July Nutrition Nuggets


I like to lead into our Nutrition Nuggets with a coffee article or research study. Did not expect this one! Washington Post: Coffee with Viagra-like ingredient recalled after FDA discovery By Alex Horton July 20  Ha! 🙂 No Comment! “The FDA announced last week that Yee’s company, Grand Prairie, Tex.-based Bestherbs Coffee LLC, is voluntarily recalling all lots of the uniquely spelled “New of Kopi Jantan Tradisional Natural Herbs Coffee” due to undeclared ingredients, including desmethyl carbodenafil and milk, sold between July 2014 and June 2016.” The desmethyl  carbodenafil is the problem. It is similar to Viagra.

I am big on telling you to read the labels before you buy anything new. Especially if you take any medications or have allergies. In this case the milk & herb were not declared on the ingredient list! The herb will interact with medications, especially nitrates. The milk could be dangerous for those with allergies or even sensitivities to dairy. 

There were no health issues reported to the FDA about this coffee. It is not clear why they were targeted by the agency. It is among other coffee brands laced with this herb that were recalled earlier this year & last year. Sigh…we need to be ever vigilant & stick with whole foods & familiar brands. 

There were two studies in the news about sugar. The first one is concerning the pairing of sugary drinks with high protein meals; think fast food & “super sizing”.  Drinking Sugary Drinks With High Protein Meals ‘May Prime The Body To Store More Fat’  07/21/17  The one quote in this article that stood out for me was that “sugary drinks are the largest single source of sugar in the American diet”The study showed that with an increase of protein & fat in the meal, paired with the sugary drink, the metabolism of the individual was impaired leading to storage of the energy as fat & weight gain. The study also found that the sugary drink did not satisfy the subject. They wanted more salty & spicy foods for hours after their meal. Good read.

The second study is in regards to artificial sweeteners. NPR…Artificial Sweeteners Don’t Help People Lose Weight, Review Finds, July 17, 2017, KATHERINE HOBSON  This is as a very good article to read. It explores various studies relating to artificial sweeteners and the reasons people use them. They are not used solely by people wanting to lose weight. They are, surprisingly, also used by people who feel they are a better, healthier, sweetener choice. The reasons that weight loss doesn’t follow when using artificial sweeteners are also looked at.

One of the studies they refer to, in this article, is from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Consumption of Low-Calorie Sweeteners among Children and Adults in the United States March 2017. “Our findings were that 25.1% of children and 41.4% adults reported consuming LCSs. Most LCS consumers reported use once daily (80% of children, 56% of adults) and frequency of consumption increased with body weight in adults. LCS consumption was higher in females compared with males among adults, and in obese individuals, compared with overweight and normal-weight individuals.” I was surprised at how many people, especially children, use artificial sweeteners. The numbers are even higher because they are in granola bars, energy bars & drinks that you wouldn’t know about unless you read the label. Thought provoking.

My personal opinion as to why people don’t lose weight & may even gain pounds, is twofold. One, because people add extra calories to their meal as a reward for drinking or eating products with artificial sweeteners in them. The second reason is that the body reacts to the brain saying we just ate something sweet. When it doesn’t find the sugar (just chemicals) it takes it out of our energy storage. Thus making us feel lethargic & needing more sugar. It ends up a circular process with no ending.

An added thought about weight gain…I found this video with Professor Traci Mann’s view on obesity refreshing. Take a look.  BBC: Think Again: ‘There is no obesity crisis’ A personal view from Professor Traci Mann, A film by Sahar Zand 

Alessandra sent me this very good article.  A Medicinal Shroom For Every Health Woe  The article starts out with “Medicinal mushrooms have been on the health scene for quite a few years now, but they’re just now reaching peak trendiness.” There are a few things to note about this information. 

These mushrooms have been prescribed & eaten by the people of Asia for millennium. The research we usually see is based on people who have been using them for generations. They are very important medicinally. Yet, like anything that has become “trendy” it has also become costly. Medicinal mushrooms are expensive.

Another thing to remember is that like herbs, to benefit your health, they must be taken/eaten daily. It takes at least 3 weeks for herbs to start to show their health benefits. Most Americans give up the first few days because they don’t see any benefit yet. Americans expect the mushrooms & herbs to be like aspirin, immediate relief.

My personal opinion is that these mushrooms are amazing. You can find them, dried & packaged, at Jimbo’s. You can also get them at a Chinese Herbalists. Just make sure that the Chinese Herbalist is trustworthy so that you get the correct mushroom & that it is safe to use. 

I use Mountain Rose Herbs to buy dried herbs & mushrooms that I can’t grow. Very respected company for their quality, safety & sustainable gathering practices. Here is their page for Mushrooms.

I am including this part for anyone with a gastric tube for nutritional purposes or needs an oral formula for added nutrition. I had the opportunity to research some of the liquid nutritional formulas being sold for home use.

Many patients I have helped in the past have wanted to make their own organic, whole food, liquid nutritional formula to put through their gastric tube. This way they could control the ingredients & calories. It is not only costly & time consuming, but you must plan ahead & have the equipment needed to puree the foods. If it isn’t pureed enough it could clog the tube.

I found two companies who make a good supplement for use with or without the liquid formulas you are sent home with. Make sure to check the calorie content. These are meant for gastric tubes not IV drips. If you have a j~tube, please consult your health care team before trying these.

Liquid Hope “Liquid Hope is the worlds first shelf stable organic whole foods feeding tube formula and oral meal replacement. Robin created Liquid Hope using the Functional Medicine/Food as Medicine model so each ingredient has been chosen for its potential to promote health and vitality and its ability to support the body’s natural immune system. When our bodies are given what they need… well let’s just say, food was our original medicine and Robin thought it was time to get back to our roots. This product is advertised as real food, plant based; dairy, gluten, soy, corn, GMO & BPA FREE! 450 calories per container. It can be used as a feeding tube formula or an oral meal replacement formula. Liquid Hope meets all food safety requirements and meets all GRAS, HACCP, CGMPS standards. Liquid Hope is processed in a FDA/USDA registered facility with USDA inspector on site. SID#: 2013-06-12/001 This is impressive. It is also Medicaid & Medicare approved. Other insurances may approve it also. The site has a billing code for them.

Real Food Blends  Originally inspired by their young tube-fed son, AJ, who is now the company’s “Chief Inspiration Officer”, and a belief that we all deserve real food, Julie and Tony Bombacino sought to create a company that provided easy access to 100% real food meals and nutritional variety to tube-fed people and their families, at home or on the go. Years later and with well over 1 million meals sold, you will still only find 100% real food in our meals. No corn syrup, preservatives or synthetic additives/fillers – just a variety of simple real ingredients to nourish your body and soul.” This brand is not organic or GMO free, but it is made with whole foods. Look at the nutrition labels, no chemicals added. It has 330 ~ 340 calories per container. It advertises that it is covered by many major insurances. Good choice for people who have financial issues.

Study finds a major uptick in calls to poison control centers over dietary supplements  By ABC NEWS Jul 24, 2017  Watch the video first. It gives an overview of the study. The increase in calls, by 50%, was not about life threatening situations but more about small problems. I agree with the reporter; I too was stunned by the fact that the majority of the calls, 70%, were about children 6 years old & under. Some of the children were given supplements by their parents/caregivers & some found opened bottles & ate them. 

The marketing of supplements has lulled the public into thinking they are natural & therefore safe. This is far from the truth. They are like any other medication. They can have side effects & interact with other supplements, over the counter medications & prescription drugs. It is important to research the brand & find companies that self regulate or have joined a group of other companies to regulate their products.

 Drugs.com was mentioned in the report. It is a very reliable source for identifying pills & finding any interactions with your prescriptions. Bookmark it for future use.

275,000 calls to poison control centers for dietary supplement exposures, study finds. Researchers calling for FDA regulation of yohimbe, energy products. July 24, 2017 Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Summary: US Poison Control Centers receive a call every 24 minutes, on average, regarding dietary supplement exposures. According to the study authors, lack of federal oversight has led to inconsistencies in the quality of dietary supplements, product mislabeling and contamination with other substances.

Researchers are not alone in calling for more FDA regulations of supplements. I have always been against it. With all the recalls recently of adulterated supplements & beauty products, I feel I must reevaluate my stance on this issue. Times change. 🙁

The coconut oil debate is not going to go away as seen in the emails I have received. There are ongoing debates concerning the American Heart Association’s announcement that coconut oil is a saturated fat which can cause heart disease & increase your cholesterol. This announcement stirred reporters to write sensational headlines causing a fierce debate within the medical & nutritional community about coconut oil. I believe the problem is solely semantics. Is coconut oil HEALTHY, is it DANGEROUS. The actual debate should have been about saturated fat. Recent research does not support their, the AHA’s, findings. 

I didn’t read anywhere that coconut oil is really dangerous, except for in those sensational headlines. What I did read is that it, coconut oil, is without a doubt a saturated fat. Saturated fats are okay to use when used in moderation. Bacon is okay when eaten occasionally. The issue is with those people who use coconut oil in EVERYTHING! The way it has been used/abused in the name of “health” is the problem; more than the oil itself.

I continue to use it as a substitute for Crisco or butter in recipes. When I want a buttery taste on popcorn or in a dish I have made, I use Nutritional Yeast. Once again, MODERATION is the last word!

Interesting topics coming up for our August blog posts. Check back every week…Mary 🙂