News Stories

An Apple (or a Sandwich) a Day

Eve was pretty effective with an apple--is the old saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" really true? Do apples contain specific health benefits? It turns out the apple PEEL builds muscles. And what about cold cuts--aren't they dangerous?

According to nutritionist Bahram H. Arjmandi, apples are truly a "miracle fruit." His study randomly assigned 160 women ages 45-65 to one of two dietary intervention groups: one received dried apples daily, and the other group ate dried prunes every day for a year. Blood samples were taken at 3, 6 and 12-months, and the results surprised him: "Incredible changes in the apple-eating women happened by 6 months---they experienced a 23% decrease in LDL cholesterol," which is known as the "bad cholesterol."

A new report says that, if given the choice between eating a hot dog or some rotisserie chicken, we should go for the hot dog. We're not sure we agree with this conclusion, but researchers say that hot dogs, as well as pepperoni and deli meats, are relatively free of carcinogenic compounds, while bacon and rotisserie chicken--especially chicken skin--both have higher levels of cancerous material. Food chemist J. Scott Smith studied ready-to-eat meat products to determine their levels of heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, which are carcinogenic compounds found in meat that is fried, grilled or cooked at high temperatures. Studies have shown that humans who consume large amounts of HCAs in meat products have increased risk of stomach, colon and breast cancers. But cold cuts come ready-to-eat, so don't need additional cooking.

The reasons for lower HCA content in some of the other ready-to-eat products may be because of the higher water content in the ready-to-eat products. More moisture prevents many HCAs from forming. Ready-to-eat products are often enhanced products, meaning they have a water solution with flavoring added to them. Smith says, "Hot dogs and deli meat may have low HCA levels because they are manufactured at low temperatures. The low HCA levels may also be from ingredients that are added to the meat and prevent HCAs from forming while the meat is cooking."

The fossil record shows that Homo erectus ate a more diverse diet that his relative Homo habilis, which may be why "erectus" went on to become modern humans, while "habilis" faded away. Anthropologist Peter Ungar says, "Homo erectus seems to be where it started." He examined the microwear on teeth from several specimens of Homo habilis found at between 1995 and 2007. Hard foods like nuts and seeds tend to lead to more complex wear on teeth, while tough foods like leaves or meat lead to more scratches. Ungar says, "If we compare Homo erectus to Homo habilis, we see a marked increase in variation in the former." The H. habilis fossil teeth show lots of light scratches but little pitting, indicating that it ate plant material. The variation in the H. erectus teeth suggests that this species probably ate a broader range of foods.

"This represents a change to a more human-like diet," he says. “It indicates a broader resource base." Anthropologists have shown that, unlike earlier early humans, Homo erectus moved out of Africa, developed more sophisticated tools, spent most of its time on the ground and had smaller teeth with thin tooth enamel. The fossil evidence for a more diverse diet fits in with this, Ungar says. "The evidence suggests that Homo erectus represents a new phase in human evolution." Does evolution depend on eating a GOOD diet? (In which case, modern man is going backward).

Have you been eating too much meat--and everything else as well? If you're overweight, you need to download Anne Strieber's famous diet book, "What I Learned From the Fat Years." Using scientific principles, she devised a diet that helped her to lose 100 pounds and YOU CAN TOO. 



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