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0 Food Addiction

Esiuol5 to Nutrition — Tags:  

food-add-2     Food addiction – real or myth?  The term is used and there are organizations which people can join          for guidance and help.  Loosely defined as “uncontrollable cravings for excess food, especially after          having eaten foods rich in sugar, fat or salt.”

But can food actually be addictive in the same sense as drugs or alcohol? Some say “No” – that there        are several reasons that food cannot be as addictive as drugs or alcohol. While some foods as well as       drugs trigger “feel-good brain chemicals such as dopamine”*, drugs have a much stronger effect as           drugs go directly to the brain, whereas food does not do that. Also there is little evidence that                     individual  substances in food, such as sugar, fat or salt, are addictive.  If that were true, individuals         addicted  would get a spoon of sugar or salt for their addiction, rather they crave a specific food such as cookies, ice cream or soda. **

There has been some research done with rats, but not conclusive. Given sugar solutions all day had no effect, only binge intake showed some symptoms. Also rat studies are done in very controlled environments, unlike a person’s daily life.

One method of working with alcohol addiction is to abstain completely from the product.  That cannot be done with food. Studies done removing particular foods such as ice cream often leads to bingeing. Thus it is often suggested rather than removing a craved food completely is to allow controlled amounts.

Some say that compulsive overeating is a type of behavorial addiction similar to gambling or shopping. Persons lose control over their eating behaviors and find themselves spending excessive amounts of time involved with food and overeating and they will continue despite negative consequences. They will have trouble stopping their behavior even if they want to or have tried several times.*

It seems at this time we do not fully understand compulsive overeating and how to treat it.

Some have found help with organizations and if so, they should continue.  I think we should keep an open mind, -not jumping to conclusions but offering understanding and encouragement to anyone having a problem and continue to watch for progress in research that can lead to help.


  1. disorder.
  2. Cochran, Neva, Can We Become Addicted to Some Types of Foods?, Nutrition Close-Up, Egg Nutrition center, Summer 2015.



The food label or Nutrition Facts that appears on all foods and beverages has been revised and was announced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) May 2016. This is the first major change since the 1990’s.

Serving size and calories per serving will be more prominent on the label – in larger and bolder type. .  Servings sizes will more nearly represent what people actually consume.  Rather than listing information for 8 ounces of a 20 ounce soda, the information will be for the total 20 ounces, as most persons consume the entire 20 ounces.

For multi-serving packages, nutrition information will be given for one serving as well as for the entire package – a “dual column” label.

Other changes include the addition of “added sugars”. Total sugars and total carbohydrate remain and now “added sugars” will be listed. Calories from fat has been dropped as it is believed that the type of fat is more important than the amount. Values for  “Total Fat”, “Saturated Fat” and “Trans Fat” will remain on the label.

The list of vitamins and minerals has been changed from Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium and iron to Vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium. This new list are nutrients which are often consumed below recommended amounts.  The amount of cholesterol remains on the label and its declared daily value-even though recent guidelines have removed the 300 mg/day limit.

The new label will be required by July 26, 2018. It has been designed not to tell people what they should eat but to make sure they know what they are eating. The goal is to help people make more informed decisions about the food they eat.

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Raines, Tina, PhD, A Nutrition Scientist’s Perspective on the New Food Label, Nutrition close-Up, Egg Nutrition Center, American Egg Board, Summer 2016.

0 Overweight & Obesity

Esiuol5 to Nutrition — Tags: ,  



Overweight and Obesity doesn’t seem to be getting better any time soon!

With all the diets, diet pills, weight-reduction programs, exercise classes, etc. – we are not losing weight.

All these efforts just do not seem to be working. We’re heavier than ever!

In the U.S., an estimated 35% of adults and 17% of children are overweight or obese.  And globally about 37% of adults and for children 13%.  Many causes have been cited and debated – sugared foods and beverages, processed foods, sedentary lifestyles, altered flora, environmental toxins, genes, caloric imbalance, and declining rates of breastfeeding. In the U.S. this accounts for approximately $147 billion for obesity-related medical costs per year.  *

Some cite that programs to restrict or ban certain foods has shown some progress and assuming personal responsibility for weight management is basic and critical.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, from 1960 – 2006, the percentage of obese adults ages 20 years and older more than doubled from 13% to 35%.  Between 1980 and 2008 the average body mass index (BMI) increased globally be 0.4 per decade for men and 0.6 per decade for women. Currently 21.8% of the global population and 33.9% of the U.S. population is obese.**

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that as of 2015 there was a 19.4 percent increase in obesity in the U.S, since 1997 when they first started tracking obesity. They say that obesity rates, except for 2003, have increased every year for both men and women. They further state that people age 40-59 are the most likely to be obese.***

Causes mentioned range from promotion of sugary and high calorie foods, lack of personal responsibility, absence of sidewalks, etc.  Some have recommended consumption of nutrient-dense foods, restrict marketing to children, more money for education and more physical activity. On a small positive note, improvements in transportation, i.e., promotion of cycling and walking has had a slight impact. On the other hand menu labeling with health information and new supermarkets were found to be ineffective.*

The fact remains that efforts used and promoted to reverse obesity trends have not worked.  What do you suggest?




* Madsen, Dave, Nutrition Close Up, Egg Nutrition Center, Fall 2015.

** US Global Obesity Levels: The Fat Chart;

***Romero, Melissa, This Unsettling Chart Shows How Much Fatter Americans Have Become In the Last 20 Years, www.Men’ ,  June 6, 2016.



Many of us love chocolate, but due to its high fat content, we must resist eating as much as we would like. There have been several efforts to reduce the fat content in the past. But removing even small amounts of fat have been unsuccessful because in the liquid state when fat is removed from the chocolate, the consistency of the chocolate changes and the mixture clogs the processing equipment.

However, scientists at Temple University have found a way to reduce the fat content of chocolate. They run an electric field through the chocolate in the same direction as the flow, rather than the conventional perpendicular method. This reduces the viscosity and allows the fat to be removed. (Temple University has a patent on the process.)*

It is estimated that soon we will be seeing the fat level in chocolate reduced by 10-20 percent.


*Gerrard, Jeremy, Scientists find ‘shocking’ way to reduce fat in chocolate, Food Engineering, June 28, 2016.


The 13 best fish as listed recently in Us News & World Report,*follow:

  1. Wild Salmon – versus farmed salmon which may experience overcrowding, exposing fish to chemicals, bacteria and disease.
  2. Artic Char – or iwana on a sushi bar, It is farmed but in a chemical free environment.
  3. Mackerel – Atlantic mackerel is fine. Spanish and King mackerel have potential for mercury contamination.
  4. Sardines – fishing has been closed due to decline in sardine population.
  5. Sablefish/black cod – Go with Sablefish caught off California, Alaska or British Columbia where there is less likelihood of getting another species. It does have moderate mercury content and children under 12 should limit to 2 times a month.
  6. Anchovies – has low mercury levels and high omega-3’s.
  7. Oysters or kaki on the sushi bar.
  8. Rainbow trout – indoor farming with a series of filters to keep the fish clean control chemical pollution and render these fish safe.
  9. Albacore tuna – Use those caught in the North Atlantic Ocean or Pacific Ocean where fishing methods are used that do not snag other species. Children under 5 should limit to 2 times a month.
  10. Mussels – or murugai on the sushi bar. Farmed are OK as they are done in an   environmentally responsible manner.
  11. Pacific Halibut is available and fine.  Atlantic Halibut is almost depleted.  Children 5 and under only 2 times a month.
  12. Rockfish – all species are good.
  13. Catfish – Use only U.S. Catfish. They are low in mercury. Avoid Catfish from Vietnam, Thailand and China.

Another report suggests to buy wild varieties (versus farmed) whenever possible. Fish from the large commercial fisheries are fine.  Look for the blue and white symbol from the Marine Stewardship Council on wild Alaskan salmon, Oregon pink shrimp and North Pacific sablefish.  The symbol proves that the fishery is meeting all local, national and international laws  of keeping its fish population at a sustainable level and minimizing environmental impact.**

Also they suggest to buy domestic fish as the U.S. has the most closely regulated fisheries in the world, except for the northern European fisheries which are also certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.  Fish are labeled according to the origins of the fishing boat.  Thus if a fish is caught off the European coast by an American boat, the fish is labeled as domestic.

Organic does not always mean “organic”. The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not have a certification program for organic seafood. A few shrimp farms do have a USDA organic certification as they qualify as livestock farms. If fish are labeled as “organic” it may mean that the fish ate organic foods in the farm where they were raised or that the fish were not treated with antibiotics or hormones.


The fish that contain the most omega-3 fatty acids are:**

  • Anchovies
  • Arctic char
  • Atlantic mackerel
  • Herring
  • Rainbow trout
  • Sablefish
  • Sardines
  • Wild salmon
  • Yellowfin tuna.


This article also suggests to avoid or limit eating some fish:**

Know which fish contain the most methylmercury and avoid or limit consumption of them.  Pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, nursing mothers and young children should avoid:

Atlantic swordfish                 shark

King Mackerel                       Tilefish

Marlin                                    Tuna (bigeye or ahi)

Orange roughy

Fish to eat no more than

Fish to eat no more than three times per month because of mercury content include:


Chilean sea bass


Mackerel (Spanish or Gulf)

Tuna (albacore or yellowfin)

Fish to eat no more than six times per month because of mercury content include:

Alaskan cod                         Bass (striped or black)                  Carp

Halibut                                  Jacksmelt                                      Lobster

Mahi mahi                            Monkfish                                       Perch (freshwater)

Sablefish                               Skate                                             Snapper

Tuna (canned chunk lite or skipjack)

Weakfish (sea trout)            White Pacific Croaker


* Hobson, Katherne and Zunderhill, Allison, 13 Best Fish: High in Omega-3’s & Environment-friendly, US News & World Report, June 29, 2016.

** 7 Facts and Tips When Buying Fish, Nutrition Dimension, Fall 2015.