The Best and Worst of Fast Food Burgers

As part of this blog’s ongoing series highlighting some of the best things and worst things to put into your body, I offer health.com’s recently published list of the best and worst fast food burgers (from a health perspective).  Now as a rule, burgers are probably not the healthiest thing you could choose to eat.  But you might be surprised to learn that some seemingly healthier options are among the worst in terms of sodium, fat and caloric content.  Whereas some sure fire artery bombs are actually not so bad comparatively.  Does your favorite burger make either of the lists here?  Share in the comments.  Then, my Allen School Online students of medical billing and coding, get out from behind your computer and go eat a salad!  LOL!

June is Prevention and Wellness Month

OK, so the stereotype of the online denizen (this includes peeps like me who work in front of a computer all day, and peeps like you who study online in front of a computer) is a sedentary, Cheetos munching lot who cringes when the curtains are drawn open and light shines in.  All kidding aside though, in today’s modern life, it can be hard to carve out enough time to spend on health and wellness.  Kathleen Sebelius, the Obama administration’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, has declared June to be Prevention and Wellness month.In a recent article on the Huffington Post Sebelius said, ” We know there’s more to good health than going to the hospital when you get sick. Good health starts with steps we can all take to avoid getting sick in the first place, from getting regular check-ups, vaccinations, and recommended screenings, to eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise.”  This blogger concurs with this line of thinking and has even taken the drastic step of adding a SECOND walk for his self and his dog Henry every day to try and keep physically fit.  So online students, save your work, take a pause and consider what you can do to boost your own health and wellness in June and for the future.

Top 10 Spingtime Superfoods

One of the best parts about Springtime is anticipating the return of greater varieties of fresh produce in the Northeast.  All winter long, we survive on produce either in cold storage since Fall or fruits and veggies weeks old and flown in from more southern latitudes.Here’s a great list of the top 10 superfoods for Springtime:1. Artichokes 2. Asparagus 3. Avocado 4. Blueberries 5. Fava Beans 6. Fresh Figs 7. Leeks 8. Oregano (and other fresh herbs) 9. Spinach 10. StrawberriesTo read more on why each of these are considered superfoods, click here for the Yahoo! article.

Rising Food Costs Will Affect Public Health

Up for the seventh month in a row, the closely watched Food and Agriculture Oganisation Food Price Index on Thursday touched its highest since records began in 1990, and topped the peak of 224.1 in June 2008, during the food crisis of 2007/08.  Several factors contribute to this rise in costs.  We now use food stocks such as corn to make ethanol to burn in our cars.  The logic of using food to make fuel is dubious at best.  The other major factor has been a year fraught with severe weather phenomena from floods, to droughts to frosts which have all decimated crops in many parts of the agricultural producing world.With the price of food skyrocketing, people all over the world will struggle with less food in terms of both quantity and quality.  The effects of a global population eating less (and less nutritious) food and more of their diets being comprised of filler and processed ingredients will have a definite impact on health.

All Nighters Make Your Pants Tighter

As an online student, chances are you have lots going on besides studying.  This is why you likely chose online education in the first place.  But between work, family, friends and studies, it can be hard to get everything done.  As a result, we often find ourselves having to pull an all-nighter to get caught up.  Now, this is ok once in a great while, but if it becomes your regular habit, you may be in for a rude awakening (well, if you’re up all night, you’re already awake, but I digress).  University of Colorado researchers have completed a study that shows burning the midnight oil actually prompts your body to STOP burning calories.   Chronic all-nighters can have an explosive effect on your waist size.  Click here to read the details on why it probably makes more sense to go to sleep tonight and pick up the work where you left off the next morning.

Worst Food Awards for 2010

IHOP's Big Country Breakfast

David Zinczenko produces the “Eat This, Not That” books which show readers what foods are particularly unhealthy and what satisfying alternatives to each dish might look like.  He has published the annual list of “Worst Foods” for 2010.  Some of the big winners are dishes from P.F. Chang’s, Pizzeria Uno, Cheesecake Factory and IHOP.  I was shocked not to see my favorite culinary abomination – KFC’s Double Down – make the list.  But with the holidays fully upon us and lots of dining out for holiday parties, I thought our readers might arm themselves with this knowledge before they hit the restaurants.  Enjoy!

Is Fast Food “Less Delicious” than Slow Cooked Food?

Science has been looking into the causes of obesity in the US population.  One interesting idea is that society has grown less interested in preparing its own food.  As both sexes in the modern world typically work out of the home, food technology has improved to shorten the time it takes to prepare meals.  As a result, the meals themselves are less satisfying and Americans try to regain the satisfaction by consuming more.  When we take our time to prepare a meal from scratch, our brains perceive it as “more delicious”.  Maybe they’ve never tasted my wife’s cooking!  (Just kidding honey!)  These are interesting ideas, but really, is there any evidence to support these conclusions?  Yes!  The article linked here appeared in Wired magazine and it discusses some of the experiments scientists performed to try and get to the bottom of this question.  You’ll be surprised to learn what they’ve found.  Read it and form your own conclusion.

Mmmmmmm…. Mechanically Separated Meat

I publish stories here from time to time about different food products, recipes and dietary information because I think as professionals enterring the healthcare field, it behooves you to be aware of such things.  Also, it never fails to amaze me how poorly the general public pays attention to such issues.  In this installment of “Ewwww, Gross! Are You Gonna Eat That?” I link you to the story behind some of our society’s favorite foods and the sickening process used to manufacture them.  I am talking about hot dogs, baloney and chicken nuggets.  Click here to see some appalling pics of the output of a process known as “mechanically separated meat”, a moniker that I myself have laughed about seeing on food packaging in the past.  Let me also say by way of disclaimer, that I am overweight and enjoy (in sparing quantities) hot dogs, some processed meats and chicken nuggets.  However, I do try to keep them from being regular diet items.  For me, its good, fresh, locally produced foods – just in too much quantity – that are the problem.  Anyhow, these images and the article they adorn may finally dissuade me from any meats not locally procured.

Taxing Soda and Pizza to Combat Obesity?

This courtesy of Reuters today:

“CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. researchers estimate that an 18 percent tax on pizza and soda can push down U.S. adults’ calorie intake enough to lower their average weight by 5 pounds (2 kg) per year.The researchers, writing in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine on Monday, suggested taxing could be used as a weapon in the fight against obesity, which costs the United States an estimated $147 billion a year in health costs.”
We had written about this proposal once before here at the Allen School Online blog, when the proposed tax was put forth in New York State.  Now it seems the idea has taken hold nationwide.  I can sort of see the value in taxing sodas, which contain ungodly quantities of sugar in a single serving.  I might suggest taxing all items that contain high fructose corn syrup (but that will never fly because our government pays huge subsidies to corn farmers to produce this deadly sugar.)  Furthermore, soda is sold by all restaurants and groceries so a tax on soda would at least be equitably distributed across all foodservice and sales businesses.  However, I draw the line of fairness at singling out pizza for additional taxation.  What, do obese people not overeat fried chicken?  Chinese food buffet?  Ice cream sundaes? Why discriminate against pizzeria owners for this new tax?  Eating pizza specifically is not the only driver of obesity.I could live with a soda tax,but to start singling out individual foods for additional taxation is a very bad idea.  What do you think?