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What Is Tartrazine, and Why Should I Care?

By Matt Brignall
May 20, 2011
File under: Diet, Food Allergies, Natural Health, Nutrition, Uncategorized


Tartrazine is a food coloring also referred to as yellow #5. It has been approved by the FDA for use in foods since 1969, and is widely distributed throughout the American diet. It is also frequently found in cosmetics and medications.

For the vast majority of people, there may not be much reason to care about tartrazine. It is not known to be carcinogenic, nor does chronic toxicity appear to be an indentifiable problem at common dietary exposure levels.

But for an unlucky few, exposure to tartrazine can be a big contributor to some pretty serious problems. The amount of people who have intolerance reactions to tartrazine is still being determined, but the number looks pretty small - no more than a tenth of a percent of the population. …read more of What Is Tartrazine, and Why Should I Care? here

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Is There an Optimal Window for Solid Food Introduction to Infants?

By Joseph Katzinger
March 22, 2011
File under: Childrens Health, Diet, Food Allergies, Health Concerns, Nutrition


Having a daughter who just turned 2, I’m still fascinated by anything related to children’s health and well-being. Although we’re well past the “food introduction” process, a very interesting study was just published in the journal Pediatrics that caught my attention. Let me frame the topic a bit:

The optimal time to introduce solid foods (i.e. something other than breastmilk or formula) into an infant’s diet is still a matter of debate.  On the one hand, solid foods are necessary at some point to provide key nutrients that may be hard to get sufficient amounts of otherwise, such as iron and zinc. But introducing foods too early may have its own drawbacks – an undeveloped gastrointestinal system and kidneys may be not be ready for solid foods, increasing the risk for chronic disease, such as type 1 diabetes, obesity, eczema, celiac disease, as well as diarrhea.

Food allergies are important here too – earlier introduction of foods (but not too early) might help the immune system recognize certain foods as safe, rather than mounting an immune response against them. So the evidence suggests that there may be an optimal window, sort of a “not-too-hot, and not-too-cold” time to introduce solids.

But this issue is complicated a bit by 2 factors – 1 is the actual timing of the introduction of solid foods, but the other is the duration of breastfeeding. For example, babies that are breastfed longer clearly have more benefits. But these same babies tend to have solid foods introduced later – so it’s dificult to determine if the benefits are due to longer breastfeeding, or if they’re due to a later introduction of solid foods…

So what did the new study add to the current thinking? …read more of Is There an Optimal Window for Solid Food Introduction to Infants? here

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Do Foods Trigger ADHD?

By Matt Brignall
February 16, 2011
File under: Childrens Health, Diet, Food Allergies, Health Concerns, Natural Health, Nutrition


A new study published this month in the Lancet asked a question that has troubled parents and doctors for many years – do foods trigger the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? The way the researchers went about trying to answer the question, however, leaves us almost as confused as we were before.

In this research trial, 100 children in the Netherlands were scored on measures of hyperactivity, impulse control, and other measures of ADHD. After this, half of them were placed on a restricted elimination diet for a period of five weeks, while the other half received instruction on healthy eating with no food restrictions. At the end of this five week period, the children on the elimination protocol were scored to see if their symptoms got better.

According to the scoring used, 64% of the children derived benefit from the elimination diet. These children who appeared to benefit then underwent blood tests looking for antibody markers of allergy to over 200 particular foods. Then, the researchers tracked symptoms as foods with high or low levels of allergic antibodies were reintroduced into the diet. …read more of Do Foods Trigger ADHD? here

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USDA Makes Dramatic Change to Dietary Guidelines

By Matt Brignall
February 1, 2011
File under: Diet, Food Allergies, Health Concerns, Natural Alternatives, Natural Health, Nutrition


Well, this is unexpected. The USDA today issued their 2010(?!?) Dietary Guidelines for Americans update. For the first time, this report tells Americans to eat fewer calories.

The new guidelines also specifically target added salt and sugar, dietary cholesterol, and what they refer to as solid fats. In addition, the guidelines suggest reducing land animal foods in favor of seafood.

To anybody who has followed the politics of the Food Pyramid over the past three decades, this is a welcome surprise, as it represents complete reversal from previous versions. …read more of USDA Makes Dramatic Change to Dietary Guidelines here

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