Health bits and pieces

Sugar overload in kids’ cereals

Eating a bowl of kids’ cereal every day would add up to 10 pounds of sugar a year, according to a new analysis by the Environmental Working Group of 1,500 cereals, including 181 marketed for children. EWG reported that children’s cereal contained an average of 40 percent more sugar per serving than adult cereals.

Gut microbiota linked to autism

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have significantly different concentrations of certain bacterial-produced chemicals, called metabolites, in their feces compared to children without ASD, according to Dae-Wook Kang of the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University. “Most gut bacteria are beneficial, aiding food digestion, producing vitamins, and protecting against harmful bacteria,” Kang said.  “If left unchecked, however, harmful bacteria can excrete dangerous metabolites or disturb a balance of metabolites that can affect the gut and the rest of the body, including the brain.”

Coffee could prevent retinal damage

Previous studies have shown that coffee cuts the risk of Parkinson’s, prostate cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Now a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that coffee also aids in the prevention of deteriorating eyesight and possible blindness from retinal degeneration due to glaucoma, aging and diabetes. Raw coffee contains one percent caffeine, but seven to nine percent an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid. Researchers found that the combination reduced retinal degeneration in mice. 

Avoiding sunlight may backfire

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight is often cited as a cause of skin melanomas;  however, research from Sweden suggests that low vitamin D levels caused by avoiding sunlight may be just as dangerous. The research, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, found that women who avoid sun exposure are at an increased risk of skin melanomas, with a 2-fold increased mortality rate compared to those with the highest sun exposure. The finding is the result of a longitudinal cohort study involving 29,518 Swedish women over 20 years.

 Organic sales continue to grow

Sales of organic products in the U.S. jumped to $35.1 billion in 2013, up 11.5 percent from the previous year. (Overall economic growth in the U.S.  in the same period was an  anemic 1 to 2 percent.)  “Consumers are making the correlation between what we eat and our health, and that knowledge is spurring heightened consumer interest in organic products,” said Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association (OTA).

Group orders Monsanto to withdraw ad

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of South Africa ordered Monsanto to withdraw its ad on Radio 702, wherein Monsanto claims the benefits of GMO crops. According to ASA, Monsanto’s claims were found to be unsubstantiated.

Source: AcresUSA

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