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October 2005 after the first frost and summer grasses had turned brown.  The growth of winter grasses was delayed by the drought.

Columns

This is the Home Page for our quick-read nutritional health column for regional newspapers. If you have a local publication that might want to carry it, let us know or pass the link onto them.

Cystic Fibrosis and Omega-3

Column #119

Animal bodies are marvelous “machines” designed for survival. Yet because there’s genetic diversity within each life form, mutations occur. This results in some individuals being significant outliers to the norm with inherited strengths or flaws. Strengths are good, but flaws can compromise physical abilities, health, and longevity. For instance, there’s a genetic mutation in humans that causes Cystic Fibrosis (CF), the most common recessive life-threatening illness in North America.

CF is considered incurable although modern medical approaches have extended life spans up to 50 years. CF dietary recommendations have assisted but they mostly parrot the USDA’s guidelines with supplements of fat-soluble vitamins and fat. I wonder--could a diet of low glycemic, nutrient dense and diverse foods with 1:1 ratios of Omega-6 to Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) do a better job?

Low-Fat Risks

Column #118

Everyone with an interest in a healthy diet should become familiar with Dr. James DiNicolantonio and his publications. His research focuses on cardiovascular health and disease--specifically, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, lipids, antithrombotics, anticoagulants, as well as nutrition and nutritional supplements. He’s a cardiovascular research scientist at the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri and has authored or co-authored over 120 medical publications encompassing opinion pieces, review articles, and systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Many of his publications challenge the dietary guidelines recommended by the medical community and USDA. His publication “The Cardiometabolic Consequences of Replacing Saturated Fats with Carbohydrates or Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fats: Do the Dietary Guidelines Have it Wrong?” is an excellent example based on 39 peer-reviewed studies.

Being Thankful is Healthy

Column #117

Thanksgiving is a unique holiday. It’s religious yet it’s not, therefore everyone can participate no matter their faith or lack thereof. This gives everyone an opportunity to give thanks to their creator, benefactors, life in general, or anything they feel good about to bolster their outlook on life.

These columns usually focus on improving health and well-being with diet but Thanksgiving provides an important time to look beyond food and discuss how mental attitudes impact health.

For many people, being thankful and positive doesn’t come naturally. They live in the state of Thanksgiving antonyms such as ingratitude and ungratefulness. These often go hand-in-hand with depression, self deprecation, intolerance, and hate.

No Money In It

Column #116

The law of supply-demand states that shortages coupled with rising demand causes higher prices and vice versa. But it doesn’t always apply on a permanent basis. That’s because increasing prices can inspire an increasing supply which results in lower prices.

Unless commodity producers significantly increase their volume versus fixed costs, more demand for their commodity doesn’t mean earnings increase. Because of a fast response time for changing crops, farmers and ranchers gain little or nothing as people change their food preferences. It’s also why agricultural producers can’t afford to fund aggressive long-term marketing programs. There’s simply no money in it.

To illustrate why there’s no incentive for farmers to advertise foods people should eat as recommended by nutritional and biological scientists, let’s compare agricultural commodity producers with healthcare.

Absolute vs Relative

Column #115

If consumers can’t figure out the differences between absolute and relative they can be victimized by some of the biggest marketing gotchas out there. This is also a media issue that tricks people into reading and often believing stories that are actually irrelevant, especially those discussing foods, supplements, and nutritional studies.

Simply put, references for absolute differences involve subtraction. References for relative differences express ratios. So how do these declarations regarding the same topic lead to so much confusion?

I Googled the world for Omega-3 chicken. I found a source in England from a Daily Mirror article. It is Waitrose Omega 3 Chicken. The Mirror article stated that the chicken is “high in Omega 3.” So I wondered, what is “high”?