Diet & Nutrition Tidbits > Diet > Tidbits


Those who eat breakfast almost every day experience better health than those who eat breakfast some of the time

Brestow L, Enstom J, (1980). Persistence of health habit and their relationship to mortality. Preventive Medicine 9; 469-483.


  • Helps heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and blood pressure
    • Soluble fiber: reduction of serum cholesterol
    • Insoluble fiber: decreases constipation and reduction of colon cancer
  • 20-35 grams recommended
    • Pinto bean and apple supplies soluble fiber requirements
  • 40-50 may cause gas; may need to increase fluid intake

Fiber's Effect on Insulin

  Insulin (mu/l)
Apples 23
Apple Puree 32
Apple Juice 44
Mean serum insulin levels after 30 minutes of ingestion 60g of carbohydrates as apples, apple puree, and apple juice. (Heaton, 1978)

  Insulin (mu/l)
High Fiber Meal 28
Low Fiber Liquid Formula 80
Mean serum insulin levels after 30 minutes of ingestion 75g of carbohydrates as a high fiber meal or a low fiber liquid. (Albrink, 1979)

Fruit and Vegetable Shortage

If all Americans followed the USA federal guidelines, consuming 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, there would not be enough fruits and vegetables available. (2007 CNN interview with Iowa Senator, America's Killer Diet)

Dinosaur Trees & X-ray Carrots

Children increased consumption of vegetables when the vegetable were called exciting names such as Dinosaur Trees (broccoli) and X-ray Carrots. In another study, children, who had previously refused to eat their vegetables, where more likely to eat vegetables on their plates when eating with someone they admired or respected who also ate vegetables.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables include plants such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale, cress, kohlrabi, and bok choy. In addition to providing vitamins, minerals, and fiber, they also contain natural cancer-preventive compounds including:

    • Sulforaphane
      • especially high in broccoli
      • may decrease diabetic conditions
    • Indole-3-Carbinol (I-3-C)
      • Converts to Diindolylmethane after digestion
      • may decrease atherosclerosis and breast cancer
      • binds with estrogen receptors (Auborn et al. 2003)
    • Selenium

Balancing Dietary Acids

When we ingest a diet high in acid producing foods, our body neutralizes the acids by means of several buffering systems. According to Dr. John Berardi, PhD, these systems may become overwhelmed over time. He explains calcium from our bones and glutamine from muscles are released to help neutralize these acids. Dr. John Berardi recommends 2-3 servings of fruits and vegetables at each meal to neutralize excessive acids. Other supplemental buffers he mentions are glutamine, creatine, and potassium bicarbonate.

pH of production of certain classes of foods:

  • Acid producing
    • Meats and many refined carbohydrates
      • Includes white flour, white rice, and sugar
  • Base producing
    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Includes citrus fruits and tomatoes
      • which are acidic outside the body

Alcohol's Health Benefits

Having a drink at night seems to have a benifitial effect on your heart by raising HDL levels. See exchange list (lower page) for serving size.

  • Women: 1 serving
  • Men: Up to 2 servings


Resveratrol is a compound (C-14, H-12, O-3) linked to a reduced risk of coronary artery disease and cancer, and is thought to activate sirtuin and the SIRT-1 gene. Resveratrol is found in some plants (eg: knotweed), fruits (eg: mulberry), and seeds (eg: peanut) and especially in the skin of grapes and certain grape-derived products (eg: red wine).

The health benefits of wine, including lower LDL and its antioxidant properties are greater when the skin of grapes makes contact with seeds for at least 3 weeks. Unfortunately for many wines, this time is less than a week. Greater resveratrol is typically found in grapes that are (1) smaller, (2) have more seeds, (3) grows in cooler climate. Paradoxically, muscadine grapes grown in southeast United States has several times more resveratrol than wine.


Beverage Cola Cocoa Coffee (strong) Coffee (weak) Tea (strong) Tea (weak)
mg per serving 43-75 10-17 200 80 80 50

Dark Chocolate

  • Rich in flavonols and catechins
  • May lower blood pressure, increase HDL, and lower LDL cholesterol

Arachidonic Acid

Arachidonic Acid is Omega-6, polyunsaturated fat is a regulator of localized muscle inflammation and is necessary for the repair and growth of skeletal muscle tissue via conversion to active components such as prostaglandin PGF2alpha. It is found in animal food including meats, organ meats, and eggs. However, it can be produced by the body from linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid. In some mammals, such as cats, lack the ability to produce signficant amounts of arachidonic acid, making it an essential part of their diet.

Trappe TA, Fluckey JD, White F, Lambert CP, Evans WJ (2001). Skeletal muscle PGF(2)(alpha) and PGE(2) in response to eccentric resistance exercise: influence of ibuprofen acetaminophen. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 86 (10): 5067–70.


  • Some yogurt contains live active cultures
  • Probiotics are found in foods and dietary supplements that contain good bacteria:
    • Lactobacillus acidophilus
    • Enterococcus
    • Bifidobacterium
  • Health benefits
    • Prevention of common gastrointestinal tract problems
    • May help those with irritable bowel syndrome, crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis
    • Help prevent bad bacterial from attaching to intestinal wall and entering the bloodstream
    • Fewer vaginal infections
  • Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and immunosuppressed patients should check with their physician before consuming probiotics

Protein and Work Metabolism

A 4% higher work metabolism has been associated with a higher protein intake (149 verses 76 grams per day) in a controlled study of the effects of restricted protein on men working in the heat.

Morehouse LE, Augustus TM (1971), Physiology of exercise, The C.V. Mosby Company, Saint Louis, 6th Ed, pg 209.

Our Evolutionary Diets

Vitamins / Minerals Our Evolutionary Diets RDA* Current Intakes*
A (retinal equivalent) 17.2 4.8 - 6.0 7.02 - 8.48
Beta carotine (mg) 5.56 - 2.00 - 2.57
E (mg) 32.8 8 -10 7 - 10
B1 (mg) 3.91 1.1 - 1.5 1.08 - 1.75
B2 (mg) 6.49 1.3 - 1.7 1.34 - 2.08
Folic acid (mcg)  357 400 149 - 205
C (mg) 604 60 77 - 109
Calcium (mg) 1956 800 - 1200 500 - 720
Iron (mg) 87.4 10 - 15 9 - 11
Potassium (mg) 10,500 3500 2500
Sodium (mg) 768 500 - 2000 4000 - 20,000
Zinc (mg) 43.4 12 - 15 10 - 15
Fiber (g) 100 - 150 20 - 35 10 - 20

*Food and Nutrition Board, National Research Council: Recommended Dietary Allowances, 1999

USDA Food Group Recommendations

  • Fruits: 2 cups of a variety of fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits. Limit juice consumption.
  • Vegetables: More dark green and orange veggies. Eat more beans and peas.
  • Calcium rich foods: 3 cups of low or fat free milk or calcium rich foods.
  • Grains: At least 3 ounces of whole grains.
  • Protein foods: Choose lean meats and poultry. Vary choices with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.

USDA (2005) Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Average American Diet

The macronutrient content in the average American diet is equivalent to:

  • 2/3 cup of sugar (158 ml)
  • 1/2 cup of shortening (118 ml)
  • 1 1/2 cup of flour (355 ml)
  • 1 1/2 cup of cottage cheese (355 ml)

Average Sugar Consumption

  • Average American consumes 43lbs (19.5 kg) of sugar per year
  • Average Australian consumes 65 lbs (29.5 kg) of sugar per year

Finding Sugar on Food Labels

  • Dextrose
  • Lactose
  • Fructose
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose (dextrose)
  • Maltose
  • Corn Syrup
  • Corn Sweetener
  • Syrup
  • Honey
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Molasses
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Brown Sugar
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Raw Sugar
  • Table Sugar
  • Inverted Sugar
  • Cane Sugar
  • Evaporated Cane Juice

Lactose Intolerance

Percentage of people with lactose intolerance by race.

  • 90-95% Oriental
  • 15-25% Caucasian
  • 70% African
  • 50-55% Mexican
  • 60% Jewish
  • Up to 95% Native Americans

People with lactose intolerance can usually tolerate a few ounces of milk at a setting, particularly when consumed with other foods. Milk based products such as cheese, yogurt, ice cream (limited amounts) are usually digested with no ill effects. Other sources of calcium include spinach, artichokes, broccoli, and canned fish, like salmon or jack mackerel (with small bone bits in meat).

Milk & Exposure to Light

Milk loses about 80% of its Riboflavin in 2 hours with direct exposure to light (sunlight or floresent light). All or nearly all of milk's ascorbic acid is destroyed after a 30 minutes exposure. Whey proteins (composed of amino acids containing sulfur) degrade producing “sunlight” flavors (reminiscent burnt hair) lasting for 2-3 days. Unsaturated fatty acids in milk become oxidized, producing malodorous carbonyl compounds (tasting metallic or cardboardy) and do not dissipate.

    Holmes AD & Jones CP, 1944
    Choe E, Huang R & Min DB, 2004

Soy Protein Foods

  • Soy protein foods can decrease LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Includes tofu, tempeh, soy milk, edamane, and other soy protein products
  • Contain phytoestrogens which help prevent breast cancer and prostate cancer, and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
    • Conditions such as the soil in which the produce grows may influence the levels of phytoestrogens.
  • For those with hypothyroidism, soy may bind with thyroid medication, thus lowering adsorption.
    • Soy foods or supplements may be taken a different time of day.

Dietary Estrogens (Phytoestrogens)

Phytoestrogens, or natural estrogens, mimic steroidal estrogens and offer health benefits, unlike synthetic hormone disrupters, eg: Bisphenol A.

  • Isoflavones
    • genistein, daidzein, equiol puerarin, caoumestrol, glycitein, biochanins
    • from soy, legumes, peas, clover, alfalfa, kudzu
  • Lignans
    • matairesinol, pinoresinal, secoisolariciresinol
    • especially from whole grains: flaxseed, rye, wheat
    • also wheat germ, barley, hops, rye, rice, beans, oats, and sea vegetables
  • Certain flavonoides
    • rutin, naringenine, luteoline, resveratrol, quercetin
    • especially from citrus fruits and grapes
    • also apple, pear, cherry, carrot, fennel, onion, garlic, sunflower seed, flax, vegetable oils (including flax and olive)

Murkies AL, Wilcox G, Davis SR. Phytoestrogens. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1998; 83: 297-303

Dietary Intake Assessment Problems

  • Under reporting of food
  • Exact quantities using standardized units of measurements are not recorded
  • Description of food is not specific enough
  • Temporary dietary changes only when recording food intake
  • 3-5 day journal may not include special meals (eg: during weekends, holidays, etc)


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