April Nutrition Nuggets


April’s Nutrition Nuggets have been very interesting. I had quite a few to choose from. Of course the one that intrigued me most was about coffee 🙂 I will start with that one & end with my other favorite subject; the Mediterranean diet. But don’t miss out on the fish & frozen veggie guides along with other nutritional information.

As much as I love coffee, this article worried, no, actually scared me a bit. Only in the USA is “more” better.  KTLA5: Black Insomnia: ‘World’s Strongest Coffee’ Now Available in U.S. “The “world’s strongest coffee” is now available in the US, but just one cup could spill you over the daily caffeine limit….“If you want to stand out, you need to be the ‘est’ — the biggest, smartest, strongest, or cheapest,” said Black Insomnia founder Sean Kristafor. “So when we wanted to compete in coffee, as a caffeine product, we had to be the strongest, but obviously, we don’t exceed the world guidelines.”

At $19/pound you get this….“For the same amount of coffee, you will get double the amount of caffeine,” said Mary Sweeney, who researches the effects of caffeine at John Hopkins School of Medicine.

“This makes it easier to consume more caffeine than you intend to and effects can range from mild to severe, for example, jitteriness, nervousness, restlessness and trouble sleeping. The most serious effect would be cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).”

Kallmyer calls Black Insomnia and its competitor, supposedly the second world’s strongest coffee Death Wish, “insanely strong coffees.” I think I will take a pass on this coffee. 

Black Insomnia has 720 mgm of caffeine per 12 ounce cup! Starbucks Blonde Roast has 475 mgm in a 20 ounce Vente cup. Here is a chart to check the caffeine in your favorite coffee, tea, soda or energy drink: Caffeine Chart from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

According to the Mayo Clinic: Caffeine: How much is too much?  Mar 8, 2017 – Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That’s roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola or two “energy shot” drinks. 

Looks like all the health benefits of coffee would be nil with one 12 ounce cup of Black Insomnia or Death Wish. With names like that it will appeal to some people. Insanely bad choice 🙁

While we are on the subject of drinks. This newest study regarding artificial sweeteners in diet soda’s is interesting. I want to warn you that more research is needed & that a direct link has not been established. As the article states, it only shows an association. 

CBS News: Diet soda study looks at dementia, heart risks  Apr 21, 2017:  Much has been written about the health risks of sugar-sweetened beverages; research has linked sugary drinks to a number of serious health risks, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and an early death.

Now, new research suggests diet drinks with artificial sweeteners may have some health concerns of their own. According to a new study published Thursday in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, people who drank at least one artificially-sweetened beverage a day had almost three times the risk of developing stroke or dementia. The researchers caution that the study only shows an association — it does not prove that diet drinks actually cause stroke or dementia. Still, they say the study warrants more research in the area.” 

The study prompted the following, unsurprising, reaction: The American Beverage Association issued the following statement in response to the study: 

Low-calorie sweeteners have been proven safe by worldwide government safety authorities as well as hundreds of scientific studies and there is nothing in this research that counters this well-established fact. The FDA, World Health Organization, European Food Safety Authority and others have extensively reviewed low-calorie sweeteners and have all reached the same conclusion – they are safe for consumption.

While we respect the mission of these organizations to help prevent conditions like stroke and dementia, the authors of this study acknowledge that their conclusions do not – and cannot – prove cause and effect.

The above statement is true, but, anecdotal evidence has shown a different story. I believe that water should be your first choice of a drink, but when you just need a Coke or Pepsi, then drink a regular one. Have 8 – 12 ounces only. No refills & no “BIG GULPS”. Skip the diet drinks. Revisit my post on Artificial Sweeteners. 

For more information see Additional Resources at the end of this post.

Here is some much needed GOOD NEWS! Hooray! NBC News: Trans Fat Ban Saved Lives in New York, Study Shows “Heart attacks and strokes fell by more than 6 percent three years after some New York counties banned trans fats, researchers reported Wednesday.” Nothing to add to that 🙂

I have given you links to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch site before; here is another good guide for those of you who eat fish.  

Click here for the guide: A Safe Guide to Eating Fish, April 13, 2017, “Need the straight scoop on fish that’s safe to eat and what you should absolutely avoid? Get this comprehensive list of good (healthy and sustainable) and bad (high mercury levels, over harvested) seafood, from ***The Dirt Cure: Growing Healthy Kids with Food Straight from Soil.” Informative & well written. 

***Link to the book at end of post.

This is another helpful guide that EWG just came out with. EWG’s: 5 Fabulous Finds in the Frozen Food Aisle Health experts often advise shoppers to cling to the outer edges of the grocery store – where they can find fresh produce and less-processed foods. But, while fresh food is typically the best option, you don’t need to bypass all options in the frozen aisle.

In fact, a 2016 study found that frozen food can help dramatically decrease your household’s food waste. We scoured our Food Scores database to find five great options in the frozen food aisle that maximize nutrition, and can save you time and money.” As you scroll to the bottom of the article you will find a box with good information on “How to Microwave Wisely.”

I keep frozen organic corn & peas in my freezer. They are great to throw into my vegetarian soup, pot of beans or stew. They are also simple & fast side dishes. Having healthy, frozen choices is just the ticket on those days when we are just too tired to cook. 

Last but not least, the Mediterranean diet. I am including this article I found in the health news a few days ago because it included a link to a chart I thought you might be interested in. First, the article.

(HealthDay News) —Get to Know the Mediterranean Diet “The diet followed by people who live in countries around the Mediterranean Sea has been shown to be more than just delicious. The so-called Mediterranean diet can help you limit daily calories so you can lose weight. Plus, it’s a healthy long-term way of eating.

The main focus of the Mediterranean diet is on eating plant-based foods. That means including fruits and vegetables in every meal, and eating them for snacks and dessert, too.

Switch from refined to whole-grain foods, including breads, cereal, rice and pasta. Also add legumes like peas and beans. Try to eat a vegetarian dinner one or two nights a week.

People who successfully lose weight while following a Mediterranean diet generally get about a third of their calories from healthy fats, including a small handful of nuts each day.

The chart from Health.gov on the Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020, mentioned in the article:  Appendix 4. USDA Food Patterns: Healthy Mediterranean-Style Eating Pattern has the daily portions of food in each food group by your calorie intake. It has 12 calorie levels. Useful to see how much you should eat based on 1,000 to 3,200 calories a day.

Here is a new recipe for you: This Cauliflower Fried Rice Bowl Will Make You Forget About Takeout Forever  I need to try this one. Looks so good!

It has come to my attention thru an email that I may need to reiterate my focus for this website. As I have said on the welcome page:

“I have always felt that we need to be our own advocates when it comes to our health. We need to make choices that fit our personal lifestyles, culture, gender, age and physical well-being. We are not a statistic! One size does not fit all! Each one of us is a unique individual on our own unique path. Your path happens to include cancer.

Educating yourself abut your disease will be the strongest tool in your arsenal against cancer. That is where this site comes in. Stay updated here. Learn about nutrition do’s and don’ts. Find food facts to help you eat healthy, and discover new tools to add to your cancer-fighting tool box.”

I would like to add that what I choose for my personal well-being is not going to be the same as you. We each walk our own path. I am here to give  you the most up to date, scientifically based, nutrition information available. Using today’s post as an example, if you choose to eat fish then I want to give you the information to make a healthy choice. When I was a child, I refused to eat meat & seafood because I didn’t like the texture, the smell & the taste. Much to my parents chagrin 🙂 I was a natural born vegetarian. Views about nutrition came much later. 

I am not here to add stress to your life, quite the opposite, I want to help you to see that a healthy, balanced diet is not that difficult whether you are vegetarian, vegan, flexatarian, Paleo, Gluten Free, or omnivore. Okay, I am off the soap box.

Now for my last cup of coffee of the day…Mary 🙂

Additional Resources