating habits?

Probably, but even small changes can improve your health a lot. The main point is to keep trying to eat the right foods. Stay in touch with your doctor and nutritionist, to let them know how you are doing. Here are a few suggestions to help you improve your eating habits:

Find the strong points and weak points in your current diet. Do you eat three to five servings of fruits and vegetables every day? Do you get enough calcium? Do you eat high-fiber foods regularly? If so, good! You are on the right track. Keep it up. If not, you can learn the changes you need to make.
Make small, slow changes, instead of trying to make big, fast changes. Small changes will be easier to stick with.
Every few days, keep track of your food intake by writing down everything you ate and drank that day. Use this record to help you see if you need to eat more from food groups such as vegetables and fruits, or less from food groups such as meat and poultry.
Think about asking for help from a nutritionist if you have not already done so--especially if you have a medical problem that requires you to follow a special diet.

more ...





Nutrition is the study of the relationship between diet and states of health and disease. Absent appropriate nutrition, functioning will be compromised and diseases can take hold, potentially resulting in death.

Between the extremes of optimal health and death from starvation or malnutrition, there is an array of disease states that can be caused or alleviated by changes in diet. Both deficiencies, excesses and imbalances in the diet can have have negative impacts on health, resulting in disease states such as scurvy, obesity or osteoporosis. Also, excess ingestion of elements that have no apparent role in health (e.g. lead, mercury, PCBs, dioxins) may have toxic and potentially lethal effects depending on dose.

The science of nutrition attempts to understand how and why specific aspects of diet have specific influences on health.

Contents [hide]
1 Overview
2 History and recent developments
3 Nutrition and health
4 Nutrition and longevity
5 Nutrition, industry and food processing
6 Policy advice and guidance on nutrition
7 Current issues and challenges
8 See also
9 References
10 External links
11 Disclaimer

The human body comprises chemical compounds such as water, amino acids (proteins), fatty acids (lipids), nucleic acids (DNA/RNA), and carbohydrates (e.g. sugars). These compounds in turn consist of elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus, and may or may not contain minerals such as calcium, iron, and zinc. Minerals also ubiquitously occur in the form of salts and electrolytes. All of these chemical compounds and elements occur in various forms and combinations (e.g. hormones/vitamins, phospholipids, hydroxyapatite), both in the human body and in organisms (e.g. plants, animals) that humans eat.

The human body must necessarily comprise those elements that humans eat and absorb into the bloodstream. The digestive system, except in the unborn fetus, is the first step in helping to make the different chemical compounds and elements in food available for the trillions of cells of the body. In the digestive process of an average adult, about seven (7) litres of liquid, known as digestive juices, exit the internal body and enter the lumen of the digestive tract. The digestive juices help break chemical bonds between ingested compounds as well as modulate the conformation and/or energetic state of the compounds/elements. Yet many compounds/elements are absorbed into the bloodstream unchanged, though the digestive process helps to release them from the matrix of the foods where they occur. Any unabsorbed matter is eliminated in the feces. Only a minimal amount of digestive juice is eliminated this way; the intestines reabsorb most of it otherwise the body would rapidly dehydrate (hence the devastating effects of persistent diarrhea).

Study in this field must take into careful account the state of the body before ingestion and after digestion as well as the chemical content of both the food and the waste. The specific types of compounds and elements that are absorbed by the body can be determined by comparing the waste to the food. The effect that the absorbed matter has on the body can be determined by finding the difference between the pre-ingestion state and the post-digestion state. The effect may only be discernible after an extended period of time in which all food and ingestion must be exactly regulated and all waste must be analyzed. The number of variables (e.g. 'confounding factors') involved in this type of experimentation is very high. This makes scientifically valid nutritional study very time-consuming and expensive, which accounts for why a proper science of human nutrition is rather new.

In general, eating a variety of fresh, whole (unprocessed) foods has proven hormonally and metabolically favourable compared to eating a monotonous diet based on processed foods. In particular, fresh, whole foods provide higher amounts and a more favourable balance of essential and vital nutrients per unit of energy, resulting in better management of cell growth, maintenance, and mitosis (cell division) as well as of appetite and energy balance. A generally more regular eating pattern (e.g. eating medium-sized meals every 3 to 4 hours) has also proven more hormonally and metabolically favourable than infrequent, haphazard food intake.

History and recent developments
The role of nutrition in health was recognized by the ancient Greeks - and probably also much earlier - who advised that food should be one's medicine. Especially Eastern cultures have for more than two thousand years used certain foods (e.g. herbs) as remedy. Clearly these early insights were based on simple observations that nutrition - aside from the obvious need to eat sufficient energy - has a direct effect on the health of the organism (though the placebo effect may have overstated its significance in some cases).

In the 18th century, many sailors on long journeys died from scurvy; indeed, some naval ships lost more men through illness than through enemy action. The cause of this was not understood until it was discovered that adding fresh limes to the ship's supply of preserved food seemed to boost the sailors' resistance to the illness and resulted in fewer deaths. The existence of separate compounds/elements in food that are essential for survival had been discovered, and this discovery of vitamin C, which prevents scurvy, spurred the search for other so-called 'essential nutrients' (see next section). 'Vitamins' were first written about in 1912 by Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, who was knighted and received the 1929 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his achievements.

A hidden epidemic gradually emerged in the post World War II years, where non-communicable endemic illnesses began to flourish, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Although medical drugs are used large scale to manage this development, more and more people are becoming aware that the post-war modern lifestyle (e.g. poor choice of foods, less physical activity) may be the primary cause of such so-called lifestyle-related diseases. Despite this realization, however, lifestyle- and obesity-related diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent all around the world (see Nutrition, industry and food processing).

In the latter half of the 20th century, technological developments and a world-wide epidemic of lifestyle related diseases has spurred detailed research into the specific health effects of different foods. For example, in the years following the Second World War, the prevalence of heart disease in Western countries began escalating and came under the scrutiny of nutritional researchers around the world, especially in the USA. An increased intake of fat and cholesterol was thought to be a major cause, but later epidemiologic research has demonstrated that the prevalence of heart disease has continued to increase markedly despite a significant decrease in fat intake. Further, none of the performed randomized controlled trials assessing the role of dietary cholesterol or saturated fat in heart disease convincingly support the hypotheses that dietary cholesterol (unoxidized) and saturated fat (from fresh, whole foods) in and of themselves promote heart disease.

Later research has revealed the potential adverse effects on (heart) health of trans fatty acids, which were introduced to the human diet large scale with the new technology of lipid hydrogenation. Partially hydrogenated oils were added to many processed foods and helped make possible the production of solid margarine from cheap liquid vegetable oils, and helped increase the shelf-life of many foods. In the late 90’s the harmful effects of excess trans fatty acids in the diet came into the attention of the public and governments began restricting or banning its use.

While one ‘camp’ of researchers focused on the hypothetical benefits of reduced intake of fat and cholesterol, another ‘camp’ emphasized the possible benefits (initially for diabetics) of reducing intake of carbohydrates and thereby preventing excess blood sugar raise and stimulation of the fundamental, all-important hormone insulin. In the early 80's, researchers began to systematically measure the amount of sugar in subjects’ blood before and after consumption of foods containing a standard amount of digestible carbohydrate (e.g. 50 grams). The resulting comparable values of the blood sugar raising potential of different carbohydrate foods are ranked in the Glycemic Index. In general, the Glycemic Index demonstrates that eating processed, carbohydrate-dense foods (higher GI) results in a higher blood sugar raise and insulin release than does eating whole, unprocessed carbohydrate-containing foods (lower GI). In more recent years, researchers have focused more on the glycemic load which factors in the amount of carbohydrate eaten, whereas the glycemic index only compares the blood sugar raising potential of foods with a set amount of carbohydrate (i.e. eating large amounts of low GI foods can result in a higher blood sugar raise and insulin stimulation than eating small amounts of high GI foods).

The recent advances in molecular biology and gene technology, for example with the use of 'knock-out' animal models where specific genes are inactivated, have enabled a more informative study of how nutrition 'communicates' with our genes and thus with the chief metabolic hormones. Since the Human Genome Project was completed, the focus has shifted towards study of the proteome. The study of hormones and other cell-to-cell signalling molecules is receiving special attention.

The previous mechanistic view of food merely as fuel thus falls short. Foods and their diverse components are capable of affecting the control of metabolism directly via hormones and genes, to the effect that different foods can for example affect energy expenditure to varying degrees, also when energy intake is constant.

Nutrition and health
Ill health can be brought about by an imbalance of nutrients, producing either an excess or deficiency which in turn affects body functioning in a cumulative manner. Moreover, because most nutrients are, in some way or the other, involved in cell-to-cell signalling (e.g. as building block or part of a hormone or signalling 'cascades'), deficiency or excess of various nutrients affects hormonal function also indirectly. Thus, because they largely regulate the expression of genes, hormones represent a link between nutrition and how our genes are expressed, i.e. our phenotype. The strength and nature of this link are continually under investigation, but observations especially in recent years have demonstrated a pivotal role for nutrition in hormonal activity and function and therefore in health.

Mineral and/or vitamin deficiency or excess may yield symptoms of diminishing health such as goitre, scurvy, osteoporosis, weak immune system, disorders of cell metabolism, certain forms of cancer, symptoms of premature aging, and poor psychological health (including eating disorders). The list goes on and on; for reference, see Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease by Shils et al.

As of 2005, twelve vitamins and about the same number of minerals are recognized as 'essential nutrients', meaning that they must be consumed and absorbed - or, in the case of vitamin D, alternatively synthesized via UVB radiation - to prevent deficiency symptoms and death. Certain vitamin-like substances found in foods, such as carnitine, have also been found essential to survival and health, but these are not strictly 'essential' to eat because the body can produce them from other compounds. Moreover, thousands of different phytochemicals have recently been discovered in food (particularly in fresh vegetables), which have many discovered and yet to be discovered properties including antioxidant activity (see below). Other essential nutrients include essential amino acids, choline and the essential fatty acids.

In addition to sufficient intake, an appropriate balance of essential fatty acids - omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids - has been discovered to be crucial for maintaining health. Both of these unique 'omega' long-chain unsaturated fatty acids are substrates for a class of eicosanoids known as prostaglandins. Alpha-linolenic acid (LNA) serves as the building block for the less-inflammatory PGE3 series of prostaglandins, whereas linoleic acid (LA) (and specifically its product, arachidonic acid, AA) serves as the building block for either the PGE1 (anti-inflammatory) or the PGE2 (pro-inflammatory) series. (The omega-6 fatty acid LA is the building block for the omega-6 fatty acid AA, but AA can also be obtained directly in the diet). The conversions of AA into the respective prostaglandins (PGE1/PGE2) have importantly been discovered to be under hormonal control, as certain hormones such as insulin and glucagon regulate the function of the enzymes responsible for the conversions. Because different types and amounts of food eaten/absorbed affect insulin, glucagon and other hormones to varying degrees, not only the amount of omega-3 versus omega-6 eaten but also the general composition of the diet is now known to determine health implications in relation to essential fatty acids, inflammation (e.g. immune function) and mitosis (i.e. cell division).

Several lines of evidence indicate lifestyle-induced insulin malfunction, referred to as insulin resistance, as a decisive factor in many disease states. Researchers have for long assumed that overfatness/obesity causes insulin resistance, which in turn causes type 2 diabetes (virtually all obese and diabetic individuals have marked insulin resistance). More recent evidence has however demonstrated that insulin resistance may well be the cause of overfatness/obesity as well as type 2 diabetes and possibly other lifestyle-related diseases. For example, it has been demonstrated that appropriate exercise, more regular food intake and reducing glycemic load all can reverse insulin resistance in overfat individuals, which means that lifestyle rather than the fact of being fat promotes insulin resistance.

Nonetheless, overfatness can unfavourably alter hormonal and metabolic status seemingly especially via the hormone leptin, and a vicious cycle may occur in which insulin/leptin resistance and overfatness aggravate one another. There is debate to what extent different dietary factors, such as intake of processed carbohydrates, total protein-, fat-, and carbohydrate intake, intake of trans fatty acids, and low intake of micronutrients, contribute to develop insulin- and leptin resistance. Most importantly, insulin- and leptin resistance are both strongly linked to chronic inflammation, which in turn is strongly linked to a variety of adverse developments such as arterial microinjuries and clot formation (i.e. heart disease) and over-expressed cell division (i.e. cancer).

A persistent high intake of processed carbohydrate-dense foods (high glycemic load) resulting in repeatedly high release of insulin and leptin seems to readily make cells less responsive to both of these crucial hormones (perhaps especially in combination with high intake of saturated fat/trans fatty acids and sedentary living). This type of negative feedback is ubiquitous in any biological system, all of which depend on appropriate hormonal regulation for survival and proper function. However, certain cell types appear to more readily become resistant to the effects of certain hormones (e.g. insulin, leptin) than others; certain fat cells (e.g. abdominal subcutaneous fat) may respond well to the fat-storing signal of insulin while other cells fail to properly receive/transduce the signal meant to induce important cellular and systemic effects. Why certain cells develop resistance to certain signalling molecules remains unclear, but it seems plausible that hormone resistance serves to protect cells from excess circulating amounts of the given hormone. Analogous to the way modern man-made pollution may potentially overwhelm the environment's ability to maintain homeostasis, the recent explosive introduction of high Glycemic Index- and processed foods into the human diet may potentially overwhelm the body's ability to maintain homeostasis and health (as evidenced by, for example, the obesity epidemic).

Antioxidants are another recent discovery. As cellular metabolism/energy production requires oxygen, potentially damaging (e.g. mutation causing) compounds known as radical oxygen species or free radicals may form. For normal cellular maintenance, growth, and division, these free radicals must be sufficiently neutralized by antioxidant compounds, such as certain vitamins (vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K and the aforementioned phytochemicals as well as other compounds, some of which the body itself produces. Different antioxidants are now known to function in a cooperative network, e.g. vitamin C can reactivate free radical-containing glutathione or vitamin E by accepting the free radical itself, and so on.

It is now also known that the human digestion system contains a population of a range of bacteria which are essential to digestion, and which are also affected by the food we eat. The role and significance of the intestinal bacterial flora is under investigation.

Nutrition and longevity
Lifespan is somehow related to the amount of food energy consumed: this was first systematically investigated in the seminal study by Weidruch, et al. (1986). A pursuit of this principle of caloric restriction followed, involving research into longevity of those who reduced their food energy intake while attempting to optimize their micronutrient intake. Perhaps not surprisingly, some people found that cutting down on food reduced their quality of life so considerably as to negate any possible advantages of lengthening their lives. However, a small set of individuals persists in the lifestyle, going so far as to monitor blood lipid levels and glucose response every few months. See Calorie Restriction Society.

Underlying this research was the hypothesis that oxidative damage was the agent which accelerated aging, and that aging was retarded when the amount of carbohydrates (and thereby insulin release) was reduced through dietary restriction.

However, recent research has produced increased longevity in animals (and shows promise for increased human longevity) through the use of insulin uptake retardation. This was done through altering an animal’s metabolism to allow it to consume similar food-energy levels to other animals, but without building up fatty tissue. (Bluher et al, 2003)

This has set researchers off on a line of study which presumes that it is not low food energy consumption which increases longevity. Instead, longevity may depend on an efficient fat processing metabolism, and the consequent long term efficient functioning of our organs free from the encumbrance of accumulating fatty deposits. (Das et al, 2004) Thus, longevity may be related to maintained insulin sensitivity. However, several other factors including low body temperature seem to promote longevity also and it is unclear to what extent each of them contribute.

Nutrition, industry and food processing
Since the Industrial Revolution some two hundred years ago, the food processing industry has invented many technologies that both help keep foods fresh longer and alter the fresh state of food as they appear in nature. Cooling is the primary technology that can help maintain freshness, whereas many more technologies have been invented to allow foods to last longer without becoming spoiled. These latter technologies include pasteurisation, autoclavation, drying, salting, and separation of various components, and all appear to alter the original nutritional contents of food. Pasteurisation and autoclavation (heating techniques) have no doubt improved the safety of many common foods, preventing epidemics of bacterial infection. But some of the (new) food processing technologies undoubtedly have downfalls as well.

Modern separation techniques such as milling, centrifugation, and pressing have enabled upconcentration of particular components of food, yielding flour, oils, juices and so on, and even separate fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Inevitably, such large scale upconcentration changes the nutritional content of food, saving certain nutrients while removing others. Heating techniques may also reduce food's content of many heat-labile nutrients such as certain vitamins and phytochemicals, and possibly other yet to be discovered substances. Because of reduced nutritional value, processed foods are often 'enriched' or 'fortified' with some of the most critical nutrients (usually certain vitamins) that were lost during processing. Nonetheless, processed foods tend to have an inferior nutritional profile than do whole, fresh foods, regarding content of both sugar and high GI starches, potassium/sodium, vitamins, fibre, and of intact, unoxidized (essential) fatty acids. In addition, processed foods often contain potentially harmful substances such as oxidized fats and trans fatty acids.

A dramatic example of the effect of food processing on a population's health is the history of epidemics of beri-beri in people subsisting on polished rice. Removing the outer layer of rice by polishing it removes with it the essential vitamin thiamin, causing beri-beri. Another example is the development of scurvy among infants in the late 1800's in the United States. It turned out that the vast majority of sufferers were being fed milk that had been heat-treated (as suggested by Pasteur) to control bacterial disease. Pasteurisation was effective against bacteria, but it destroyed the vitamin C.

As mentioned, lifestyle- and obesity-related diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent all around the world. There is little doubt that the increasingly widespread application of some modern food processing technologies has contributed to this development. The food processing industry is a major part of modern economy, and as such it is influential in political decisions (e.g. nutritional recommendations, agricultural subsidising). In any known profit-driven economy, health considerations are hardly a priority; effective production of cheap foods with a long shelf-life is more the trend. In general, whole, fresh foods have a relatively short shelf-life and are less profitable to produce and sell than are more processed foods. Thus the consumer is left with the choice between more expensive but nutritionally superior whole, fresh foods, and cheap, usually nutritionally inferior processed foods. Because processed foods are often cheaper, more convenient (in both purchasing, storage, and preparation), and more available, the consumption of nutritionally inferior foods has been increasing throughout the world along with many nutrition-related health complications.

Policy advice and guidance on nutrition
Most Governments provide guidance on good nutrition, and some also impose mandatory labelling requirements upon processed food manufacturers to assist consumers in complying with such guidance. Current dietary guidelines in the United States are presented in the concept of a [food pyramid]. There is no apparent consisteny in science-based nutritional recommendations between countries, indicating the role of politics as well as cultural bias in research emphasis and interpretation.

Current issues and challenges
Challenging issues in modern nutrition include:

'Artificial' interventions in food production and supply:

Should genetic engineering be used in the production of food crops and animals?
Are the use of pesticides, and fertilizers damaging to the foods produced by use of these methods (see also organic farming)?
Are the use of antibiotics and hormones in animal farming ethical and/or safe?
Sociological issues:

How do we minimise the current disparity in food availability between first and third world populations (see famine and poverty)?
How can public advice agencies, policy making and food supply companies be coordinated to promote healthy eating and make wholesome foods more convenient and available?
Do we need nutritional supplements in the form of pills, powders, liquids, etc.?
How can the developed world promote good worldwide nutrition through minimising import tariffs and export subsidies on food transfers?
Research Issues:

How do different nutrients affect appetite and metabolism, and what are the molecular mechanisms?
What yet to be discovered important roles do vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients play in metabolism and health?
Are the current recommendations for intake of vitamins and minerals generally too low?
How and why do different cell types respond differently to chronically elevated circulating levels of insulin, leptin, and other hormones?
What does it take for insulin resistance to develop?
What other molecular mechanisms may explain the link between nutrition and lifestyle-related diseases?
What role does the intestinal bacterial flora play in digestion and health?
How essential to proper digestion are the enzymes contained in food itself, which are usually destroyed in cooking (see Living foods diet)?
What more can we discover through what has been called the phytochemical revolution?
See also
For detailed information, see related entries in the following categories:


Fast food
Slow Food
Paleolithic diet

Eating disorders
Natural Hygiene
Healthy eating
Illnesses related to poor nutrition
Caloric restriction

China project
Essential amino acid
Essential fatty acid
Important publications in nutrition
Shils et al. (2005) Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. ISBN: 0781741335.
Bluher, Khan BP, Kahn CR, Extended longevity in mice lacking the insulin receptor in adipose tissue. Science 299(5606): 572-4, Jan 24, 2003.
The Times newspaper, January 31 2004 Could vitamins help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s? by Jerome Burne.
The Times newspaper February 28, 2004 Autism: I can see clearly now . . . by Simon Crompton
The Times newspaper March 10, 2004 Work up an Amish appetite by Anne-Celine Jaeger
Das M, Gabriely I, Barzilai N.Caloric restriction, body fat and aging in experimental models. Obes Rev. 2004 Feb;5(1):13-9.
William Eaton et al Coeliac disease and schizophrenia British Medical Journal, February 21, 2004.
Janssen I, Katzmarzyk PT, Ross R. Waist circumference and not body mass index explains obesity-related health risk. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Mar;79(3):379-84.
J Mei, SSC Yeung et al "High dietary phytoestrogen intake and bone mineral density in postmenopausal women."Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2001, Vol 86, Iss 11
Merritt JC "Metabolic syndrome: soybean foods and serum lipids."J Natl Med Assoc. 2004 Aug;96(8):1032-41.
Sobczak S, et al Lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and increased omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in first-degree relatives of bipolar patients Psychol Med. 2004 Jan;34(1):103-12.
Walter C. Willett and Meir J. Stampfer,Rebuilding the Food Pyramid, Scientific American January 2003.
Weindruch R, et al. The retardation of aging in mice by dietary restriction: longevity, cancer, immunity and lifetime energy intake. (Journal of Nutrition, 116(4), pages 641-54.,April, 1986.)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.