Wednesday 29 June 2011

Dietary protocol to keep babus in shape

June 29, 2011   1:05:35 AM

Bureaucrats under duress can soon look forward to the country’s food regulator to learn a lesson or two on leading a healthy life-style.

Concerned at the stressful and long working hours, which takes a toll on the health of officials holding key positions in the Governments both at the Centre and in the States, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is mulling a dietary protocol for them.

Talking to The Pioneer, FSSAI Chairman PI Suvarthan said, “Of the around 4,500 IAS officials, there are over 500 Joint Secretaries in the Central Government. Most of them are overburdened with work and have tight schedules which mean irregular or bad dietary habits. This makes them vulnerable to all kinds of stress. By the age of 40, a majority of them start complaining of various ailments such as spondylitis and gastro problems.”

The FSSAI chairperson said that the Food Authority has novel plans to identify such officials and develop modules for them after finding out their eating habits. “Should they actually follow their eating habits? What amount of calories should they take? Or for that matter, what is their present calorie intake?

“We will start working on the protocol from Delhi, and later implement it across the country for all the bureaucrats,” he pointed out.

The need of the hour for the bureaucrats is that they adopt a routine that becomes a part of their system and they should realise that it is important for their healthy lifestyle, he said adding they should also realise the disadvantage of being remaining unhealthy.

It’s not only the babus which the FSSAI is focusing upon. In fact, FSSAI director Asim Chaudhary said that recently the authority has signed an agreement with IGNOU to develop training modules on food safety and hygiene for housewives in their pursuit to learning and acquiring certain skills in respect of food safety.

Source: The Pioneer

TV junk-food ads do boost kids' appetites: study

June 28, 2011

(Reuters Life!) - Television ads for junk food really do make children hungry for those treats, especially if they watch a lot of television, according to a study.
The findings, published in Pediatrics, come amid growing calls to ban junk food advertisements aimed at children in order to combat obesity -- most recently from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which issued a policy statement on junk food ads on Monday.
In tests with 6- to 13-year olds, researchers led by Emma Boyland of the University of Liverpool in the UK found that a DVD featuring commercials for fast food and junk food seemed to whet children's appetites for sweet and high-fat fare.
"Exposure to television food commercials enhanced high television viewers' preferences for branded foods and increased reported preferences for all food items (branded and unbranded) relative to the low television viewers," she wrote.
The children involved in the research reported a greater desire for sweet and fatty foods after viewing the junk-food ads compared to days when they watched commercials for toys.
This was especially true for children who usually watched a lot of TV in their everyday lives, with "a lot" defined by the researchers as over 21 hours a week.
On average, kids wanted more high-carb, high-fat foods after watching food commercials.
But researchers said the effects of the food ads were modest, making only a small difference in the average number of food items the children said they wanted "right now."
In real life, as well, a lot of other factors would be at work, including parents' willingness to buy those foods.
"It will never be possible to demonstrate in an experimental study that food advertising contributes to obesity. There are simply too many variables to take into account," Boyland wrote in an email to Reuters Health.
On the other hand, a number of studies have no shown that children tend to want more, and eat more, tasty treats after seeing ads for them.
With older children, who often make their own food choices, that could translate into more french fries and chocolate bars. Even young children have "pester power," with studies suggesting they are more likely to use that power if they see a lot of food commercials.
"This study confirms the cumulative, sustained effect of food marketing on TV: the more children watch TV, the more susceptible they are to advertising," said Lori Dorfman, who directs the Berkeley Media Studies Group in California and has studied food marketing to children.
"This might not be so bad if food marketers put their best foods forward, but they don't," Dorfman, who did not take part in the study, told Reuters Health by email.
Dorfman noted that children now watch TV on their computers and mobile gadgets as well as at home on TV, which can add up to a lot of hours.
Dorfman said that parents should limit TV time, but added that they need help.
"It's simply not fair to expect parents alone to counter the $2 billion food companies spend each year targeting their kids with fun, irresistible ads for sugary, high-fat, salty foods," she added.

Source: Reuters
(Reporting by Amy Norton at Reuters Health; editing by Elaine Lies)

Want to reduce your belly fat? Eat apples, green peas and beans

Are you tired of having belly fat? Now, eat two small apples, one cup of green peas and one-half cup of pinto beans and exercise vigorously for 30 minutes, two to four times a week. File photo

Are you tired of having belly fat? Now, eat two small apples, one cup of green peas and one-half cup of pinto beans and exercise vigorously for 30 minutes, two to four times a week.
According to the researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre, vegetables, fruit and beans contain more soluble fibre and will help reduce visceral fat, or belly fat, around the midsection. They found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fibre eaten per day, visceral fat was reduced by 3.7 per cent over five years. In addition, increased moderate activity resulted in a 7.4 per cent decrease in the rate of visceral fat accumulation over the same time period.
“We know that a higher rate of visceral fat is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes and fatty liver disease,” said Kristen Hairston, assistant professor of internal medicine at Wake Forest Baptist and lead researcher on the study. “Our study found that making a few simple changes can have a big health impact,” he added.
The researchers examined whether lifestyle factors, such as diet and frequency of exercise, were associated with a five-year change in abdominal fat of African Americans and Hispanic Americans.
At the beginning of the study, which involved 1,114 people, the participants were given a physical exam, an extensive questionnaire on lifestyle issues, and a CT scan. Five years later, the exact same process was repeated.
The researchers found that increased soluble fibre intake was associated with a decreased rate of accumulated visceral fat, but not subcutaneous fat.
“There is mounting evidence that eating more soluble fibre and increasing exercise reduces visceral or belly fat, although we still don’t know how it works,” said Hairston. The results are published in the June 16 online issue of the journal Obesity.

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Test-tube hamburger: Lab-made meat promises a guilt-free meal

LONDON: Coming soon: The world's first test-tube hamburger, say scientists. A team at Maastricht University in the Netherlands claims that the first such laboratorymade burger could be a year away — it will have meat grown from stem cells, paving the way for eating meat without animals being slaughtered.

The scientists are currently developing the burger which will be grown from 10,000 stem cells extracted from cattle, which are then left in the laboratory to multiply more than a billion times to produce muscle tissue similar to beef.

The product is called "in vitro" meat. The world's meat consumption is expected to double by 2050 as the population increases. And, the scientists predict over the next few decades the global population will increase so quickly that there won't be enough livestock to feed all.

Mark Post, who is leading the team, said "I don't see any way you could rely on old fashioned livestock in coming decades. In vitro meat will be the only choice left.

Even if the initial results do not taste quite the same as proper meat, the scientists are convinced the public will soon get used to it. 

Cases of water-borne diseases on rise in city

June 28, 2011

Complaints of diarrhoea, jaundice, gastroenteritis and typhoid cases have started trickling into city hospitals, thanks to intermittent spells of rains coupled with extremely hot and humid days. OPDs in the medicine departments across hospitals are also choc-a-bloc with diarrhoea and typhoid cases.
"Most patients have symptoms of diarrhoea besides complaints of vomiting and sore throat," said Dr Sushum Sharma, senior consultant and head, preventive health programme at Max Healthcare. "Cultures show no pus cells, which means these are all viral infections caused by drinking impure water. People should not self-medicate and take antibiotics. Re-hydration is the only cure," Sharma added.
Doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (Aiims), which receives maximum patients in the city, has also seen huge number of patients complaining of upset stomachs.
"We've got gastroenteritis, hepatitis A and few cases of typhoid, which are not unusual at this time of the year, as people, especially the children are not careful about the water they drink," said a doctor from the department of medicine at Aiims.
 "People should avoid eating cut-fruits, juices and shakes."
The situation at Lok Nayak, the biggest Delhi government hospital, is no different. "Gastroenteritis and diarrhoea patient load is huge, but expected, as contaminated water leads to development of exotoxins in the body that cause almost instantaneous food poisoning, leading to diarrhoea," said Dr Richa Diwan, professor in the department of medicine at Lok Nayak.
While gastroenteritis - also known as stomach flu - is an inflammation of the stomach and small intestine and presents itself as acute diarrhoea, typhoid caused by bacteria. It is characterised by slowly progressing fever that goes as high as 104°F accompanied by diarrhoea.
Civic bodies, say doctors, have an important role to play. "The civic bodies should regularly chlorinate water and contamination should be checked in different localities," said a doctor.
Till they do, it is for people to stay away from contaminated food and drinking water as much as possible.

Snacking not linked to weight gain

US researchers have indicated that consuming snacks cannot be blamed for the rise in obesity.

Their research revealed that snacks and beverage consumption between meals continue to increase among Americans, accounting for more than 25 per cent of calorie intake each day.

Between 1977 and 2006, snacking in the American diet has grown to constitute 'a full eating event', or a fourth meal, averaging about 580 calories each day, said Richard D. Mattes, Ph.D., professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University.

While snacking has increased in general, "there has been a significant increase in the amount of calories consumed through beverages," he said.

In general, however, snacking is not linked with weight gain, according to G. Harvey Anderson, Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto.

"The literature does not support the intuitive notion that increased consumption of snack foods is an independent cause of obesity," said Anderson.

In fact for some age groups - young children and older adults, for example – "foods consumed outside a meal are important sources of nutrients as well as energy."

The research has been presented at the 2011 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo. 

Monday 27 June 2011

‘Eating for two’ harms your baby

LONDON: Moms-to-be , please note — eating for two can harm your baby, for researchers have found that women who consume too much during pregnancy raises risk of low IQ, eating disorders and psychosis in their children.

An international team has found that the risks were increased not just in the early years but also in adolescence , and in adulthood when the risk of disorders like schizophrenia was increased . The findings, published in the international journal Obesity Reviews, examined researches from across across the world on the impact of maternal weight on child development.

One study found that every increased unit in the pregnant woman's Body Mass Index (BMI) — calculated as her weight in kg divided by the square of her height in metres — was linked to a "significantly" reduced IQ in child. Overall, the average IQ of children of obese mothers was five points lower than those born to mothers of healthy weight, according to the study, one of 12 examined by the researchers at McMaster University, in Ontario, Canada.

Another study from Sweden found children born of overweight mothers were more likely to suffer from attention deficit problems, while findings from Japan found every extra BMI point added in early pregnancy increased the offspring's chance of developing schizophrenia in adulthood by 24%.

A similar study of Australian teenagers suggested their chance of having an eating disorder increased by 11% for every extra BMI point gained by their mothers during the pregnancy.

The researchers said the reasons for the extra risks were not clear, but might be linked to changes in the hormonal, cardiovascular and immune systems during pregnancy as a result of excess weight.

Jane Munro, from the Royal College of Midwives, said more research was needed to establish whether the apparent risks highlighted in the latest study were a direct result of maternal obesity. 

Sunday 26 June 2011

Food tips for the monsoon

Food tips for the monsoon (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)

The monsoon might bring a welcome relief from the scorching summer sun, but its also brings about a host of diseases along.

Keeping certain things in mind might however help avoid falling sick and let you enjoy the monsoon. Gastroenteritis and food poisoning are quite common and the high humidity helps in the growth of disease causing bacteria.

While eating out, keep in mind that soups, pasta and other such food which is supposed to be served hot, must not be allowed to become lukewarm which is ideal for the growth of bacteria. It is applicable for frozen foods like ice cream as well which must be served completely frozen and ensure that melted ice cream is not refrozen since this could lead to food poisoning. Try and avoid eating raw food like salads because it is difficult to ascertain whether they have been washed, cleaned and stored at the right temperature before being served. Rather, stir fried vegetables might be a good option.

Also don't go for chutneys and sauces since they are stored at room temperature and are loaded with harmful microorganisms. Don't indulge in milk product specially sweets, in case the shop doesn't display or store them at controlled temperature. High sugar content and milk makes for an ideal environment for bacterial growth. Check the temptations of gorging on those roadside pani puri and bhel puri as the chutneys are prepared very hygienically and might cause stomach upset. Keep these simple tips in minds and go out make the most of the monsoon. 

FSSAI likely to make printing of amount & quantity on label a must soon

June 26, 2011

Food business operators will now have to print the amount of transfat, added sugar, saturated fat and salt used in their food products on the label. This was confirmed by Dr Sesikeran, director, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, in a telephonic interview with FnB News.

Earlier the manufacturers voluntarily printed these details but now the law will make it mandatory to print this information on the labels.

This, along with the recommended daily allowance will give a clear picture of the ingredients and the nutritional value of ingredients to the consumers.

The changes have come about after a series of recent meetings of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) panel for labelling and claims / advertisement, which discussed various issues surrounding the labelling laws on food products. In addition, the members who attended the last meeting also deliberated on the direction of the Supreme Court to consider lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan's PIL (public interest litigation) demanding additional info on labels.

Dr Sesikeran, who is the chairman of the labelling and claims / advertisement panel, informed that the current food labelling law is being reviewed entirely, following the meetings.

“The panel is currently reviewing the draft prepared by the FSSAI on food labelling and will provide its input. The final draft with required panel input shall be ready in a month-and-a-half and the Authority will then place it in public domain for suggestions, after which the scientific committee will take a review,” he said.

However, Dr Sesikeran shared that providing details on the “country of origin,” which is mandated in many Western countries may not be made compulsory in India. He explained, “It is the West which is more concerned about the country from which the food is imported, like India or China. But for a country like India, where most of the food is produced domestically, it is not the biggest concern.”

The panel is also keen on learning about the stand that the government is likely to take on the GM food. Once approved in India, the printing of GM food (particularly processed food) on label will be mandated.

Further, the health and nutritional claim will also be asked to be supported by enough scientific data.

The other issue that was discussed in the meeting was that of the font size of the text on the labels. Dr Sesikeran said that it was important that the labels could be clearly read without any reading aid and in reasonable amount of light.

“Though there is a law which asks for a minimum font size of 1mm (normal case), which depends on the principle display panel of the product, the FSSAI-labelling panel is likely to raise this to a higher mark,” he said.

The current labelling rules are notified in G.S.R. 664(E), a Notification of Government of India in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (Department of Health). 

E.coli: consumers advised not to eat raw bean sprouts

Thompson and Morgan Spicy Fenugreek seeds

25th June, 2011
The Food Standards Agency has advised consumers against eating raw sprouted seeds such as alfalfa, bean sprouts and fenugreek following an outbreak of Eshcerichia coli in France.
The revised guidance was issued after French authorities linked sprouting seeds supplied by a British company to an Escherichia coli outbreak that has left eight people in hospital in France.
Although the agency has not issued an order products to be withdrawn from sale, it could see supermarkets removing prepared salads that contain bean sprouts and other sprouted seeds from the shelves for fear they will have been contaminated.
The Agency said that the sprouted seeds should only be eaten if they have been cooked thoroughly until steaming hot to ensure any bacteria has been destroyed.
To date, there have been no cases of food poisoning in the UK linked to the outbreak in France.
It comes after an outbreak of a new strain of E coli killed 44 people in Germany and left 3,700 ill including Britons who had recently travelled from Germany. Bean sprouts have also been identified as the most likely cause of that outbreak.

French health officials said test results on two of the eight people in the latest outbreak showed an infection of the same strain of E coli as had caused the German outbreak.
The Food Standards Agency said it was investigating claims that the seeds linked to the French outbreak had come from a supplier Thompson & Morgan of Ipswich in Suffolk.
Sales of three types of seed from the firm have been halted over the Channel.
A spokesman for the FSA said: "As a precaution, the Agency is advising that sprouted seeds should only be eaten if they have been cooked thoroughly until steaming hot throughout – they should not be eaten raw.
"The Agency also advises that equipment which has been used for sprouting seeds should be cleaned thoroughly after use. You should always wash your hands after handling seeds intended for planting or sprouting."
The FSA added that all equipment that had come into contact with raw sprouting seeds should be thoroughly cleaned after use and consumers should wash their hands after handling seeds intended for planting or sprouting.
French Commerce Minister Frederic Lefevre said it has ordered a halt on the sale of fenugreek, mustard and arugula seeds from Thompson & Morgan.
An investigation found two of the eight people admitted to hospital in the outbreak had consumed sprouts from the three seeds at a school fair in the south-western town of Begles.
Thompson & Morgan said in statement it was co-operating fully with the investigation but said it was an "unsubstantiated link" between the outbreak and the consumption of sprouting seeds.
The firm said it has sold many hundreds of thousands of packets of seeds throughout the UK and Europe including more than 100,000 packets in France from more than 500 outlets.
It said: "In particular, we note the confirmation by French Secretary of State for Consumer Affairs, Frederic Lefebvre that no link between the E coli symptoms and the eating of sprouting seeds has been established."
"To date, there have been no reported incidents of any problems either in France, the UK or anywhere else they are sold," it stressed.
"We note that the French outbreak seems to be localised to a specific event, which would indicate to us that something local in the Bordeaux area, or the way the product has been handled and grown, is responsible for the incident rather than our seeds."
Samples of the seeds have been provided by the firm to the Food Standards Agency so they can be tested and the results are expected within a few days.
Meanwhile UK Independence Party East of England MEP Stuart Agnew accused the French authorities "of acting in a deeply irresponsible way" by naming Thompson & Morgan.
"There has never been any link between inert seeds and a possible outbreak of this awful contagion," he said.
"For the French Ministry to even float the idea without hard evidence is like blaming a motor manufacturer for a drunk driver. It is obvious to me that they are trying to divert attention and spread the blame."
"I am certain that if the firm suffers any loss of business because of this they have good cause for compensation from the French authorities."

Saturday 25 June 2011

Your body resist weight loss efforts

If you've been trying to lose weight and suspect your body is working against you, you may indeed be right.

"When obese people reduce their food intake too drastically, their bodies appear to resist their weight loss efforts," said Gregory G. Freund, professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

"They may have to work harder and go slower in order to outsmart their brain chemistry," added Freund, who led the study.

He particularly cautioned against beginning a diet with a fast or cleansing day, which appears to trigger significant alterations in the immune system that work against weight loss.

"Take smaller steps to start your weight loss and keep it going," he said, the journal Obesity reports.

In the study, the scientist compared the effects of a short-term fast on two groups of mice. For 12 weeks, one group consumed a low-fat diet (10 per cent fat); the other group was fed a high-fat diet (60 per cent fat) and had become obese, according to an Illinois statement.

The mice were then made to fast for 24 hours. In that time, the leaner mice lost 18 per cent of their body weight compared to five percent for the obese mice.

Beginning a weight loss programme in a depressed frame of mind and with decreased motivation doesn't bode well for the diet's success, Freund noted. 

Stress ‘really leads to comfort eating’

Researchers at the University of Texas have found that levels of ghrelin increased during prolonged periods of stress and also appeared to fuel cravings for fatty food, the British media reported.File Photo

It’s official. Stress drives people to comfort eating, says a scientific research.
Binging on sugary or fatty foods has long been thought to be connected to stress or anxiety. But until now, scientists have not been able to find a link. Now, a U.S. team has found stress hormone ghrelin which causes comfort eating.
In their study, researchers at the University of Texas have found that levels of ghrelin increased during prolonged periods of stress and also appeared to fuel cravings for fatty food, the British media reported.
In fact, in experiments on mice, they found that an increased level of ghrelin brought on by stress increased the animals’ appetite. The researchers studied the ghrelin levels of mice exposed to a variety of stressful situations who had free access to comforting chow.
Study’s author Dr Jeffrey Zigman said: “Many people when stressed turn to high calorie ‘comfort foods’ In our study, stress-induced food-reward behaviour was dependent on signalling by the hormone ghrelin.
“Insight into this could provide new targets for the development of drugs to curb this potentially detrimental behaviour.”
He added: “The popular media and personal anecdotes are rich with examples of stress-induced eating of calorically dense comfort foods. Such behavioural reactions likely contribute to the increased prevalence of obesity in humans experiencing chronic stress or atypical depression.”
The study has been published in ‘Journal of Clinical Investigation’

Friday 24 June 2011

Quality, not quantity, of your food key to weight loss

Oats, milk and fruits, a healthy breakfast. To maintain a slim figure, the researchers said, it is much more important to concentrate on eating healthy foods rather than fixating on how much one consumes. File Photo

Struggling to shed those extra kilos? Then eat extra helpings of yoghurt and nuts rather than concentrating on calorie cutting, scientists say.
Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health found that the more good food in one’s diet, the more weight one loses over the long term.
To maintain a slim figure, the researchers said, it is much more important to concentrate on eating healthy foods rather than fixating on how much one consumes, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Their study of almost 120,000 people, five-sixths of whom were women, discovered that extra helpings of yoghurt, nuts, fruit, whole grains and vegetables were all linked to weight loss.
The team quantified the effect that eating particular types of food daily had on weight gain or loss.
Perhaps surprisingly, eating more yoghurt and nuts every day had a bigger effect on losing weight than fruits and vegetables -- probably because they keep people fuller for longer.
They found that people who ate an extra portion of yoghurt daily, compared to the study group as a whole, lost on average 0.37kg every four years, over a 20 year period.
For nuts the comparable figure was 0.26kg, for fruits 0.22kg, for whole grains 0.17kg and for vegetables 0.1kg.
The authors, led by Prof Dariush Mozaffarian, noted that this did not mean people could simply eat large amounts of these foods and lose weight.
“Obviously, such foods provide calories and cannot violate thermodynamic laws,” they wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.
However, people who ate them tended to eat less calorie-dense foods such as chips, meats, desserts and sugary drinks.
“Their increased consumption would... displace other, more highly processed foods in the diet, providing plausible biologic mechanisms whereby persons who eat more fruits, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains would gain less weight over time,” the researchers wrote.
The worst foods to over-consume were chips -- adding on extra 0.77kg per four years for every daily serving over the average -- sugary drinks (0.45kg) and meats (0.43kg).
The study warned that people tended to put on weight so slowly that they never noticed.
The mean weight gain was less than a pound a year, but over 20 years that amounted to 7.6kg. At its root, this was because people consumed just 50 or 100 calories a day more than they expended, the researchers said.
The study also found that sleeping between six and eight hours -- no more no less -- was ideal for minimising weight gain, while cutting down on television viewing was also important.

Changes in diet may lead to long-term weight gain

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have found that modest changes in specific foods and beverages, physical activity, TV-watching, and sleep duration were strongly linked with long-term weight gain.

Changes in diet, in particular, had the strongest associations with differences in weight gain.

The researchers evaluated changes in multiple dietary and other lifestyle factors and weight gain every four years over 12 to 20 years of follow-up in three separate large cohorts, the Nurses' Health Study (NHS), the Nurses' Health Study II (NHS II), and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS).

The final analyses included 50,422 women in the NHS, 47,898 women in NHS II, and 22,557 men in HPFS, all of whom were free of obesity or chronic diseases at the beginning of the study.

Study participants gained an average of 3.35 lb during each four-year period, which corresponded to a weight gain of 16.8 lb over the 20-year period.

Foods associated with the greatest weight gain over the 20-year study period included potato chips, other potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages, unprocessed meats and processed meats.

The results also showed that changes in physical activity and TV-viewing influenced changes in weight.

Also, those who slept 6-8 hours a night gained less weight than those who slept less than 6 or more than 8 hours.

Overall, the weight-changes associated with lifestyle change were fairly small. However, together they added up, especially for diet.

"Small dietary and other lifestyle changes can together make a big difference – for bad or good," said lead author Dariush Mozaffarian, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at HSPH.

The study appeared in the June 23, 2011, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine

Low-calorie diet offers hope of cure for type 2 diabetes

Scientists at Newcastle University claim a low calorie diet can cure type 2 diabetes Photograph: Getty

24 June 2011

People who have had obesity-related type 2 diabetes for years have been cured, at least temporarily, by keeping to an extreme, low-calorie, diet for two months, scientists report today.
The discovery, reported by scientists at Newcastle University, overturns previous assumptions about type 2 diabetes, which was thought to be a lifelong illness.
In the UK about two and a half million people have been diagnosed with diabetes, the large majority with type 2, and numbers are rising across much of the world. The condition has to be controlled with drugs and eventually insulin injections. It can cause blindness and end in foot amputation, as well as shortening life.
The results of the Newcastle investigation, though the study was small, demonstrated that full recovery was possible, not through drugs but through diet.
Eleven people with diabetes took part in the study, which was funded by Diabetes UK. They had to slash their food intake to just 600 calories a day for two months. But three months later seven of the 11 were free of diabetes.
"To have people free of diabetes after years with the condition is remarkable – and all because of an eight-week diet," said Roy Taylor, professor at Newcastle University, who led the study. "This is a radical change in understanding type 2 diabetes. It will change how we can explain it to people newly diagnosed with the condition. While it has long been believed that someone with type 2 diabetes will always have the disease, and that it will steadily get worse, we have shown that we can reverse the condition."
Type 2 diabetes, which used to be known as adult onset, is caused by too much glucose in the blood. It is strongly linked to obesity, unlike type 1, which usually develops in children whose bodies are unable to make the hormone insulin to convert glucose from food into energy. They need daily insulin injections.
The research, presented today at the American Diabetes Association conference, shows that an extremely low-calorie diet, consisting of diet drinks and non-starchy vegetables, prompts the body to remove the fat clogging the pancreas and preventing it from making insulin.
The volunteers were closely supervised by a medical team and matched with the same number of volunteers with diabetes who did not get the special diet. After just one week into the study, the pre-breakfast blood sugar levels of the study group had returned to normal. And MRI scans showed that the fat levels in the pancreas had returned to normal. The pancreas regained its ability to make insulin.
After the eight-week diet the volunteers returned to normal eating but had advice on healthy foods and portion size. Ten of the group were retested and seven had stayed free of diabetes.
Taylor, the director of the Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre, had the idea for the study after it was shown that diabetes was reversed in people who had undergone stomach stapling or other forms of bariatric surgery because of obesity. "What was remarkable was that the diabetes went away over the course of one week. It was widely believed the operation itself had done something, [that] the hormones in the gut were thought to be the cause. That is almost universally believed."
Taylor thought the massive drop in calorie intake after surgery could be responsible and to test this hypothesis set up the study, which included MRI scans of the pancreas to look at any changes in the fatty deposits.
"We believe this shows that type 2 diabetes is all about energy balance in the body," said Taylor. "If you are eating more than you burn, then the excess is stored in the liver and pancreas as fat, which can lead to type 2 diabetes in some people. What we need to examine further is why some people are more susceptible to developing diabetes than others."
He warned that only a minority of people, perhaps 5% or 10%, would be able to stick to the harsh diet necessary to get rid of diabetes. But even that, he said, would dramatically improve the health of many people and save the NHS millions.
Iain Frame, director of research at Diabetes UK, said people should not embark on such a diet without a doctor's approval and help. "We welcome the results of this research because it shows that type 2 diabetes can be reversed, on a par with successful surgery without the side effects.
"However, this diet is not an easy fix and Diabetes UK strongly recommends that such a drastic diet should only be undertaken under medical supervision. Despite [it] being a very small trial, we look forward to future results, particularly to see whether the reversal remains long term."
Gordon Parmley, 67, of Stocksfield, Newcastle upon Tyne, a trial participant, said he first noticed something was wrong when his vision went "fuzzy" and he had trouble focusing while playing golf. He had been on medication since being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes six years ago.
He said: "When my doctor mentioned the trial I thought I'd give it a go, as it might help me and other diabetics. I came off my tablets and had three diet shakes a day and some salad or vegetables, but it was very, very, difficult and I'm not sure I'd have done it without the support of my wife, who went on a diet alongside me.
" At first the hunger was quite severe and I had to distract myself with something else – walking the dog, playing golf, or doing anything to occupy myself and take my mind off food. But I lost an astounding amount of weight in a short space of time.
"At the end of the trial I was told my insulin levels were normal, and after six years I no longer needed my diabetes tablets. Still today, 18 months on, I don't take them.
"It's astonishing really that a diet – hard as it was – could change my health so drastically. After six years of having diabetes I can tell the difference. I feel better, even walking round the golf course is easier."

Thursday 23 June 2011

Kidney failure linked to kava tea

Kidney failure linked to kava tea (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)

June 23, 2011

A study has found that a trendy tea derived from the kava plant can cause kidney failure and muscle breakdown.

When doctors at the University of Rochester Medical Center emergency room examined a 34-year-old bicyclist, who was found collapsed on a roadside, they were surprised to find what had caused his ills.
They described it as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the importance of taking a thorough medical history, including the use of any and all herbal remedies and pharmaceuticals.
In this instance the patient recovered, and doctors noted that adverse effects are somewhat rare.

However, across the country the number of kava bars is on the rise, and a recent article noted at least three new businesses in Palm Beach, Fla., despite several documented health problems due to kava ingestion.
"With the increased use of herbal remedies, we in the medical field have become accustomed to asking patients about their use," URMC Department of Emergency Medicine Chair Michael F. Kamali, M.D., said.
"What concerns us is the lack of controls in producing and distributing these products as well as some lack of knowledge of the potential harm by those people using the product," he stated.
Kava (Piper methysticum) is a plant in the pepper family that grows naturally throughout the western Pacific. Hawaiians have been using it for 3000 years for its sedating properties and as a celebratory drink.
Regular drinkers of kava tea claim it eases anxiety, insomnia, and menopause symptoms. Some people drink it in place of alcohol.
The sale of kava root and its extract in pill form are legal in the United States and can be found on the Internet.
However the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued warnings due to concerns about liver and kidney toxicity.
The URMC patient told physicians he had been a long-time user, drinking kava tea a couple times a week for anxiety. But on this day, he said, he drank twice the amount as usual.
When he arrived at URMC's Strong Memorial Hospital, he was agitated, rigid and combative to the point that medical personnel had to physically and chemically restrain him.
Later he reported severe muscle weakness and fatigue, and routine blood tests revealed that his creatine kinase (CK) levels (which provide important information about the condition of the muscles, including the heart muscle) had soared to 32,500 IU/L.

Junk food destroys control over appetite, makes you eat more

 June 23, 2011,

LONDON: Scientists claim to have finally revealed why scoffing junk food actually makes one eat more — it destroys the brain's ability to control one's appetite. A new study has found that fatty food destroys the brain cells that control weight, leading to a vicious circle of obesity , a finding which may explain why it's so hard for fat people to shift the pounds.

For their study, the scientists fed rats what they described as a "typical high-fat American diet" and found they had doubled their calorie intake three days later. Further study showed they also had an inflammation in hypothalamus, the part of brain containing neurons that control body weight. This inflammation stopped a few days later but recurred after four weeks.

Lead researcher Joshua Thaler of the University of Washington said they also detected a healing response to brain injury called gliosis . "We speculate that the early gliosis that we saw may be protective response that fails over time."

"It is not yet clear whether this presumed neuronal injury is permanent , but it may contribute to weight gain. If medicines can be designed that limit neuron injury during over-eating they may be effective in combating obesity."
The findings have been recently presented at the Endocrine Society's 93rd annual meeting in Boston.

Beyond nimbu pani

A sattu drink seller does brisk business on the streets of New Delhi.

Keep your cool with these traditional homemade drinks
Summer is an excuse to dig into all the ice-creams and cold drinks we like. We all know about nimbu ka sherbet, jaljeera and lassi. But there are some lesser-known drinks, easily made at home and highly recommended by grandmothers, primarily for their cooling properties. The fact that these drinks are highly refreshing and delicious is an added bonus.
Bael sherbet
Bael or wood apple is considered an excellent cooler for the stomach during summers. It is often prescribed as a remedy for various gastro-intestinal problems like diarrhoea and dysentery. The sherbet is made by soaking the pulp in water and straining it. The resultant concentrate is then mixed with water and sugar. It is served chilled and makes for a delicious and refreshing drink.
It is a drink made by soaking and grinding puffed rice. It is rich in carbohydrates and helps prevent heat stroke. The resultant paste is mixed with chilled water and sugar or salt, as per taste. Spices like cumin powder and black salt, along with lemon juice and mint leaves are also often added to the drink.
Falsey ka sherbet
Falsey is an Asian berry, commonly found being sold on the streets during this season. Its scientific name is Grewia. It is usually served to people coming in from the sun as it is known to greatly reduce inflammation and irritation due to excessive heat. It is also prescribed as a remedy for sunburn and heat strokes.
For the sherbet the fruit is soaked in water, then sieved to separate the seeds and pulp. The pulp is then mixed with cold water and sugar and served over ice.
Sattu is a powder made by a process in which de-husked grams are cleaned, roasted and pulverised to convert them to powder or flour form. It is an excellent source of natural fibre and carbohydrates. It is usually consumed before going out in the sun as prevention against heat stroke.The sherbet is made both sweet and salty. To make the sweet sherbet, sattu — available in powdered form in shops — is sieved and mixed with cold water and sugar and spices like black salt, jaljeera, etc. It is served chilled, often with mint leaves and a dash of lemon. For the salty preparation it is mixed with onions, green chillies, black salt, cumin powder, salt and a dash of lemon.
Aam Panna
Green mangoes are a rich source of pectin and an effective remedy for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Aam panna is taken to prevent excessive loss of sodium chloride and iron during summers due to excessive sweating. It is also considered a tonic that increases body resistance against tuberculosis, anaemia, cholera and dysentery. Raw mangoes are boiled and the pulp is mashed and strained. Chilled water, sugar and various spices like black salt, asafoetida and cumin powder are added and served with ice.

Red wine, grapes lessen illness of old age

June 22, 2011

Recent studies have long touted a compound known as resveratrol found in red wine, grapes and other fruits as a cure for various diseases and a preventative against aging.

Now, a new study by the University of Florida has revealed that the polyphenol compound- an antibiotic substance produced by plants as a defense against microorganisms- may not prevent old age, but it might make it more tolerable.

"We're all looking for an anti-aging cure in a pill, but it doesn't exist. But what does exist shows promise of lessening many of the scourges and infirmities of old age," said UF exercise psychologist Heather Hausenblas, one of the study's researchers.

A comprehensive review of human clinical research on resveratrol has found it has 'anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties', but more research on its benefits is needed, she said.

The UF review shows that the resveratrol has considerable potential to improve health and prevent chronic disease in humans.

Exactly how resveratrol works isn't yet fully understood. Correlating factors such as metabolism, the chemical interplay of molecules, genetics, exercise, age, dosage, and many others all play a role.

Among resveratrol's most intriguing aspects is how it functions as an antioxidant.

The study appeared online this week in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research

Is litchi linked to child deaths?

June 22, 2011

PATNA: The state government has geared up to combat the mysterious disease which has claimed lives of 25 children so far in Muzzafarpur district.
Throwing light on the causes of disease, BJP state president and kala azar expert Dr C P Thakur said the disease recur every year at the end of litchi season in Muzaffarpur. He said a white small germ is found in litchi fruit and this is a case for research whether the disease is co-related to it. He further said DDT spray would kill the culex mosquito which would prevent transmission of the virus.
Principal secretary, health, Amarjeet Sinha said whatever the disease is -- Japanese encephalitis, acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) or other viral disease -- the treatment process currently underway would remain the same.

Even low-cal potato chips make you fat

(Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)

June 21, 2011

A new study has revealed that foods made with fat substitutes do not help with weight loss.
The study by researchers at Purdue University showed that synthetic fat substitutes used in low-calorie potato chips and other foods could backfire and contribute to weight gain and obesity.
Our research showed that fat substitutes can interfere with the bodys ability to regulate food intake, which can lead to inefficient use of calories and weight gain, said Susan E. Swithers, the lead researcher and a Purdue psychology professor.

The study used laboratory rats that were fed either a high-fat or low-fat diet of chow.
Half of the rats in each group also were fed Pringles potato chips that are high in fat and calories.
The remaining rats in each group were fed high-calorie Pringles chips on some days and low-calorie Pringles Light chips on other days. The Pringles Light chips are made with olestra, a synthetic fat substitute that has zero calories and passes through the body undigested.
For rats on the high-fat diet, the group that ate both types of potato chips consumed more food, gained more weight and developed more fatty tissue than the rats that ate only the high-calorie chips.
The fat rats also didnt lose the extra weight even after the potato chips were removed from their diet.
On the other hand the rats that were fed a low-fat diet didnt experience significant weight gain from either type of potato chips.
Based on this data, a diet that is low in fat and calories might be a better strategy for weight loss than using fat substitutes, concluded Swithers.
The study was published online in the American Psychological Association journal Behavioral Neuroscience.

Delhi bans use of calcium carbide for ripening fruits

Jun 22, 2011

New Delhi, The Delhi government has banned the use of calcium carbide for artificial ripening of fruits, recognising its harmful effects of health, and suggested ethylene gas as an alternate technique.

"Use of calcium carbide for artificially ripening the fruits is banned in Delhi under the PFA (Prevention of food adulteration) Act," Delhi Health Minister A K Walia has said.

Walia had chaired a meeting of state officials, scientists from ICAR and mango traders here yesterday to discuss the alternate techniques for maturing of fruits.

Officials from department of prevention of food adulteration, scientists from Shri Ram Institute of Industrial research and representatives of Mother Dairy were also present.

Based on inputs provided by the experts, the minister said ethylene gas can be used as alternate technique for ripening of fruits, which is not harmful.

"The fruits ripened with Ethylene have more acceptable colour than naturally ripened fruits and have more shelf-life than fruits ripened with calcium carbide," Walia had said.

Horticulture experts say that calcium carbide used for ripening of the king of fruits is carcinogenic and thus the final product is cancerous.

The minister said the government is soon going to organise special awareness campaign to spread awareness among the fruit traders and merchants for the adoption of ethylene as an alternative medium for ripening of fruits.

"The technique is also said to be very cost effective, so it won't affect the customer," Walia said, adding, similar technique is already being used by Mother Dairy and a few states.

Sudesh J Schdeva, President of Mango Merchant Association at Azadpur (Asia's biggest fruit and vegetable wholesale market) said a group of ICAR scientists are expected to visit the market tomorrow to educate mango merchants about advantages of ethylene gas for artificial ripening of the fruit.

The national capital receives over 200 trucks of mangoes containing about 10 tonnes of the fruit daily from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and South India, Sachdeva added.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

What is the baby food diet?

Baby food. Sounds tasty and delicious, doesn't it? Warm, soft and inviting, yes. But is the baby food diet the best way to lose weight?

While the baby food diet promises weight loss if you eat pre-portioned baby foods, you still need to double check if the diet is healthy enough for long-term sustainable weight loss. Hollywood celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Reese Whitherspoon swear by it. Let's find out if it's really worth your time...

What can you eat on the Baby Food Diet?
For starters, buy all kinds of baby foods available in your local store. You can go for large jars as there are next to no guidelines regarding the quantity or type of food. One can have a healthy meal at dinner, even after consuming baby food all day. The diet essentially believes in swapping high-calorie snacks and eating baby food instead.

Does the Baby Food Diet really work?
The baby food diet essentially propagates munching and snacking on unsalted, mashed, mushy food which is served in pre-packed portions. In theory, it seems like a good weight loss strategy, since the snacking patterns and content would help you stick to consuming a limited number of calories in the day leading to weight loss. 

However, mindful eating becomes a question of concern, as always, since baby food still contains calories. If someone binges on baby food, he/she would still put on weight. Simply switching snacks with baby food, therefore, isn't the key once again. Two other points to consider are - 1. Baby food is full of nutrients essential for a baby's growth, and not designed for adults, and 2. Baby food is extremely low in added preservatives or additives. Other than this, there are no exercise instructions, leaving one confused and demoralised if the weight doesn't shake. 

Different opinions on The Baby Food Diet
Many dieticians negate the benefits of baby food diet as it can often lead to overeating as there is no specific quantity and days defined for the plan. Infact, we say that eating an apple or a carrot or any of the seasonal fruits is a much more beneficial snack item than bingeing on baby food. 

Baby food is often processed and strained heavily, thus it might lack fiber, calcium and vitamins. It is also likely to create a huge hole in your pocket as baby foods are pretty expensive food items. Other than this, baby food is pretty bland and unsalted and requires next to no chewing thus making you hungry soon after you eat them. 

Overall, the baby food diet doesn't seem to promote healthy eating for sustainable weight loss. It is not based on essential food groups, correct nutrition, or long-term healthy eating patterns. 


Varsity signs an MoU

June 22, 2011

The Indira Gandhi National Open University’s (IGNOU) Centre for Corporate Education Training & Consultancy and School Of Agriculture has signed an Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) with Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to develop training module on food safety and hygiene. The MoU was signed by the Registrar of IGNOU, US Tolia and the Director of FSSAI, Asim Choudhary.

According to the MoU, IGNOU shall develop training module on food safety for housewives by constituting a group to develop training module which will have questions and self assessment format. A separate CD shall also be developed containing the study materials and questions for use by the students along with an online platform for easy access to reading material.

Source: Pioneer

FSSAI guidelines for healthy food in midday meal on anvil

June 22, 2011

With several incidents of food poisoning due to sub-standard midday meals served to students coming to the fore and in view of school cafeterias selling junk food, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is in the process of framing a set of guidelines to ensure standard norms for nutritious diet to all.

The proposed guidelines will be based on scientific parameters and reliable survey data on the food habits of schoolchildren, besides food handling and hygienic practices in school kitchens.

There are more than 12 crore children studying in more than 8 lakh primary and upper primary schools. Apart from this there are many public schools run by private managements.

The move follows the premier food watch body's concern at the quality of food presently being served to the students under the midday meal schemes and the sale of junk food like greasy pizzas and French fries being sold in the cafeterias of the schools, especially the private ones.

“The need for healthy food for the students is being increasingly felt in view of various studies, which have shown that children who eat nutritious food report better standardised test scores, better behavior and are less hyperactive than children eating unhygienic or junk food,” a senior official from FSSAI told The Pioneer.

“Moreover, unhygienic food can have deleterious effect on child health both in short and long term. Incidents may be many more but they go unreported due to interior location of schools and poor communications,” he said, while underlining the need to ensure healthy diet to the young kids.

The authority, which is now in the process of identifying the institutes to help it frame the guidelines, hopes the schools will strictly adhere to the guidelines, once framed. Though the guidelines will be voluntary in nature initially, it will be made mandatory later on.

To assess whether the guidelines are implementable, a pilot testing will be conducted in a few selected schools comprising rural, urban, tribal area schools, boarding schools with centralised or decentralised kitchens.

The authority also proposes to organise regional workshops for consultation with concerned stakeholders to get suggestions on the draft guidelines, the official added.

The authority is mandated to frame science-based standards for food items and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import besides ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.

Source: Pioneer

Govt recommends ban on food items imported from Japan

June 22, 2011

Amid fears that radiation from its earthquake-hit nuclear plants was spreading across Japan, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Tuesday recommended a ban on all food items being imported from that country for three months or till such time when the radiation hazard subsides to acceptable limits.

Though a number of countries have halted import of certain eatables like dairy products from Japan and many are screening the items, India, will probably, become the first country to impose a blanket ban on all food items, if the recommendations are accepted in Toto.

The final decision in this regard will be taken by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) which will issue a notification thereon.

"Import of food articles coming from Japan should be suspended with immediate effect for a period of three months or till such time as credible information is available that the radiation hazard has subsided to acceptable limits," said an advisory from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

Just a fortnight ago, the Government had said that authorised officers will screen all food items arriving at all the entry points of the customs and airport.

However, the advisory to impose the blanket ban came following a discussion in a meeting presided by PI Suvrathan, FSSAI chairperson wherein the situation arising out of radioactive incidents in nuclear power plants in Japan and possible contamination of Japanese food being imported into India was reviewed.

"After detailed discussions, it was concluded that since the radiation is spreading/expanding horizontally in other parts of Japan, it may result in further radioactive contamination in the supply chain of food exports from Japan," the official said.

The meeting was attended by representatives/experts from Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology (BRIT), Bhabha Atomic Research Institute (BARC), Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR), Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) and Shriram Institute for Industrial Research.

India mainly imports a small volume of processed food items, fruits and vegetable from Japan, which said it was considering imposing radioactivity restrictions on seafood after contaminated fish were found.

Source: Pioneer

Government shrugs off dangers of unsafe food

June 22, 2011

Food illness outbreak is a matter of life and death. But shunning its responsibility of ensuring the safety of consumer’s health, the Government is leaving it on the conscience and judgement of Food Business Operators (FBOs) to recall unsafe food from the market to prevent any untoward incident.

This is what it has proposed in its recently drafted Food Authority’s Food Recall Procedures Regulations, 2009. The draft aims to “guide” FBOs on the stepwise procedure for recall in case the food does not meet the hygiene, safety and quality parameters.

As per the draft, prepared by the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India, “It is the responsibility of FBO to have procedures and systems in place to identify other business to whom they have supplied their food as well to remove it from sale and distribution when requested by the State Food Authorities.”

Intriguingly, the draft is silent on the penalty on the errant FBOs in case of violation. Or for that matter, it is also not clear on the aspect of keeping a tab on small food product manufactures in the unregulated sector which caters to a large number of consumers.

The Regulations, which are yet to be notified, are most likely to kick up a storm and trigger a debate among the consumer safety groups. The Regulations shall come into force from date of notification in the official Gazette.

The recall can be on the basis of complaints from wholesalers, importers, distributors, retailers, consumers, media, government agencies, FSSAI or State food authorities, it says.

In case the firm itself initiates recall procedures, it is required to submit a recall alert notification to the State Food Authority within 24 hours and the recalling firms will be asked to stop any further production and distribution of the food product under recall.

According to the draft, a recall of the food manufactured overseas can also be initiated by reports of health authorities, or from information received otherwise.

It also says all food businesses engaged in the wholesale supply, manufacture or importation of food regulated by Food Authority must have a up-to-date recall plan except food retailers, unless they are also engaged in the wholesale supply, manufacture or importation of food.

Source: Pioneer

Licence must for running eateries; PFA Act abolished

June 22, 2011

The archaic Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act, 1954, has been finally repealed. A more stringent Food Safety and Standards Rules 2011 —with provisions like an enhanced penalty of up to `10 lakh and prosecution up to life-term for those ignoring hygiene standards has now come into force. In fact, running a dhaba (roadside eatery) will now also require obtaining a licence.

Notified on May 5, the Rules have been framed five years after the enactment of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. It is aimed at curbing inspector raj and promoting good manufacturing practices, a Health Ministry official said.

The Rules, prepared by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), are based on the notion that contamination can happen at any stage and brings under its cover the entire food chain from the fields of farmers to transport to processing to storage to wholesale markets to the final consumer.

In fact, any person engaged in selling, hoarding or manufacturing any food article found to be suffering from any infectious disease will be strictly prevented from any such activity.

The Rules, for the first time, bring all big, medium and small food businesses under a single licencing system.

“While big firms will have to procure licence from the FSSAI and medium ones from states, small businesses such as hawkers and vendors will have to obtain it from the respective panchayat or municipality,” the official maintained.

Small-time food vendors and hawkers will be asked to register, a move aimed at inculcating the habit of hygienic practices among them. “We are working out a strategy to register them and thereby make it a purposeful licencing,” he said even as he admitted it will not be an economically viable option for small-time vendors.

Unlike PFA, which had provisions for penalty along with prosecution but hardly saw any case reaching to its logical end; the FSSA categorically distinguishes the two into separate entities depending on the gravity of the crime to clamp down on food adulteration.

“For instance, certain categories of the crime will face only penalty while extreme cases of pesticides or deliberate adulteration will invite a jail term extending from six months to life,” the official added.

The enforcement of the new Rules will be the responsibility of the states and accused can appeal in the Appellate Tribunal to be soon set up across the country. The State Government will appoint the food commissioner as well as food safety and designated officers for implementation of the Act.

Source: Pioneer

Tuesday 21 June 2011

10 Foods you can't live without

10 Foods you can't live without (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)

Yes that's right! Here's a list of healthy and nutritious foods that you simply cannot ignore. These foods are tasty, aid fitness, and should be consumed on a regular basis to ensure you eat a well-balanced, all-round healthy diet.

The vegetarians among you will need to find alternatives and substitutes for a few, but don't worry - there are plenty of plant based healthy foods in this list of 10 foods you can't ignore.

Lots of fish rich in Omega 3 – A fatty fish rich in Omega 3 is really important to get your ratio balance to 1:1 (Omega 3 : Omega 6). The top 5 fish for this purpose are – Mackeral, Trout, Herring, Tuna, and Salmon. Vegetarians should take Omega 3 supplements, if a fish oil supplement is a no no. Here is the low-down on the supplements.

Broccoli The benefits of broccoli are many. This is one vegetable that is a tasty addition to your salad if cooked well and can be a fun addition to your daily dinner. And absorbent broccoli does a great job of soaking up fats and helping flush excess out of your system.

Eggs – This is one addition to the diet that even vegetarians should partake in. With healthy fats and proteins, eggs are great for a filling breakfast and if you eat these you won't need to eat again in a hurry. Eggs can be enjoyed in a spicy masala curry as well as a great dish for dinner, for those who cant stand to eat them along. Here are some recipes for unique ways to cook eggs.

Spinach Another must have vegetable made popular by Popeye, this fictional character got it right! Spinach offers calcium and magnesium in plenty, pairs well with meat of any kind, can be sauteed, steamed, thrown into soups, or eaten raw, and provides roughage. As flexible as they come, this green vegetable has so much nutrition that it's hard to ignore.

Berries – So rich in antioxidants and so low in sugar, most berries are right up there with foods we should try to get out hands on as often as possible. These are the most nutritionally dense fruits you can eat. Read more about the best fruits here.

Nuts – Macadamia, almonds, pistas, most nuts are great because they are a great filler between meals, they actually keep you full, and they are rich in proteins and good fats. Keep some nuts handy on you and they will prevent you from reaching for that bag of chips. Read more about the best snacks to keep you full.

Tomatoes – Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? The fact is that tomatoes are loaded with nutrients that'll complete any breakfast, lunch or dinner - making each meal healthier and more filling. Tomatoes have lycopene and red orbs which are well known for their cancer-defending properties. They are full of Vitamin A and Vitamin K, which help in keeping your blood pressure levels under control.

A good steak or bacon now and then – Every once in a while it's good to have a good chunk of red meat. This is because red meat contains animal fats and proteins and on the whole makes for an extremely wholesome and satiating meal. And unless you are properly satiated with your food, you are not eating well. A nice rack of lamb will do very well too.

Dark chocolate – For that sweet tooth it is important to keep some dark chocolate handy. This will help you overcome the urge for reaching for some unhealthy, sweet dessert that it's best you say away from whether you are skinny, fat, or somewhere in between. Dark chocolate that contains at least 60% cocoa is good for heart and liver health.

Red wine – You will be doing your body a lot of good if you switch from your favourite drink to red wine because of its antioxidant properties. Good health doesn't have to be about neglecting all indulgences, and if you think of red wine as an indulgence, it's time you didn't. In fact, red wine is a clever alcohol choice. 

Honey contamination: Maharashtra FDA testing affected by shortage of funds, resources

June 21, 2011

Responding to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India's (FSSAI) letter to state food commissioners asking for “Action Taken” report on antibiotics in honey, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Maharashtra, has expressed its concern over the availability of funds to perform the tests.

A source in the FDA said that the cost to test antibiotics in honey would be around Rs 10,000 per sample and the Administration did not have enough funds to carry out the tests. Besides, the FDA laboratories did not have the equipment to perform this test, thus it depended on private laboratories.

“Though the tests were conducted last year, this year food inspectors did not collect samples because of the lack of availability of funds. Around 7-8 samples would at least need Rs 1,00,000 and we are still to make provision for this in our budget. We are working on finances,” said a source from the FDA.

The issue of antibiotics in honey came up with traces of antibiotics being detected in branded honey from companies like Dabur and Himalaya. This was first exposed in a study by the NGO Centre for Science and Environment.

According to the study, most honey brands being sold in the country contained varying amounts of antibiotics and their consumption overtime could induce resistance to antibiotics, leading to blood-related disorders and injury to the liver.

Earlier, the 27-nation European Union had banned imports of Indian honey, alleging that consignments of the natural nectar from the country were contaminated with lead and the ban still continued.

Reacting to the study report, the FSSAI had shot off letters to the state FDAs asking for stricter action in the issue.

The Maharashtra FDA in turn had tested samples of Dabur, Himalaya and Kejriwal honey. “Almost negligible amount of antibiotics were found in these,” said a source from the FDA.

Another source from the FDA said that though on scientific and technical grounds the presence of antibiotics was not allowed, a broader perspective on the issue was needed.

First, was the honey contaminated, or whether, there was a possibility of contamination from the procedures, involved in handling the honey. For example, conventional honey bees are given large doses of antibiotics to help them protect from diseases. Unfortunately, the honey also gets contaminated with these antibiotics.

Second, whether the honey was actually unfit for consumption. The amount of antibiotics found in these honey was so negligible that even if a person consumed it for five years it would be equal to having one tablet.

Maharashtra FDA conducted test on Dabur Honey which yielded chloramphenicol of around 3.1 mcg per kg, while in Kejriwal Honey it was around 3.23 mcg per kg. Prosecution against both would be launched soon in the Mazgaon Magistrate Court on go-ahead from joint-commissioners FDA.

Another issue which came to forth was the availability of funds with states for implementation of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

The entire plan would need Rs 15,000-17,000 crore in four to five years according to estimates by the health ministry. Though the expenditure will be a component of the ministry's 12th Five Year Plan and the ministry also proposes to double the amount, but till then the states will need some guidance on balancing of funds for the Act, which is scheduled for August this year. 

Source: FnB News

Toxic mangoes: Traders asked to clean up act

NEW DELHI: It's a well-known fact that mangoes are ripened with calcium carbide by traders and this can prove to be toxic. The chemical is banned under section 44 A of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act but is being used across the capital, a fact that Delhi government has suddenly woken up to. It is now preparing the ground for a crackdown.

According to the government, the capital gets about 5000 tonnes of mangoes everyday. Nearly 60% of these are consumed in the city. The state government wants the traders to shift to ethylene gas which it says is harmless and closer to the natural way of ripening mangoes. The toxic and carcinogenic calcium carbide is primarily for industrial use and the acetylene gas produced by it is used for welding metallic steel. It is also said to destroy the sweetness and flavour of the fruit.

"Use of calcium carbide for ripening fruits is banned in Delhi. We lifted samples from the mandis about a month back and discovered what was happening. So, I called a meeting of experts to discuss alternatives and they felt ethylene gas was the best solution and a harmless one too. The traders attended the meeting and agreed," said Dr AK Walia, health minister of Delhi.

He said an expert committee was being set up that will visit wholesale markets to check godowns and find a solution to end the use of calcium carbide. While he was non-committal on a deadline, he said he wanted to end the practice in this seasons itself.

The traders are sceptical. Delhi Agricultural Marketing Board chairman Brahm Yadav said that shifting to ethylene gas seems unlikely in the coming months. "Storage chambers will have to be created where ethylene gas can be released to ripen the mangoes. As of now such arrangements are unavailable. A realistic target would be the next season," he added.

Dr. Walia said the government was soon going to organise special campaigns to educate fruit traders and merchants and encourage adoption of ethylene as an alternative. "The technique is also said to be cost-effective and won't affect the customer. Similar techniques are already being used by Mother Dairy and some states like Punjab and Himachal Pradesh," he added.

Dr Walia said people can also adopt the natural methods of ripening the fruits at home, which ensures both safety and quality. "People can wrap unripe mango in a newspaper and place them in an air-tight carton, box or kitchen jar at normal room temperature. After four to six days, the mangoes are ready to eat," he added.