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FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: Canada’s new food guide shuns industry, sunscreen is the new margarine, and exercise “snacks” improve fitness

by | Jan 25, 2019

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

This week Canada’s new food guide shuns industry, sunscreen is the new margarine, and exercise “snacks” improve fitness.

Next week’s Mindful Meal Challenge will start again on Monday. Sign up now to join us!

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

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FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: The truth about MSG, hacking your memories for weight loss, and the double standard in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines

by | Jan 15, 2016
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 week the truth about MSG, hacking your memories for weight loss, and the double standard in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app I just discovered to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

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

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For the Love of Food

by | Jun 5, 2015
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 week the FDA finally gets tough on antibiotics, how to stop exercise from sucking, and why diet pills can cause weight gain.

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app I just discovered to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (Yes, I took that picture of the pepper heart myself.)

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For the Love of Food

by | May 2, 2014
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.

I was traveling last week so included 15 links today instead of the usual 10 in order to catch up.

This week vegetables don’t protect against cancer, how food tricks our brains, and the magic of Mondays.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).
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For the Love of Food

by | Aug 23, 2013
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 week metals lurk in makeup and drinking water, root-to-stalk is the new nose-to-tail, and making sense of juicing.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

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For The Love Of Food

by | Oct 26, 2012

For The Love of Food

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

This week we learn that probiotics fight colds, raw food limits brain growth, and why longevity may require more than diet and exercise.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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For The Love Of Food

by | Feb 17, 2012

For The Love of Food

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

This week McDonald’s comes up with a game changer, Dr. Oz proves once again that he’s a scumbag, and science gives us a few more reasons to eat fish.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Digg. I also share links on Twitter (@summertomato), Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook 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 | Oct 22, 2010

For The Love of Food

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

Before we get started, I’ve been collecting feedback from readers on what you do and don’t like about Summer Tomato and how I can make it better moving forward. If you have 2 minutes, please go to my 7 question survey and let me know what you think.

Summer Tomato survey

Thanks in advance for your time. I’ll be sending out a newsletter next week with answers to commonly asked questions and requests.

On the web this week I found a simple shopping technique that can help you make healthier choices and the best cooking and recipe iPhone apps. I also explored the mysterious case of the missing mango and learned how and why to get more exercise without breaking a sweat.

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 reading list join me on Digg. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

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Fatty Foods Enhance Memory By Same Mechanism As Emotional Learning

by | May 4, 2009
Go Nuts!

Go Nuts!

Have you ever noticed that some of your strongest food memories are of rich, fat laden meals shared with family and friends? According to new research, this may not be a coincidence. A study published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrates that digesting fatty foods enhances memory consolidation using the same neural pathway as emotional learning.

This finding has far reaching implications for cognitive therapies to fight over-eating, but may also suggest new, easy to implement strategies for memory enhancement. Pistachios anyone?

In the study, rats being trained on memory tasks were administered a substance called oleoylethanolamide (OEA) that normally increases in the gut after the ingestion of dietary fat (not carbohydrate or protein). Several days later, the rats given OEA performed better on the tasks than rats that were not, demonstrating enhanced learning.

To determine the neural pathway involved in this effect, the researchers chemically blocked signaling in the region of the brain that receives neural inputs from the gut (solitary nucleus), which abolished the effect of OEA. Next they selectively blocked neural transmission between this region and another region of the brain that has been shown to be critical for emotional learning (amygdala). This also eliminated the memory enhancement effect of OEA, indicating that emotional memory and memory enhancement from fatty food ingestion share the same neural network.

These findings may partially explain the emotional component that is often associated with chronic over-eating, something that frequently involves learned habits triggered by emotional situations.

However, OEA does more than enhance memory. It is also critical in feelings of satiety after a meal (decreasing hunger) and has been implicated in controlling body weight. Is it possible this new information could be harnessed for the power of good?

Low-fat diets have proved to be a colossal failure for both health and weight loss, partially because they encourage over-consumption of starchy (usually refined) carbohydrates. Moreover, vegetable and fish oils are protective against many chronic diseases that plague Western culture. Regularly seeking healthy fats in your diet can help control hunger, promote weight loss and lower risk of disease. But it now seems that healthy fats could also be a useful tool in overcoming emotional eating, a problem more complex than the standard weight gain that comes from 21st century living.

Another interesting corollary of this study is that fat (specifically oleic acid, a healthy fat found predominantly in olive oil and nuts) may enhance learning and memory. Since the benefits of OEA were only evident when it was administered at the time of or immediately after training, the next time you study or prepare for a presentation you might want to have some nuts around to snack on. Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans and pistachios are highest in oleic acid.

Are you interested in foods that could provide cognitive enhancement?

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Controlling Blood Sugar May Help Preserve Your Memory

by | Jan 5, 2009

High blood sugar levels are known to accelerate aging and decrease longevity in many different species. Now it seems blood sugar may also be tied to how well you keep your memory as you age.

Aren’t you glad you have cut back on refined carbohydrates and sugars since you started reading this blog? I thought so!

A new study published in the December issue of the Annals of Neurology examined the effect of high blood sugar on the region of the brain responsible for memory formation, the hippocampus. Researchers examined patients with either diabetes or stroke (in other, non-hippocampus, parts of the brain) and determined that both groups had defects in the hippocampus compared to normal patients, but the problems were in different hippocampal subregions.

Patients with diabetes had defects in a part of the hippocampus called the dentate gyrus, which has been shown to be especially sensitive to aging and memory loss. Stroke patients had problems with a region of the hippocampus called CA1.

Diabetes is a disease that involves misregulation of blood sugar, so the scientists examined if blood sugar levels alone correlated with problems in the dentate. This is important because some patients that have not been diagnosed with diabetes may still have high blood sugar levels. The scientists did indeed find a correlation between high blood sugar and hippocampal deficits in the dentate gyrus. Interestingly, blood sugar levels were also linked to memory performance.

Correlational findings are very interesting, but it is easy to imagine situations that would give this result without there being a causative role for blood sugar in memory function. One reason this study is particularly compelling is because they repeated the analysis on rhesus monkeys and found the same relationship between blood sugar and hippocampal defects.
Even better, they were able to show a causative relationship between blood sugar regulation and dentate gyrus deficits in mice. In this experiment the scientists induced type 2 diabetes in the animals, then measured hippocampal function. Mice that could not regulate blood sugar had hippocampal deficits in the dentate compared to control mice.
Taken together, this study provides strong evidence that high blood sugar levels are related to hippocampal and memory dysfunction.

What does this mean for you?

This is actually great news for the rest of us because blood sugar is something we can self-regulate fairly easily.
The study’s principal investigator and professor of neurology at Columbia University, Dr. Scott Small says,”This would suggest that anything to improve regulation of blood glucose would potentially be a way to ameliorate age-related memory decline.”

That means both diet and exercise may work together to preserve memory function into old-age by controlling blood sugar.

“We had previously shown that physical exercise strengthens a part of the brain involved with aging but, at the time, we didn’t know why physical exercise would have this selective benefit,” Small affirmed. “Now we have a proposed mechanism. We think it’s because subjects who exercised had better glucose handling.”

Though the role of diet in hippocampal function has not been directly tested in humans, evidence is mounting that it is important for maintaining cognitive function and protecting against Alzheimer’s disease.

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The best way to control your own blood sugar levels is to eat and live in a manner that improves insulin sensitivity. An added bonus is that you will probably lose weight, live longer and reduce your risk of a bunch of other diseases too, including cancer.

Sensitivity to insulin is affected by two dietary factors: 1) How much glucose is in your blood at any one time and 2), the composition of fat in your diet. It is also improved by exercise.

Keep these things in mind when you eat if you want to control and improve your insulin sensitivity:

  • Limit sugars and refined carbohydrates, including all white bread, white rice and pasta.
  • Choose whole, intact grain carbohydrates such as brown rice and oats.
  • Make vegetables the bulk of your diet.
  • Consider substituting legumes for carbs.
  • Reduce saturated fats from red meat and dairy
  • Eat more healthy fats from fish, olive oil and nuts.
  • Avoid processed foods with hidden sugars, yogurts and salad dressings come to mind.

Basically just eat real food and you’re on your way. And don’t forget to keep reading this blog to learn how to make healthy eating both easy and delicious.

Let me know which of the above suggestions you find the most difficult to follow and I may be able to give you a few pointers….

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