Did you eat enough dietary fiber today? Hoping so. In the effort to maintain a healthy weight, conversations involving energy balance swirl around physical activity and sources of calories. Alcohol provides empty calories. Too much protein challenges kidneys and grain proteins contain gluten. Fats are so calorie dense (>2x proteins and carbs). Last but not least, carbohydrates, too often consumed as sugar. We forget that dietary fibers are a form of carbohydrate. High fructose corn syrup and added sugars are often vilified as the evil causes of obesity and diabetes.
Vitamin D and parathyroid hormone (PTH) interact to regulate calcium metabolism, bone turnover and bone mineral density. PTH stimulates the conversion of 25(OH)D3 by the kidneys to the active form which increases the active absorption of calcium by the intestine. Treatments for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women target metabolic pathways involving parathyroid hormone (PTH) secretion to stimulate bone formation and resorption.
It’s one of those evergreen vitamin dilemmas. Does one apply sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, or leave it off to let the skin make its own vitamin D, with the risk of sunburn? Finally, a research group led by Kockott seems to have provided the perfect solution, with a publication a couple of days ago looking at “optimizing” a sunscreen to maximize vitamin D production whilst minimizing the risk of sunburn. The Daily Mail reports that a sunscreen developed via this principle is already on sale.
The majority of health costs globally are spent treating rather than preventing sickness. Vaccines are effective preventions against a range of communicable diseases whereas nutrition prevents non-communicable diseases. Based on proven effectiveness, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice has made recommendations for vaccinations, now up to 17 vaccine programs, since 1964. Similarly, Dietary Guidelines, first issued in 1980, identify nutrition-related public health nutrition concerns and provide guidance to help people eat a healthier diet. Reviewed and updated every 5 years, the most recent are the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.
When listing foods that are high in iron, a few spring to mind: liver, lean beef, green leafy vegetables, beans and lentils, fortified foods. Less well known yet rich sources include shellfish such as clams, molasses, soy flour and dried apricots. I am also keen to mention here that chocolate contains reasonable amounts of iron, with a 50 g quantity of dark chocolate containing 4 mg of iron, roughly the same amount as a beefy Big Mac. However, with iron requirements being rather high, especially for women aged 19-50 and pregnant women even more, adequate iron intakes depend not so much on the intake of a few high-iron foods, but rather the iron content of the entire diet. Other foods, such as bread and pasta, also contain reasonable levels of iron but their role in total iron supply is often overlooked in favor of the famous high-iron foods. For example, the consumption of iron-fortified breakfast cereals has made an important contribution to helping people in the US meet iron intake requirements over the past decades, according to data from the USDA.