For The Love Of Food

by | May 27, 2011

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week I found a surprisingly in depth and thoughtful piece on genetically modified foods, an even more impressive food commitment by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and a few good signs that the politics of food labels are headed in the right direction—truth.

Also, for you geeks my thesis work is finally published. Here’s the deets.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Digg. I also share links at Twitter (@summertomato) and the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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For The Love Of Food

by | Apr 8, 2011

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

Tough decisions were made this week to narrow it down to 10 stories. Love the calorie infographic, also the commentary by Dr. Ludwig on industrial food and the “small” 32 oz. soda at a SF movie theater.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Digg, Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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Summer Tomato Live – Episode #1 – The Four Hour Body [video]

by | Feb 16, 2011

Last night was the first episode of Summer Tomato Live where we discussed the new best-selling book, The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. Thanks everyone for watching and submitting your questions, the show was a huge success and we had a great conversation.

[note to self: get haircut]

The entire show is available above. Normally the videos will be available a week after the live broadcast, but for this first episode I want to give everyone a chance to see what the show is about in case you’re interested in subscribing.

I’ve partnered with Foodzie and Zürsun Heirloom Beans to provide free samples of Zürsun cranberry beans (great for Slow Carb Dieters) as well as a free Foodzie Tasting Box ($20 value) to the first 150 subscribers. Spaces are filling up quickly, so sign up soon if you want the bonuses (for more info about the show and newsletter read this). US shipments only.

Subscribe to Summer Tomato Live ($3.99/mo)

The next live show is scheduled for Wednesday, March 2, at 6:30pm PST. The reason I’m choosing a different day of the week is so that Tuesday night karate class or any other regularly scheduled activity won’t be a barrier to subscribing. If this system doesn’t work for you, please let me know. If a fixed day is better for most people, we can try to make that happen.

Wondering what the next show is about? Me too! Please vote for the next Summer Tomato Live topic (if you’re reading this in an email, please click over to the blog post to vote in the poll):

[poll id="8"]

Poll closes Friday at midnight PST.

Show notes from episode #1:

The book: The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss, a #1 New York Times best-seller.

Slow Carb Diet: How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise (note: In the book there is one extra rule than is listed in this original post, “Don’t eat fruit.”)

Recommended pressure cooker: Fagor Splendid 6-Quart Pressure Cooker

Useful links:

Please add any tips or suggestions you have about the show in the comments. Thanks!

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For The Love Of Food

by | Jan 21, 2011

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week I learned some products contain “blueberries” that are really just sugar, goo and dye, Starbucks wants to kill you with coffee (while 7-eleven wants to kill you slightly less with soda) and ginger is good for sore muscles.

I read many more wonderful articles than I post here each week. If you’d like to see more or just don’t want to wait until Friday, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. For a complete list of my favorite stories check out my links on Digg. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week


The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Thought for Food – Fruit Pouch, Doritos Ad & Super Big Gulp<a>
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> Video Archive


Have a great weekend!

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For The Love Of Food

by | Jun 4, 2010

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

Feedback has been fantastic so far from the 55 Knives e-book. The 55 Knives project is a joint effort of 55 top food bloggers offering personal stories paired with hand-selected recipes. I contributed a chapter, as did many of my favorite food bloggers. Definitely worth checking out.

More bad news for supplements this week. Seems protein supplements are toxic and omega-3 supplements add nothing to a healthy diet. Shocker I know. I’m also very curious to see how the salt battle will end. While I would certainly like to see less in processed foods, I would hate government regulation to interfere with my dining experiences. This weeks article in the Times takes an interesting look.

I read many more wonderful articles than I post here each week. If you’d like to see more or just don’t want to wait until Friday, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. For complete reading lists join me on the social bookmarking sites StumbleUpon and Delicious. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you there. (Note: If you want a follow back on Twitter introduce yourself with an @ message).

Links of the week

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For The Love of Food

by | Apr 23, 2010

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

Be sure to check out my guest post today over at Ecosalon! Top 10 Mistakes Made By Farmers Market Noobz

No good news this week for those of you who still love processed foods. Turns out sugar (not fat) causes heart disease, processed soy products causes cancer and the health insurance industries puts their extra money into fast food stocks. Luckily there is still hope for those of us interested in eating real food with actual taste.

I read many more wonderful articles than I post here each week. If you’d like to see more or just don’t want to wait until Friday, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. For complete reading lists join me on the social bookmarking sites StumbleUpon and Delicious. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you there. (Note: If you want a follow back on Twitter introduce yourself with an @ message).

Links of the week

What did you find worth reading this week?

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For The Love of Food

by | Jan 8, 2010
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This is the first chance I’ve had to read blogs in so long I almost forgot how fun it is! Every single one of these articles is worth reading (except the BS of the week, which is just to scowl at), but definitely don’t miss Marion Nestle’s piece on calories and the Slate article about vitamin supplements.

I included 2 recipes this time because I couldn’t choose.

And the first rule of Salad Club is: you always talk about Salad Club. Now if we could just get Brad Pitt to eat salad without a shirt on….

I read many more wonderful articles than I post here each week. If you’d like to see more or just don’t want to wait until Friday, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. For complete reading lists join me on the social bookmarking sites StumbleUpon and Delicious. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you there. (Note: If you want a follow back on Twitter introduce yourself with an @ message).

Best Links of the Week

What inspired you this week?

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For The Love of Food

by | Nov 20, 2009
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

If you only read one thing today make it Tom Venuto’s article about The Biggest Loser. The first time I saw the show I was inspired and loved it, but as the years progress it is clear it is not helping any of the “losers.” The Biggest Loser teaches people that weight loss is about torture and extremes, and they are destined to fail. I was going to write an article about it, but Tom does such a good job explaining my reasons I no longer feel the need to.

But, of course, there are 10 great articles down there worth checking out!

I still need votes for the People’s HealthBlogger Award by Wellsphere and would greatly appreciate your support. Wellsphere is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in healthy living. To vote for me you have to create an account with them, but you can delete it when you’re done (I have yet to get any spam). If you enjoy this blog, please take a minute to show your support. Much thanks to those who have already voted.


I read many more wonderful articles than I post here each week. If you’d like to see more or just don’t want to wait until Friday, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. For complete reading lists join me on the social bookmarking sites StumbleUpon and Delicious. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you there. (Note: If you want a follow back on Twitter introduce yourself with an @ message).

For The Love of Food

What are you reading?

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Antioxidant Supplements May Block Some Benefits of Exercise

by | May 13, 2009
Romanesco Broccoli In A Beaker

Romanesco Broccoli in a Beaker

One of the most consistent themes of nutrition science is that vitamin supplements (pills, powders, liquids, etc.) are almost never able to mimic the beneficial effects of foods that contain the same vitamins. Now new evidence suggests that high doses of these antioxidant supplements–but not whole foods containing them–may actually block the beneficial effects of exercise on insulin sensitivity and metabolism.

Exercise has countless benefits for people of all levels of fitness. One of the most important of these is its ability to improve insulin sensitivity and increase metabolism. For this reason, exercise is considered among the most effective ways to protect against type 2 diabetes.

One of the byproducts of exercise, however, is the production of free radicals that results from the breakdown of oxygen in the muscles. These reactive oxygen molecules can damage cells and DNA, and are implicated in many chronic diseases. Since antioxidants can easily neutralize these reactive oxygen molecules, it has been assumed that antioxidants such as vitamins C and E could only benefit the body.

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that rather than help protect against oxidative damage from exercise, high doses of antioxidant supplements may actually hinder the body’s natural protection against oxidative damage and block exercise-induced metabolic benefits.

In the study, human subjects were given either placebo or 500 mg vitamin C twice per day and 400 IU vitamin E. They were then trained in both cardio and strength training workouts at the gym for 5 consecutive weekdays, 4 weeks in a row. This trial was performed on both previously trained and untrained individuals.

Metabolic rates were tested by blood sample both before the trial and after 1 and 4 weeks of training. Muscle biopsies were taken both before and after the trial for all participants. Several measures of metabolism and insulin sensitivity were measured including plasma glucose concentrations, plasma insulin concentrations, maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max), as well as several molecular markers in muscle that are linked to insulin sensitivity and are known to promote the body’s natural defense against oxidative damage.

The researchers found that exercise improved measures of insulin sensitivity in all individuals except those given antioxidant supplements. Also, molecules that protect against oxidative damage are upregulated in response to training, but not when antioxidants are administered.

Previous studies suggest that the body’s natural defenses against oxidative damage require activation by a small amount of reactive oxygen chemicals in the body. These same chemicals have been shown to mediate insulin sensitivity in muscles, and in this study both were shown to be blocked by high antioxidant administration.

The researchers suggest that small doses of reactive oxygen molecules such as the amounts produced by exercise are necessary to induce the body’s natural defense against oxidative damage, and that this process is essential for mediating exercise-induced insulin sensitivity. If this is true it could mean that some (but not all) of the metabolic benefits of exercise could be limited by taking high doses of vitamin supplements. This may be particularly important to individuals at high risk for type 2 diabetes.

Interestingly, foods that contain high levels of these antioxidants have previously been shown to be protective against type 2 diabetes. Although the reason for this is still unknown, the authors suggest the benefit is unlikely due to the antioxidant content of the foods and may depend on other factors.

Even if we do not understand the reason vegetables and fruits are the best source of nutrition, we can still enjoy all their benefits. If you choose to continue taking vitamin supplements, it is advisable to stick to a basic multivitamin that does not contain megadoses of one particular nutrient.

Do you take vitamin supplements? Why? How much do you take?

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Vegetables, Nuts and Overall Healthy Diet Protect Against Heart Disease

by | Apr 20, 2009
Vegetables

Vegetables

Most scientists agree that diet plays an important role in heart disease, but until now there has been no comprehensive analysis of which dietary factors most strongly affect disease outcome. A new meta-analysis published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reviews six decades of research (1950-2007) to assess how different dietary factors affect heart disease. Vegetables, nuts, “Mediterranean” and high-quality dietary patterns are strongly protective, while trans-fat, foods with high glycemic index or load and a “Western” dietary pattern were shown to be harmful.

The Study

This new study is unique for several reasons. First, the authors were only interested in factors that influenced heart disease directly, not simply heart disease risk factors such as cholesterol levels. Also, emphasis was placed on high-quality studies designed to identify strong dietary associations (cohort studies and randomized controlled trials) with long periods of follow up (at least one year). They asked whether the studies they reviewed were consistent with other data such as epidemiological reports, and sought to establish a causal link between diet and heart disease outcomes. Another important goal of the analysis was to identify factors that lack sufficient evidence to be conclusive and require further research.

Results

In addition to identifying vegetables, nuts, high-quality and Mediterranean dietary patterns as being strongly protective against heart disease, they also found monounsaturated fats (e.g. olive oil), dietary folate (e.g. whole grains, not supplements), dietary vitamins C and E (not supplements), alcohol consumption (in any form) and omega-3 fatty acids from fish (not plants, e.g. flax) to be moderately protective.

Factors that were not associated with heart disease in this study were dietary supplements (e.g. vitamins C and E), total fat, saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats (from plants), meat, eggs and milk. It is important to note, however, that negative findings in this analysis are not necessarily indicative of a lack of causality. Rather, it may indicate insufficient data to observe a significant positive association.

Dietary Patterns

The authors point out that “only overall healthy dietary patterns are significantly associated with coronary heart disease” in the controlled trials, while “evidence for most individual nutrients or foods is too modest to be conclusive.” They suggest that the reason an association exists for dietary patterns and not individual nutrients is that patterns “have the advantage of taking into account the complex interactions and cumulative effects of multiple nutrients within the entire diet.” The authors recommend future trials test various dietary patterns for disease outcome, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Taking this further, most dietary factors that were shown to be protective when consumed as part of a healthy diet were not protective when taken in supplement form. This finding bolsters the argument that overall diet rather than individual foods or nutrients are the best strategy for protecting against heart disease. The authors conclude that their findings suggest “investigating dietary patterns in cohort studies and randomized controlled trials for common and complex chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease.”

Based on their analysis, the dietary pattern that best protects against heart disease is rich in vegetables, nuts, fish, healthy fats, whole grains, and fruit. Likewise, the worst dietary pattern consists of refined carbohydrates and artificial trans-fats. The lesson: the best diet consists of plants, fish and whole foods, while processed foods contribute to heart disease.

What about red meat and saturated fats?

Interestingly, there was insufficient data to conclude that red meat or saturated fats are harmful for the heart. This is not terribly surprising, since the data has always been inconsistent. However, I would point out that many studies have looked at the role of red meat and saturated fat in coronary risk and the outcome always shows either harm or no result. And as explained above, no result can be indicative of a lack of statistical power rather than lack of causation. Importantly however, I cannot recall a single study suggesting that red meat and saturated fat is actually good for you.

From this the best we can conclude is that red meat or saturated fat may be involved in promoting heart disease, but if they are the effect is likely to be less harmful than a diet of processed foods. Practically this means small doses of saturated fat may not do much harm when eaten as a part of an overall healthy diet. This is a fairly compelling argument for exercising moderation.

Conclusions

Before you run out and order a ribeye, keep in mind that heart disease is not the only debilitating chronic disease that plagues our culture. Red meat is also associated with several kinds of cancer. Likewise, refined carbohydrates are highly correlated with type 2 diabetes. Vegetables and whole grains are protective against these other diseases as well, and fish may play a role in protecting against neurodegenerative diseases.

The take home lesson is that both diet and disease are complex systems that involve innumerable factors in several different regions of the body. When choosing what to eat it is important that you consider the context of your overall diet and do not get caught up is single foods or a single disease threat.

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