Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Non-Toxic Easter Egg Dye

With Easter just around the corner, many parents have concerns about the dangers of food dyes, and egg dye kits are no exception.  Most of the dye is absorbed in the shell, which is not eaten, but some can get onto the egg white or on little helpers’ hands.  If you are worried about food dyes, try some of the natural dye recipes below from the Food Network Kitchens!



2 pounds beets, peeled, diced


1 pound onion skins


1 1/2 cup (1.9 ounce) jar turmeric


2 small heads red cabbage, sliced

Warm brown:

1 (6-cup) pot of strong coffee

Distilled white vinegar


For all but the coffee color, in a 5 quart saucepan add 1 vegetable or ingredient. Add 4 quarts water, bring to a boil and cook for 1/2 hour or until the color is very dark. Allow to cool to room temperature and strain out vegetables. Add 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar and then add hard boiled eggs to each color. Refrigerate overnight. For the coffee color: brew the coffee. Allow to cool to room temperature. Add 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, add hard boiled eggs, refrigerate overnight.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Excessive Salt Intake Linked to Millions of Deaths

New research has shown that excessive salt consumption has played a role in over two millions heart-related deaths worldwide in 2010 alone, with 40% of those deaths premature.  The study was detailed at the American Heart Association’s meeting in New Orleans on March 21, 2013.  Researchers looked at 247 surveys of adults that participated in the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Survey, an international collaboration between researchers from 50 countries worldwide.  Time summarized the investigation’s scope and methods:  

[Study participants] reported on their sodium intake from 1990 to 2010 in food questionnaires. Overall, adults around the world ate an average of 4,000 mg of sodium a day, either from prepared foods or from table salt, soy sauce or additional salt sprinkled into meals while cooking. That’s twice the amount recommended by the World Health Organization (2,000 mg per day) and nearly three times the amount the AHA says is healthy (1,500 mg per day).

Researcher’s reported that salt’s impact on global health has been substantial.  A second study that was a meta-analysis of 107 randomized controlled trials helped to show the effects of excess sodium consumption and its impact of people’s risk of cardiovascular disease around the globe.  Highlights include:

·         Among the 30 largest countries, the highest death rates due to excess salt consumption per million adults were Ukraine (2,109); Russian (1,803); and Egypt (836).

·         The United States ranked 19th out of the 30 largest countries, with 429 salt-related deaths per million adults (which translates to 1 in 10 heart-related deaths in the U.S., according to the study authors).

·         Among all countries surveyed (187 in total), those with the lowest salt-related death rates per million adults were Qatar (73); Kenya (78); and United Arab Emirates (134).

·         84% of deaths occurred in low and middle-income countries

·         Kenya was reportedly the only country surveyed to adhere to the AHA's recommended 1,500 mg/day limit.

·         The highest proportion of cardiovascular disease related deaths tied to salt-laden diets were in the Philippines, Myanmar and China.

Time  also included a details from the Salt Institute:

The Salt Institute criticized the study, noting that the added heart-disease risk was compared with an unrealistically low level of salt consumption that no country in the world met. “This latest AHA statistical study on the worldwide mortality from dietary salt is misleading and totally devoid of genuine evidence,” said Morton Satin, vice president of science and research for the Salt Institute, in a statement. “Using a highly flawed statistical model, researchers simply projected potential reductions in mortality without considering all known health risks resulting from low salt intake.”

Adults aren’t the only ones at risk.  Other research discussed at the AHA meeting included some that showed children are already consuming too much salt.  The high sodium content in many prepackaged meals and snacks that are aimed at kids can force them into eating unhealthy amounts.  According to the data presented, about 75% of pre-packaged meals are high in sodium, defined as containing more than 210 mg per serving.  The study found that toddler meals could contain up to 630 mg of sodium per serving.

“Our concern is the possible long-term health risks of introducing high levels of sodium in a child’s diet, because high blood pressure, as well as a preference for salty foods, may develop early in life. The less sodium in an infant’s or toddler’s diet, the less he or she may want it when older,” said lead author Joyce Maalouf, a fellow at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, in a statement.

The AHA advised people to remember that salt doesn’t only come from the shaker but can be found in many of the packaged foods consumed each day.  Because this is often hidden, they advise closely reviewing the nutrition facts on foods that you don’t make yourself.  They also advise that when cooking at home, keep a close eye on the amount of salt added to foods and try to substitute with other flavors such as herbs and spices or lemon juice to trick taste buds into thinking they are getting the “salt” they are looking for.




Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Study finds, losing sleep for even short periods of time can lead to weight gain

March 19, 2013

New parents, college students and those who have to stay up late to meet deadlines may find themselves with an expanding waistline.  The lack of sleep isn’t the root cause of the problem, but rather that a person will consume more food when they are awake for longer periods of time.

The findings in this study aren’t surprising given past research findings and the link between weight gain and sleep, but a new study from the University of Colorado demonstrates how quickly a link can be formed between lack of sleep and weight gain.  The New York Times reported that even just a few days with a couple hours less sleep than is normal can lead to an expanding waist line.

Although getting less sleep can increase a person’s metabolism, it can also result in overeating.  The study from the University of Colorado showed that light sleepers gained around 2 pounds after one week of decreased sleep.  The study also found that those that sleep less not only eat more, they eat a greater quantity of food that is bad for you, mainly, carbohydrates and fats.  They also tend to eat a smaller breakfast and partake in after dinner snacking.  In the experiment, once a regular pattern of increased sleep was resumed, the participants immediately began a more healthful diet.