Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Diet Supplements Industry Finally meets its Match in the FDA

If it weren't so sad, it would be hilarious. The General Mills Corporation tries to sell Cheerios on the claim that it lowers your cholesterol. If you watched any TV, and paid attention to the commercials, you'll certainly recognize this claim. It was the Bush administration's understanding approach that got companies confident over getting away with just about any claim they chose to put out there. Under President Obama though, the FDA is asking Cheerios to prove it or cut it out. It's also going against Nestle's Juicy Juice drinks that claim they will help you with brain development. Nestlé takes that claim so seriously, they actually call the product Juicy Juice a brain development aid. The FDA is asking Nestlé to prove their claims, or stop making claims that would typically belong on serious diet supplements or on drugs.

But the FDA and the Institute of Medicine are not stopping there. They're wondering now if diet supplements and nutrition supplements are being marketed accurately either. They're wondering if the strict standards that they apply to drugs before passing them for sale to the public, should be applied to diet supplements too. That's quite a thought there - no one will be able to sell vitamin tablets without proving that they actually do any good. The FCC says that there is really no scientific reason why you should have strict standards for drugs, and lenient ones for nutritional supplements. There may be no scientific reason why they should be treated difeferently; but there certainly is a political one. The food and diet supplements industry is a richly funded one.

So according to research done by the FDA, it is now believed that the best way to get makers of diet supplements to prove the merit in their products, is to get them to use biomarkers - standard measures of the way the body responds to a drug, a diet supplement or anything. This could be really big. If the makers of diet supplements were made to prove that their products actually did anything, nine out of ten of those companies would go under. You'd better be prepared now to see most of your favorite supplements and potions are wiped off the face of the earth. There is certainly going to be some terrible opposition from the industry over this. You can expect a lot of news coverage too.

Most of the makers of diet supplements are set up in Utah, home to Senator Orrin Hatch who under President Clinton, pushed through laws that let manufacturers of diet supplements and foods say just about anything they wanted. Still, in removing the diet supplements firms from existence, the FDA has a pretty tough job cut out for it. It needs to prove that the products are actually harmful. It took the FDA years to do anything about ephedra for instance; and that was a product that was actually killing people.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Anti Aging Products That Work

There is a constant struggle for beauty in this world. More specifically, people are striving to look younger and younger. It seems as though no one wants to grow old gracefully anymore. Fortunately the market for anti aging products is consistently growing and improving every year. Now there are plenty of products for men as well as women. So, if you are in the market for a more youthful glow, reduced under-eye circles, plumper lips, and fewer wrinkles, you are in luck. There are plenty of innovative and effective anti aging products and treatments to choose from. However, the key is finding the ones that suit your needs.

First and foremost, it is important to consider your age when you are in the market for anti aging or anti-wrinkle treatments. The majority of these products are topical, which means they are applied to the skin, as opposed to taken orally. There are skin care products and regimens to suit any age group from teens, to twenties, to thirties, to forties, and up. As current research suggests, it is never to early to start thinking about proper skin care and wrinkle prevention. This means eating right, and always using a good sunscreen when you go outdoors during the daytime. These practices can assist you with looking younger as the years pass.

If you take a look online, you will encounter a massive slew of anti aging products and treatments. Many of these endeavor to do a variety of things. Some of the claims you will see are as follows; reduces fine lines and wrinkles, brightens skin, minimizes age spots, erases crow's feet, shrinks pores, and boost collagen levels. Now, one thing you should keep in mind is that not ever anti aging product will do all of these things. However, may of them will do most of these things to some degree. Unfortunately the term miracle treatment is thrown around far too often. The primary purpose of anti aging treatments is to assist you with looking younger.

Many high-end brand names like Lancome, Este Lauder, Channel, and Mac offer countless anti aging products in department stores. However, there are also less expensive alternatives sold in supermarkets and drugstores that also work. Therefore if you do not want to shell out $80 to $200 on an anti-wwrinkle cream or serum, you do not have to. Some available in drugstores sell for as little as $10, and actually contain the same primary active ingredients to help with anti-aging. When it comes down to it, there is essentially something for everyone. As you may have guessed, you will find a more diverse selection of anti aging creams and serums online.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Affordable Individual Health Insurance

There are some things in life you simply cannot avoid. One of these is health coverage. It does not matter if you are married, single, or have a large family, you need a health insurance coverage plan for a number of reasons. First and foremost, you never know when something might go down, and you need to be rushed to the hospital. Maybe you break your wrist or get into a fender bender and have to get an MRI done. Regardless of what the issue is, there comes a time when health coverage is imperative. And just imagine if you were facing a serious medical condition. At this point you would be seriously dependent upon a stellar health care plan. It can keep you from going bankrupt.

For single men and women, there are affordable individual health insurance coverage plans. Any time you deal with health coverage, you can expect to get a better deal based on two factors. One is your age, and two is your current health. Therefore if you are 25 and very healthy, you can get an affordable individual health insurance policy without much effort. The key is to take care of your health as best you can, and acquire a good coverage plan at a young age if possible. This way if you break your nose, need to visit a dermatologist, or have to go on for a minor operation, your health insurance will cover you; at least to some degree. It is worth the monthly payment.

A few websites that will help you find out more about affordable individual health insurance coverage are,,, and Be sure to take a closer look at these helpful websites in order to learn more about current health insurance coverage plans. Even if you are not searching for an affordable individual health insurance policy, it is wise to review these helpful sites. You can additionally learn more about family insurance coverage, policies for married couples, and low-priced insurance plans for individuals with pre-existing health problems. The key is doing your research beforehand.

On the flip side, it makes no sense to avoid decent and affordable individual health insurance plans. If you are aware how life works, then you already know that you will need health coverage when you do not have it. This is pretty much how it always works. Therefore it is prudent to look into a variety of affordable health insurance policies, and make a decision about which one is right for you. This way you will at least be prepared if something does happen. As for parents of children, it is basically imperative to acquire a good health insurance plan to be on the safe side.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Packaged Foods Labeling and the Battle to Lose Weight

Sometimes, it feels like the whole world is invested in getting you to lose weight. Half of the products on the shelves at the supermarket are plastered with grand declarations of having little fat, little sugar, and oodles of nutrients. Of course, we know from reading Shakespeare that all that glisters is not gold, and never was that truer than with packaged processed food. How are you supposed to ever pay attention to the nutrition facts labels when the front of the box seems to call all your attention on itself? Here are a few ways you can shield yourself from what I believe are real marketing scams that try to push your body image buttons.

Consider the 100-calorie pack of any kind of snack that's always at eye-a level at any convenience store you go to. If they gave you a large bag of chips and told you that they had managed to cut the calories down on that, that would make a little sense; if they take the same salt- and fat-laced product and just give you a smaller portion of that in a bag, how is that anything special; you just think of how healthy it is supposed to be, and buy two more bags. Just the word "calorie" that they proudly promote on the label makes us think that they've done something to bring the calorie count down - they haven't. They've only done something to bring down the number of chips in the bag. If you want to lose weight, your best bet would be to stick with the standard snack bag, so that you won't ever let yourself forget what you're eating.

How about the claim on any packaging for fried foods that screams "0gTrans Fats"? The FDA will let snack food makers make this claim on their product packaging, if the product only contains a very small amount of trans fats to each serving- typically half a gram. Yes, half a gram is very little; but you can easily eat 20 servings in a week, and then the trans fats add up. If you really want to keep your heart healthy and lose weight, you want to keep the trans fats in your diet down to maybe 2 g a day. The food makers don't make it easy on you to find out how much trans fat any product contains either - you'll just have to total everything up by hand, and make sure that you're counting partially hydrogenated oil and shortening as well.

You've read about this time and time again: foods made with whole grains and unrefined flour will help you grow thinner. There was even a famous research report that found out that people who ate refined stuff, white flour, refined cooking oil and so on, put on more abdominal fat. So it's simple, isn't it? You just need to go with products that are advertised with "Whole" on the label, right? As with anything they sell in the stores, this is only half the truth, what they claim. It turns out that they just like the sound of the phrase "Whole grains", and using it is a little distasteful to them. Usually, they just put in a little sample of the whole grain flour, and use regular refined flour all the rest of the way. You'll have to pay attention to the nutrition label to see how far down the line whole grains are listed. The farther down it iss, the less they're using.

And finally, here is a particularly insulting one they use to make you believe that they will help you lose weight - fast food salads. Salads are just vegetables and a little dressing, right? How could they ever fascinated? Well, guess this - some of the fast food salads at McDonald's and Newman's Southwest dressing can fill you up with more calories than if you just went and ordered a real fat quarter pounder. They aren't really trying to help you lose weight with a salad, now are they?

Monday, June 28, 2010

The secret to staying fit and trim? Regular exercise and food in balanced amounts!

Have you ever experienced a twinge of envy as you observe that some of your friends seem to never engage in the 'battle of the bulge', always looking fit and trim? True, some few individuals are genetically 'lucky', seemingly eating whatever they like and not gaining an ounce. But, really, such people are rare. Most people who don't seem to ever need to diet have a secret – a balanced exercise and food program. While this may sound over-simplistic, it's really the best way to achieve optimum health and a positive image in the mirror. Let's see how you can, by forming a few new habits, be one of those people – lucky, yes, and by design.

Our formula for a balanced exercise and food program puts equal emphasis on both factors. Many people torment themselves with a stringent diet more amenable to a bird, while totally neglecting the exercise that goes hand in hand with getting and staying healthy, trim and fit. So we'll begin with a few facts on the merits of exercise.

In the 'old days', when Grandpa walked two miles uphill, both to and from school, people really didn't need to give much thought to getting adequate exercise – it was a natural result of necessarily active living. Today, most of us live a sedentary lifestyle ... instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to milk the cows, feed the chickens and walk those two miles uphill to school, we grab a cup of Joe – and perhaps a donut – and rush off in our cars or to the metro and on to our offices. While our days may be filled with stressful situations, we let our bodies languish as we fret in the chair at the desk. This sort of routine is obviously not a balanced regimen of exercise and food choices. While there may not be a cow or chicken in sight of your home, there are nonetheless so many opportunities for exercise. When was the last time you took a walk? Rode a bike? Climbed the stairs, or roller-skated? Much more fun than milking a cow and a good workout for all of your muscles, a boon to your cardiovascular and respiratory health and great for a vibrant, glowing complexion. So many studies have demonstrated the huge benefits of just a half-hour of exercise, 4-5 times each week, that it's indisputably one of the best regimens you can easily work in to your daily life.

As said before, but worth the repetition, exercise and food go hand in hand. Healthy food choices are the other half of this equation, and it's not nearly as difficult as you might think. When you shop for food, stuff your basket first with foods that are nutritious and healthful. As for the 'goodies', such as ice cream, candy, chips, dip and the like, try to indulge in fewer of these 'empty' foods, week by week. If you've been known to down a bag of cookies in a single sitting, have a stern talk with yourself ... limit your intake to a few cookies – and that, just a couple of times a week. The gradual decline in the consumption of these foods will benefit you in the long run.

The exercise and food equation really is simple ... it's a matter of moderation and balance. Try it, you'll (eventually) like it! Especially when you get on the scale and look in that full-length mirror!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fitness and Nutrition Go Hand in Hand

We see lots of professional athletes on television eating anything they want in copious quantities and yet looking fitter than they should considering what they are putting into their bodies. But this is just the result of great genetics and you need to remember that these elite athletes are really the exceptions to the rule. Most of us need to consider fitness and nutrition as one and the same thing in order to achieve even a modicum of athletic performance.

This means that in addition to all of that gym time you are putting in you need to be careful about what you are putting into your mouth. When we are young we tend to think that we will live forever and nutrition is not of paramount importance. In this country unfortunately there is a marked increase in childhood obesity because we are not

educating our children on the benefits of fitness and nutrition. Kids grow up eating junk food and sugary soft drinks and way too much juice and not nearly enough fresh fruits and vegetables like they should. Teachers and parents need to take a much closer and careful look at this glaring deficiency in our children’s nutritional upbringing.

The bad habits our kids develop carry on into their teen years and later into their adult life. Obese children become obese teens who become obese adults. The risk for heart attacks and clogged arteries and diabetes becomes life threatening for these obese people. Studies have shown that they live shorter lives. The ones that do make it into their golden years are beset with a multitude of health problems. These problems could have been avoided with earlier training in fitness and nutrition in their social strata.

If you teach a child to eat raw broccoli and carrots at an early age, that is what they will crave for the rest of their lives. Their muscle density and bone strength becomes superior and they end up becoming the elite athletes among their peers. Not only do children whose parents focus on fitness and nutrition have superior physical strength, endurance and agility, but their mental agility is also enhanced. They are able to focus on their schoolwork better and generally get way better grades.

Fitness and nutrition should be mandatory educational courses for our kids from pre-school through high school. Unfortunately many school cafeterias around the country continue to serve lunches and snacks that are high in saturated fats and calories and low on nutrients. It is of vital importance that we as a nation respond with urgency to this serious problem that involves our most prized resource, our children and their very future.

We cannot continue to ignore the benefits of fitness and nutrition education at an early age. The very future of our nation depends on our children. It is only right that we should do everything we possibly can to make sure that they are receiving the very best fitness and nutrition courses and motivation that we can give them.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Creating sensible, easy-to-stick-with food diets – ones that work for you!

With food costs rising around the world and economies in turmoil, it still remains a fact that many Americans struggle with their weight on an ongoing basis. Losing weight has become such a commonplace goal that we now have a bevy of food diets from an array of 'experts', typically with a low-carb, low-fat or just plain starvation-style diet, promoted as the only real way to lose unwanted pounds. Well, here we've got a refreshing new approach to food diets: one you construct yourself, consisting of nutritious foods you enjoy eating which also get you where you want to go. Sound good? Let's see how you can put this no-nonsense, but tasty approach to work for you.

If you were to make a list of all your favorite foods, you'd find that, while chips and dip and chocolate may first come to mind, there are plenty of healthy foods which are worthy of inclusion in food diets designed to lose weight. For example, you may not be big on veggies, but you love avocados, carrots, lettuce and artichokes. These veggies are packed with nutritive value, while being relatively skimpy on the calories. Give these beloved veggies a starring role in your menus. You'll enjoy what you're eating, feel happy, pampered and satisfied and still achieve your goal of weight loss. Do the same with your list of meats, poultry and seafood. If you enjoy chicken, custom food diets are a snap! Chicken is on the menus of almost every cuisine in the world. Find new ways to prepare this economical and lean meat. Think about fruit-based recipes – who doesn't like a fruit smoothie of their favorite fruits? The smoothie makes an excellent breakfast, mid-afternoon snack or dessert. Make your smoothie with yogurt or low-fat milk to keep those calories in line.

Speaking of beverages, if you're a coffee-with-sugar hound, try sweetening your coffee with Splenda(R) – this product tastes just like sugar, without the calories. The same goes for sodas – there are now several major soda brands made with Splenda(R) too. You also might find it useful to insert a few new fruit juices into your beverage lineup. Chilled Chai tea, with a tad of milk is another delicious alternative. Varying the types of foods and beverages within your usual food choices goes a long way towards relieving dietary boredom.

Condiments and seasonings are just one of the secrets of successful food diets. Herbs and spices can really put some zip into an otherwise bland recipe. One tomato, cut into wedges or slices, may not seem an exciting menu choice – that is, until you make this into a small salad plate adorned with snips of fresh basil leaves and a few slices of fresh (naturally low-fat) mozzarella cheese. If carrots rank high on your list, try a dish of cooked, sliced carrots in a sauce of orange juice laced with ginger for a real taste treat. Bring the orange juice to a simmer, add a touch of cornstarch to thicken and some powdered ginger. When the sauce is thickened, return the cooked carrots to the pot, stir and serve.

Produce is fast becoming a 'luxury' food, due to cost. However, this doesn't mean that food diets should be geared to less of these nutritious foods. Choose the best and freshest produce you can find. Use your best-loved fruits and veggies list to cruise the net in search of new recipes to use these favorites. Then, don't let them go to waste! If you find you bought too much, remember that many fruits and veggies can be blanched and frozen for future use.

When you consider that we eat not only to allay our hunger, but to also please our palate, it makes sense that variety, food quality and seasonal produce are smart criteria on which to base food diets.

The last of our tips on constructing food diets concerns food portion sizes. The majority of the trendy food programs rely on small portions. When your dinner plate has too much 'white space', the psychological effect is that you ultimately feel deprived. Here's a great trick to using small food portions that are still, at the end of the meal, satisfying. Start serving each course on a separate plate. For example, you might begin with a small fruit cup with a flavored yogurt as the 'sauce'. Take the time to enjoy this course, as well as the table conversation. Don't rush through it! Your next course might be your meat and a side of veggies, seasoned in an interesting way. This technique also gives your tummy a chance to catch up with your eyes.

Now, what about that dessert? Taking the time to savor your food, with a few minutes between courses might find your tummy full and happy, not in need of the conventional sugar-laden dessert. If you do crave a finisher to your meal, try a small, fresh fruit and cheese plate. Again, quality counts, but you don't need much to refresh and satiate your palate.

In the end, custom food diets such as this tend to work for you – the unique individual. Give this method a try and see those pounds disappear!