Category: Eat for Health

Eat for Health

Nutrition Blog #1: Challenges and controversies in Nutritional Science

This series of blogs, based on the strong research done by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, will serve to provide recently discovered information on Nutrition and to dispel common myths on its relationship to Cardiologic health.
For decades, it has been known that a well-rounded, heart-healthy diet is vital for the prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, or ASCVD, which includes coronary death, nonfatal myocardial infection, as well as fatal or non-fatal stroke.

What is the reason for the confusion?

There are several challenges to setting a scientific evidence base when it comes to nutrition, mostly due to the inter-weaving functions and effects of nutrients, the correlation of healthy behaviors such as exercise and activity and good dietary habits. To compound this, there is a lot of hype in the media and books about miracle diets and there is a lot of data without accompanying facts.


Evidence about the role of diet in prevention of ASCVD has been gathered in several different forms. Most which has been determined from Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs), cohort and case control studies, case series and reports, as well as reviews and analysis. While there is a large body of information gathered from the many RCTs, it is unfeasible to measure data for every diet and health relationship, due to the vast number of results and effects. These studies can also be very time consuming or expensive. In addition, many confounding variables (or unaccountable variables that result in skewed data) may result from imperfect diet control. There also exists an ethical barrier, as the negative effects of certain nutrients cannot be studied as they are linked with the increase of major risk factors of CVD.

Why is nutritional research difficult?

Prospective Cohort Studies, which are longitudinal studies that follow over time a group of similar individuals who differ with respect to certain factors under study, are most effective to determine how these factors affect rates of a certain outcome. This is because, the measurement of dietary exposure will precede the actual development of the disease. However, these studies are not without limitations, which arise due to imprecise exposure quantification, similarity amongst dietary exposures and consumer bias. Case Control studies, while inexpensive, easy, and insightful about associations between exposures and outcomes, manage to have their own limitations as well. The largest being selection of the study population, as well as collection of retrospective data. Nutrition studies that require a detailed log keeping, can lead to errors due to a over reliance on accurate memory.

This Blog will be continued with Part 2, which will focus mainly on healthy dietary patterns that have been proven and tested.

Eat for Health

Food Banking: How to Prevent Food Waste

“You waste life when you waste good food”
– Katherine Anne Porter
Not a soul would go to bed hungry, if we do not waste the food we grow. The food and agriculture organisation (FAO) states that one-third of food produced for human consumption worldwide is annually lost or wasted. That accounts to 1.3 billion tonnes of food that can be used to alleviate hunger.

The reasons for food loss or waste may be due to
● failure to harvest
● post-harvest loss
● Overproduction
● processing
● marketing and
● other business decisions.

The wasted food produces methane gas, a greenhouse gas,when it rots in landfills. This gas has 20 times heat trapping capacity as carbon dioxide and harms our air, water and earth. Environmentalists are also keen on fighting food waste that contributes to the climate change – a serious problem potentially threatening the existence of mankind.

So, how do we prevent food waste? The solution to this problem is food banking – helps feed the hungry and protect the environment.
Food banks capture the nutritious, perfectly edible or surplus food and redistribute it to feed hungry people through a network of agencies – school feeding programs, food pantries, soup kitchens, AIDS and TB hospices, substance abuse clinics, after-school programs, and other nonprofit programs.
Apart from this, do we have the responsibility to reduce food waste in our homes? If yes, how do we achieve it. Here are some of the ways that will help us adopt a waste – less mindset:
● Maintain the fridge at the right temperature to keep the fruits and vegetables fresh. Make sure to pack them properly so that they remain fresh for a long time.
● Avoid throwing good food – Make soups, smoothies or simple grill with the leftover ripe vegetables and fruits. Freeze or refrigerate leftovers.
● Learn to understand the use-by and best-before dates, as these stamps were designed to communicate peak freshness and have nothing to do with food safety.
● Avoid the tendency to overbuy food that is relatively cheap and attractively packed.
● Buy the imperfect looking fruits and vegetables that are still tasty and nutritious.
We could make this world a better place by preventing the food waste and protecting the environment.
I have been thinking about this for while since I had been contributing to this problem and believe that there are simple things we can do to reduce wastage. For example, we usually throw perishable fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator, due to not knowing what to do. What usually happens is that I may have a bit of a squash, a piece of a cauliflower or cabbage, one small zucchini and a bunch of carrots. I choose to cube all these leftover vegetables and add a cup of lentils and make soup.
Do you have a backup plan for the leftovers in your fridge? In my next blog, I would discuss simple healthy recipes prepared from leftovers!