News Stories

Hold Your Breath?

It kills you if you eat it and it kills you if you DON'T eat it. What's that? Processed food from "fast food" franchises. A new study suggests that burger restaurants release more particulates into the air than most commercial trucks.

And holding your breath while walking past your local hamburger joint won't solve the problem: According to the EPA, exhaust from nearby buildings, such as restaurants, can enter your home and create a dangerous level of indoor air pollution.

Many of these restaurants use grills and char broilers, which release high levels of carbon monoxide into the air. Cooking is a dangerous job: Most of this carbon monoxide is inhaled by the cooks who work on these grills. Carbon monoxide is poisonous and can cause brain damage or even death with prolonged exposure.

Another pollutant released by restaurant ventilation systems is smoke, which is filled with tiny particles that can lodge in your lungs and (eventually) lead to heart disease. The smoke released from restaurant ventilation systems can have similar effects to that of secondhand cigarette smoke.

It turns out that eating smart MAKES you smart--when you're a kid, anyway. Studies show that children who are fed healthy diets in early age may have a slightly higher IQ, while those on heavier junk food diets may have a slightly reduced IQ. Maybe the "Flynn Effect," the name given to the current substantial and long-sustained increase in intelligence test scores measured in many parts of the world, has to do with people eating better?

Researcher Lisa Smithers looked at the link between the eating habits of 7,000 children at six months, 15 months and two years, and their IQ at eight years of age. She says, "Diet supplies the nutrients needed for the development of brain tissues in the first two years of life, and the aim of this study was to look at what impact diet would have on children's IQs.

"We found that children who were breastfed at six months and had a healthy diet regularly including foods such as legumes, cheese, fruit and vegetables at 15 and 24 months, had an IQ up to two points higher by age eight.

"Those children who had a diet regularly involving biscuits, chocolate, sweets, soft drinks and chips in the first two years of life had IQs up to two points lower by age eight. We also found some negative impact on IQ from ready-prepared baby foods given at six months, but some positive associations when given at 24 months.

"It is important that we consider the longer-term impact of the foods we feed our children."

We may not be able to stop breathing it, but we CAN stop eating it. If YOU have a fast food addiction, Anne Strieber is here to help, by reducing the cost of her dynamic diet book to $3 from $5, so YOU can reduce as well!



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