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  • Hydration & Fitness: No One-Size-Fits All. After cancer,  Alzheimer’s — with its progressive damage to nerve cells, memory loss, impaired thinking, difficulties with verbal communication, and even personality changes — is the second most feared disease, according to an international survey. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in America. Over five million in the US. have the disease and it is estimated that it will affect millions more in the years to come. As most of us know, someone with Alzheimer’s disease can live for years, even decades when, the disease becomes a huge emotional, physical, and economic burden on families. Reading through emails this morning, there was my daily blast from the Harvard Medical School that suggested ways of lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, including the need to keep important health numbers (cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, etc) within a safe range along with taking an accurate waistline measurement. But for most of us, other recommendations followed the general advice of maintaining a healthy weight through diet and regular exercise. As I extend my research beyond water for health to the need for fitness, what’s becoming clearer is that there really is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mindful eating and exercise. What works for me may or may not work for you. Pilates masters, for example, say that the Pilates exercises you do at your Barre studio may have some relationship to Pilates, but they are not the same as the Pilates exercises that Joseph H. Pilates conceived and are practiced at classical Pilates studios. Similarly, my field of focus for years has been drinking water. And what I know is that not all water is the same. Hydration through sugary drinks, which soft drinks touted as a benefit (“Who know Coke Hydrates?” was a Coke slogan) is not the same as drinking water from the tap. And tap water may not be the same as drinking bottled water, which while it has its environmental drawbacks, can be better than tap water when taken from a pure source and hasn’t traveled through miles of pipes only to be dumped at your door step and left for homeowners to finish the job of filtering out any unwanted taste, odors or unregulated compounds. For more on ways to help prevent Alzheimer’s as well as information on diagnosing and treating it, search for A Guide to Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease from Harvard Medical School. Share on Facebook Tweet This Post

    Hydration & Fitness: There is No One-Size-Fits-All

    Hydration & Fitness: No One-Size-Fits All. After cancer,  Alzheimer’s — with its progressive damage to nerve cells, memory loss, impaired thinking, difficulties with verbal communication, and even personality changes — is the second most feared disease, according to an international survey. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in America. Over five million in the US. have the disease and it is estimated that it will affect millions more in the years to come. As most of us know, someone with Alzheimer’s disease can live for years, even decades when, the disease becomes a huge emotional, physical, and economic burden on families. Reading through emails this morning, there was my daily blast from the Harvard Medical School that suggested ways of lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, including the need to keep important health numbers (cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, etc) within a safe range along with taking an accurate waistline measurement. But for most of us, other recommendations followed the general advice of maintaining a healthy weight through diet and regular exercise. As I extend my research beyond water for health to the need for fitness, what’s becoming clearer is that there really is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mindful eating and exercise. What works for me may or may not work for you. Pilates masters, for example, say that the Pilates exercises you do at your Barre studio may have some relationship to Pilates, but they are not the same as the Pilates exercises that Joseph H. Pilates conceived and are practiced at classical Pilates studios. Similarly, my field of focus for years has been drinking water. And what I know is that not all water is the same. Hydration through sugary drinks, which soft drinks touted as a benefit (“Who know Coke Hydrates?” was a Coke slogan) is not the same as drinking water from the tap. And tap water may not be the same as drinking bottled water, which while it has its environmental drawbacks, can be better than tap water when taken from a pure source and hasn’t traveled through miles of pipes only to be dumped at your door step and left for homeowners to finish the job of filtering out any unwanted taste, odors or unregulated compounds. For more on ways to help prevent Alzheimer’s as well as information on diagnosing and treating it, search for A Guide to Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease from Harvard Medical School. Share on Facebook Tweet This Post

  • The next time you feel like foraging in the cupboard or fridge, consider that mindless snacking can pack on the pounds. Cleveland Clinic registered dietitians teamed up during Summer 2012 to suggest healthy alternatives to time-honored comfort foods. This included getting tough on soft drinks. Here’s what they wrote, “Pop open a can of soda when you’re thirsty, and you’ll feel refreshed. But you’re basically drinking sugar water with zero nutritional value. For a healthier alternative, try making a juice spritzer. Add a splash of soda water, diet ginger ale or diet lemon-lime soda to half a cup of 100 percent grape, orange or cranberry-blend juice with ice. Or cool off with diet tonic water and a wedge of lemon.” Better yet, the dietitians recommend drinking water — “It truly is ‘the real thing!” Source: Rethinking Snacks & Comfort Foods: 7 Tips — Health Hub from Cleveland Clinic http://bit.ly/UFOsCG]   Share on Facebook Tweet This Post

    Thirsty? Get tough on soft drinks.

    The next time you feel like foraging in the cupboard or fridge, consider that mindless snacking can pack on the pounds. Cleveland Clinic registered dietitians teamed up during Summer 2012 to suggest healthy alternatives to time-honored comfort foods. This included getting tough on soft drinks. Here’s what they wrote, “Pop open a can of soda when you’re thirsty, and you’ll feel refreshed. But you’re basically drinking sugar water with zero nutritional value. For a healthier alternative, try making a juice spritzer. Add a splash of soda water, diet ginger ale or diet lemon-lime soda to half a cup of 100 percent grape, orange or cranberry-blend juice with ice. Or cool off with diet tonic water and a wedge of lemon.” Better yet, the dietitians recommend drinking water — “It truly is ‘the real thing!” Source: Rethinking Snacks & Comfort Foods: 7 Tips — Health Hub from Cleveland Clinic http://bit.ly/UFOsCG]   Share on Facebook Tweet This Post

  • Nutritionists, marketing experts and others who study sugary drink trends note cutting back is not so easy. Pierre Chandon, who studies how people make consumption decisions and how marketing can affect us without our even noticing it thinks that while consumers know that the purpose of advertising is to get us to buy things, they have no idea that the size and shape of a package can also influence us. Using different cup sizes from a fast food restaurant, Chandon, who is a marketing professor at Paris-based INSEAD, developed a soda quiz. The test is designed to point out that people often purchase larger cup sizes thinking that they are getting more for their money, which they are. But the real point is that the larger sizes are what’s making people fat. [The quiz accompanied an article, “How Can a Big Gulp Look So Small?,” published in the June 24 issue of The New York Times.] Chandon, who spent his summer as a visiting scholar at the Harvard Business School, told listeners on the H2O For Health radio show that understanding drink labels and calculating serving size and calories is increasingly tricky because a single bottle of soda is typically more than a single serving. As he likes to point out, Coca-Cola was only sold in 6.5 ounce bottles when it was first launched. Today, some people regularly purchase 64-ounce sizes of fountain drinks. Prof. Chandon summed consumers’ struggle this way. “Imagine there is a river and the banks of the river are slippery and so yes, it’s your personal choice to be careful and pay attention and not fall into the water. At the same time, clearly, the industry is trying to attract you to the river because that’s what they do.” In fact, the beverage industry argues that people have the right to choose their beverage. Prof. Chandon’s research attempts to find out how industry, the public health community and government can find a way around indfustry selling more and more calories that lead to higher obesity rate and health problems. Meanwhile, a coalition of health and consumer advocates and city public health departments have requested that U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin launch a study on the health effects of soda and other sugary drinks. Health advocates say they want government intervention to help people make better decisions and stem the costly obesity crisis. While most people have healthy long-term goals, Prof. Chandon told listeners that, “In the short-term, we all go for taste. That’s an immediate reward that we may regret later.” One way around this, he believes, is to create marketing that focuses on simple solution: satiation. That’s where water comes in. Water delivers maximum hydration with zero calories and can sometimes keep people from over-eating or consuming a less healthy beverage Share on Facebook Tweet This Post

    Demystifying Cup Sizes

    Nutritionists, marketing experts and others who study sugary drink trends note cutting back is not so easy. Pierre Chandon, who studies how people make consumption decisions and how marketing can affect us without our even noticing it thinks that while consumers know that the purpose of advertising is to get us to buy things, they have no idea that the size and shape of a package can also influence us. Using different cup sizes from a fast food restaurant, Chandon, who is a marketing professor at Paris-based INSEAD, developed a soda quiz. The test is designed to point out that people often purchase larger cup sizes thinking that they are getting more for their money, which they are. But the real point is that the larger sizes are what’s making people fat. [The quiz accompanied an article, “How Can a Big Gulp Look So Small?,” published in the June 24 issue of The New York Times.] Chandon, who spent his summer as a visiting scholar at the Harvard Business School, told listeners on the H2O For Health radio show that understanding drink labels and calculating serving size and calories is increasingly tricky because a single bottle of soda is typically more than a single serving. As he likes to point out, Coca-Cola was only sold in 6.5 ounce bottles when it was first launched. Today, some people regularly purchase 64-ounce sizes of fountain drinks. Prof. Chandon summed consumers’ struggle this way. “Imagine there is a river and the banks of the river are slippery and so yes, it’s your personal choice to be careful and pay attention and not fall into the water. At the same time, clearly, the industry is trying to attract you to the river because that’s what they do.” In fact, the beverage industry argues that people have the right to choose their beverage. Prof. Chandon’s research attempts to find out how industry, the public health community and government can find a way around indfustry selling more and more calories that lead to higher obesity rate and health problems. Meanwhile, a coalition of health and consumer advocates and city public health departments have requested that U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin launch a study on the health effects of soda and other sugary drinks. Health advocates say they want government intervention to help people make better decisions and stem the costly obesity crisis. While most people have healthy long-term goals, Prof. Chandon told listeners that, “In the short-term, we all go for taste. That’s an immediate reward that we may regret later.” One way around this, he believes, is to create marketing that focuses on simple solution: satiation. That’s where water comes in. Water delivers maximum hydration with zero calories and can sometimes keep people from over-eating or consuming a less healthy beverage Share on Facebook Tweet This Post

  • Bottled Up (from http://www.trendcentral.com/life/bottled-up/) Innovation is igniting a reconsideration of reusable water options With 67 million water bottles thrown away daily and only 10 percent recycled, waste management remains a growing problem. While lawmakers seek solutions with bills like the National Park Service’s ban on sales of plastic water bottles in the Grand Canyon, the onus isn’t only on government. Helping consumers do their part, designers are introducing inventive new twists on the once passé reusable water bottle. 999bottle: Artefact industrial designer Fernd van Engelen conceived a reusable water bottle that can track and envisage the ecological impact of using it each time it’s refilled. Dubbed the 999bottle, its three attached and adjustable dials can be advanced one notch each time the bottle is replenished. A hypothetical corresponding smartphone app creates a visualization of the total amount of bottles saved. For example, at eight bottles, 999bottle will have paid for itself, while 147 bottles will have saved $326 and seven gallons of oil. For added motivation, friends can team up on the proposed 999bottle Facebook platform to visually portray their collective impact. Get this idea on Kickstarter already! Eau Good: Many refrigerators are stocked with the Brita, but Eau Good is a portable filtration system from the minds of creative studio Black+Blum. The centerpiece of this reusable water bottle is a piece of binchotan, a traditional Japanese charcoal stick. While charcoal isn’t a new source of water filtration, its lengthy six-month shelf life far surpasses alternatives, and it can be recycled into a fertilizer or deodorizer when finished. As it balances the water’s pH, reduces chlorine content, and mineralizes the water for improved taste, Eau Good’s clear, curvy body and natural cork stopper proudly displays, whereas similar systems hide, its unique carbon filter. Lifefactory: Disposable water bottles cost up to $3 a pop and tap water runs less than 10 cents per refill, so reusable water bottles can have significant economic benefits. However, choosing the “right” bottle can be overwhelming in a market stocked with both charitable and environmentally friendly options. Cutting through the clutter, Lifefactory offers a sustainable water bottle with a clear mission to provide the “purest water bottle on the market.” Ensuring that each bottle (and, thus, the water within) is non-toxic, Lifefactory bottles are made of glass and housed in silicone sleeves. So safe are these chemical-free containers that there’s even a selection of 4-ounce and 9-ounce baby bottle miniatures. Share on Facebook Tweet This Post

    Bottled Up

    Bottled Up (from http://www.trendcentral.com/life/bottled-up/) Innovation is igniting a reconsideration of reusable water options With 67 million water bottles thrown away daily and only 10 percent recycled, waste management remains a growing problem. While lawmakers seek solutions with bills like the National Park Service’s ban on sales of plastic water bottles in the Grand Canyon, the onus isn’t only on government. Helping consumers do their part, designers are introducing inventive new twists on the once passé reusable water bottle. 999bottle: Artefact industrial designer Fernd van Engelen conceived a reusable water bottle that can track and envisage the ecological impact of using it each time it’s refilled. Dubbed the 999bottle, its three attached and adjustable dials can be advanced one notch each time the bottle is replenished. A hypothetical corresponding smartphone app creates a visualization of the total amount of bottles saved. For example, at eight bottles, 999bottle will have paid for itself, while 147 bottles will have saved $326 and seven gallons of oil. For added motivation, friends can team up on the proposed 999bottle Facebook platform to visually portray their collective impact. Get this idea on Kickstarter already! Eau Good: Many refrigerators are stocked with the Brita, but Eau Good is a portable filtration system from the minds of creative studio Black+Blum. The centerpiece of this reusable water bottle is a piece of binchotan, a traditional Japanese charcoal stick. While charcoal isn’t a new source of water filtration, its lengthy six-month shelf life far surpasses alternatives, and it can be recycled into a fertilizer or deodorizer when finished. As it balances the water’s pH, reduces chlorine content, and mineralizes the water for improved taste, Eau Good’s clear, curvy body and natural cork stopper proudly displays, whereas similar systems hide, its unique carbon filter. Lifefactory: Disposable water bottles cost up to $3 a pop and tap water runs less than 10 cents per refill, so reusable water bottles can have significant economic benefits. However, choosing the “right” bottle can be overwhelming in a market stocked with both charitable and environmentally friendly options. Cutting through the clutter, Lifefactory offers a sustainable water bottle with a clear mission to provide the “purest water bottle on the market.” Ensuring that each bottle (and, thus, the water within) is non-toxic, Lifefactory bottles are made of glass and housed in silicone sleeves. So safe are these chemical-free containers that there’s even a selection of 4-ounce and 9-ounce baby bottle miniatures. Share on Facebook Tweet This Post

  • Do you know how much sugar is in everyday foods and drinks? Being thirsty and tired often makes us think we are hungry when we are not. Trish Barry’s essay for Patch [http://bit.ly/nNE166] begins with her describing how she lost close to 11 pounds through a weight loss program at work. The Connecticut mom said the  plan revolves around paying attention to yourself, and how hungry you really are. Trish avoided the specifics of the program, save one: the suggestion to avoid sugar: no sweets for a while, and then when you do add them, make it occasional, very occasional. Encouraged by her own success, she began to rethink her kids’ drinks. I thought about the juice boxes that I put into my kids lunches. Juicy Juice which boasts 100% juice has twenty-two grams of sugar in one box! That is 5 ½ teaspoons of sugar (four grams is equal to one teaspoon of sugar) in a juice box! HOLY COW!” Like all concerned parents, Trish knows to dilute juice at home. “When we buy bigger bottles of juice, we have generally diluted it. You better believe that we will be diluting even more now.” A major problem is quantity. Trish asks, “Have you ever had just eight ounces of Gatorade? Nope me neither. They come in those thirty-two ounce bottles, and I can drink those down without thinking about it. That thirty-two ounce bottle has fifty-six grams of sugar, equal to fourteen teaspoons.” And Trish hasn’t stopped counting. “A twenty ounce bottle of Coke has seventeen teaspoons of sugar. To get an idea of how much this really is, take one of your empty soda bottles and measure out seventeen teaspoons of sugar and pour it in.” Trish’s take-away should be the battle cry of every mom: “It’s a LOT of sugar.” Share on Facebook Tweet This Post

    Mom Talk: Watch the Sugar Intake

    Do you know how much sugar is in everyday foods and drinks? Being thirsty and tired often makes us think we are hungry when we are not. Trish Barry’s essay for Patch [http://bit.ly/nNE166] begins with her describing how she lost close to 11 pounds through a weight loss program at work. The Connecticut mom said the  plan revolves around paying attention to yourself, and how hungry you really are. Trish avoided the specifics of the program, save one: the suggestion to avoid sugar: no sweets for a while, and then when you do add them, make it occasional, very occasional. Encouraged by her own success, she began to rethink her kids’ drinks. I thought about the juice boxes that I put into my kids lunches. Juicy Juice which boasts 100% juice has twenty-two grams of sugar in one box! That is 5 ½ teaspoons of sugar (four grams is equal to one teaspoon of sugar) in a juice box! HOLY COW!” Like all concerned parents, Trish knows to dilute juice at home. “When we buy bigger bottles of juice, we have generally diluted it. You better believe that we will be diluting even more now.” A major problem is quantity. Trish asks, “Have you ever had just eight ounces of Gatorade? Nope me neither. They come in those thirty-two ounce bottles, and I can drink those down without thinking about it. That thirty-two ounce bottle has fifty-six grams of sugar, equal to fourteen teaspoons.” And Trish hasn’t stopped counting. “A twenty ounce bottle of Coke has seventeen teaspoons of sugar. To get an idea of how much this really is, take one of your empty soda bottles and measure out seventeen teaspoons of sugar and pour it in.” Trish’s take-away should be the battle cry of every mom: “It’s a LOT of sugar.” Share on Facebook Tweet This Post

  • Why would someone want to dump 57 tons of white sand into an old school bus? To make a point. The point being to demonstrate how much sugar schoolchildren in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest in the U.S., consume every week just from flavored milk served in school meals. The sand in the school bus stunt was part of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s attempt to confront LAUSD, which refuses to allow his ABC film crew to shoot in public school cafeterias. As of this writing, Oliver, in his second season with the U.S. broadcast of “Food Revolution” has taken to the streets of LA with outdoor student cookoffs and cooking classes on wheels in an effort to teach kids about nutrition. Better nutrition for school kids is also the aim of science-based Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released January 31, 2011 by the Departments of Agriculture and of Health and Human Services. (1) But will kids eat healthier food, and what about drinking water in place of soft drinks? Louise Esaian, who oversees the food service program for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) told Chicago Tribune reporter Monica Eng that while 70 percent of students choose to eat lunch at school that introducing new concepts is challenging, especially if healthful options don’t actually taste as good as processed food. According to the Tribune report, CPS brought back a spicy chicken patty sandwich in all district high schools during January 2011, because of sagging lunch sales. (2) Tribune reporters watched nine of 10 students in the lunch line at North-Grand H.S. chose the less healthy, processed spicy chicken option with the addition of ketchup or barbecue sauce and pickled jalapeno pepper rings containing more than 1,100 mg of sodium, or two-thirds the daily recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most parents know that processed food with loads of salt tastes better compared to vegetables with no salt. So chefs pushing a healthier way to eat conclude that because it takes far less sodium to make dishes like rice and beans or broccoli palatable to students than what is used in processed foods, that it’s okay to add a little salt to fresh veggies. Nutrition expert Jane Brody of The New York Times advocates gradual adaptations. She wrote recently that, “Moderation, rather than constant deprivation and denial, is the key to a wholesome diet that you can stick with and enjoy. I say this with confidence because I’ve lived this way for most of my adult life and I’ve watched my sons do the same for more than four decades.” (3) “We get so much health advice on how to eat 100 percent perfect,” Clint Carter, contributing editor to the “Eat This, Not That,” published by Rodale Inc., recently told Barb Berggoetz in an article published by The Indianapolis Star. Instead of approaching food as an all-or-nothing transaction, Carter recommends making smarter decisions. Eating at a restaurant, even at fast-food places, Carter said, doesn’t mean you […]

    Jamie Oliver Makes a Point

    Why would someone want to dump 57 tons of white sand into an old school bus? To make a point. The point being to demonstrate how much sugar schoolchildren in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest in the U.S., consume every week just from flavored milk served in school meals. The sand in the school bus stunt was part of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s attempt to confront LAUSD, which refuses to allow his ABC film crew to shoot in public school cafeterias. As of this writing, Oliver, in his second season with the U.S. broadcast of “Food Revolution” has taken to the streets of LA with outdoor student cookoffs and cooking classes on wheels in an effort to teach kids about nutrition. Better nutrition for school kids is also the aim of science-based Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released January 31, 2011 by the Departments of Agriculture and of Health and Human Services. (1) But will kids eat healthier food, and what about drinking water in place of soft drinks? Louise Esaian, who oversees the food service program for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) told Chicago Tribune reporter Monica Eng that while 70 percent of students choose to eat lunch at school that introducing new concepts is challenging, especially if healthful options don’t actually taste as good as processed food. According to the Tribune report, CPS brought back a spicy chicken patty sandwich in all district high schools during January 2011, because of sagging lunch sales. (2) Tribune reporters watched nine of 10 students in the lunch line at North-Grand H.S. chose the less healthy, processed spicy chicken option with the addition of ketchup or barbecue sauce and pickled jalapeno pepper rings containing more than 1,100 mg of sodium, or two-thirds the daily recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most parents know that processed food with loads of salt tastes better compared to vegetables with no salt. So chefs pushing a healthier way to eat conclude that because it takes far less sodium to make dishes like rice and beans or broccoli palatable to students than what is used in processed foods, that it’s okay to add a little salt to fresh veggies. Nutrition expert Jane Brody of The New York Times advocates gradual adaptations. She wrote recently that, “Moderation, rather than constant deprivation and denial, is the key to a wholesome diet that you can stick with and enjoy. I say this with confidence because I’ve lived this way for most of my adult life and I’ve watched my sons do the same for more than four decades.” (3) “We get so much health advice on how to eat 100 percent perfect,” Clint Carter, contributing editor to the “Eat This, Not That,” published by Rodale Inc., recently told Barb Berggoetz in an article published by The Indianapolis Star. Instead of approaching food as an all-or-nothing transaction, Carter recommends making smarter decisions. Eating at a restaurant, even at fast-food places, Carter said, doesn’t mean you […]

  • — January 2011 Is There a Middle Ground for Fluoridation of Drinking Water? Public officials are quick to reassure us about the safety of our drinking water even when there may be potential pollutants, such as prescription drugs. This is not to disparage the job that public water suppliers do, and there needs to be a line drawn somewhere when it comes to dangerous contaminants. As American Dental Association President Dr. Raymond F. Gist has commented, “with science on their side … we have always looked to the federal health agencies to guide us on this and other public health matters.” Following the January 2011 commitment by the Department of Health & Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS/CDC) to both maintain its recommendation to add fluoride to tap water, but push it down to the lowest level to prevent tooth decay. American Water Works Association (AWWA) executive director David LaFrance issued a tepid statement both commending government agencies for affirming the importance of community water fluoridation and for taking into account multiple sources of exposure. This reaction from one of public water suppliers’ most credible voices underscores why people often have conflicts with regard to the safety of their tap water. From people that I have spoken with, mixed messages regarding drinking water all too frequently confuse people about what to drink; may reduce consumption; or worse, because of the confusion, keep some people from drinking water altogether. This blog is dedicated to the importance of drinking water over less healthy beverages. When it comes to the health of our teeth, the best advice is to cut out the junk food and high-sugar beverages that build up acid. This is especially important for children’s teeth. In areas with really bad dental health, it’s the diet and the acids and bacteria in the mouth causing the biggest problems; and a dose of fluoride in our tap water can help protect teeth. I’ll cover many topics about contaminants in drinking water as well as the benefits of consuming water in the future, but this blog specifically deals with fluoride. Community water fluoridation has been labeled one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century by CDC. Over time, the occurrence of decay in at least one tooth among U.S. children was reduced from about 90 percent to 60 percent. But times have changed since Grand Rapids, MI became the world’s first city to add fluoride to its water supply in 1950. And the problem now is that kids ages 12 through 15 increasingly experience a splotchy tooth condition. Also, CDC says the problem has grown far more common since the 1980s. The unnerving update is that two in five teens in America show signs of what the medical community calls dental fluorosis (streaking, spotting or pitting of teeth), but what its harshest critics call “fluoride poisoning.” HHS/CDC maintain that dental fluorosis in the U.S. mostly appears as, “barely visible lacy white markings or spots on the enamel.” […]

    New Fluoride Recommendation

    — January 2011 Is There a Middle Ground for Fluoridation of Drinking Water? Public officials are quick to reassure us about the safety of our drinking water even when there may be potential pollutants, such as prescription drugs. This is not to disparage the job that public water suppliers do, and there needs to be a line drawn somewhere when it comes to dangerous contaminants. As American Dental Association President Dr. Raymond F. Gist has commented, “with science on their side … we have always looked to the federal health agencies to guide us on this and other public health matters.” Following the January 2011 commitment by the Department of Health & Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS/CDC) to both maintain its recommendation to add fluoride to tap water, but push it down to the lowest level to prevent tooth decay. American Water Works Association (AWWA) executive director David LaFrance issued a tepid statement both commending government agencies for affirming the importance of community water fluoridation and for taking into account multiple sources of exposure. This reaction from one of public water suppliers’ most credible voices underscores why people often have conflicts with regard to the safety of their tap water. From people that I have spoken with, mixed messages regarding drinking water all too frequently confuse people about what to drink; may reduce consumption; or worse, because of the confusion, keep some people from drinking water altogether. This blog is dedicated to the importance of drinking water over less healthy beverages. When it comes to the health of our teeth, the best advice is to cut out the junk food and high-sugar beverages that build up acid. This is especially important for children’s teeth. In areas with really bad dental health, it’s the diet and the acids and bacteria in the mouth causing the biggest problems; and a dose of fluoride in our tap water can help protect teeth. I’ll cover many topics about contaminants in drinking water as well as the benefits of consuming water in the future, but this blog specifically deals with fluoride. Community water fluoridation has been labeled one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century by CDC. Over time, the occurrence of decay in at least one tooth among U.S. children was reduced from about 90 percent to 60 percent. But times have changed since Grand Rapids, MI became the world’s first city to add fluoride to its water supply in 1950. And the problem now is that kids ages 12 through 15 increasingly experience a splotchy tooth condition. Also, CDC says the problem has grown far more common since the 1980s. The unnerving update is that two in five teens in America show signs of what the medical community calls dental fluorosis (streaking, spotting or pitting of teeth), but what its harshest critics call “fluoride poisoning.” HHS/CDC maintain that dental fluorosis in the U.S. mostly appears as, “barely visible lacy white markings or spots on the enamel.” […]

  • — Updated Feb 1, 2011 Researchers say that most people deny eating a lot of sugar. While over one-third of American adults are obese, researchers at Harvard University now predict that if current trends continue, the obesity rate in the U.S. won’t level off until it reaches over 40 percent. But despite warning signs – epidemic rates of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and depression – people continue to indulge their sugar habit. The result is cause for alarm. Among obesity scientists, health providers and the medical community, there is major concern about sugar’s addictive quality. Barry Popkin, author of “The World is FAT” thinks that sugar-based diets, especially high consumption of soft drinks, are killing us. According to another source, Nature Cures Clinic of Portland, Oregon, our “daily bread” has turned into a non-stop feeding frenzy of sweets, artificial sweeteners and refined carbohydrates. What to do? Exercise, of course. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and reduce salt and saturated fats, absolutely. Health and policy professionals like Profs. Popkin and world-renown public health scholars, Harvard’s Prof. Walter Willet and Yale Prof. Kelly D. Brownell, also recommend drinking more water. And now, as of January 31, 2011, so does the federal government. For the first time ever in its revised dietary Guidelines, the USDA recommends replacing sugary drinks like soda with water and avoiding fatty foods. [Link: www.cnpp.usda.gov/DietaryGuidelines.htm] (c) 2011 Jonathan Hall Share on Facebook Tweet This Post

    Sugar Habit

    — Updated Feb 1, 2011 Researchers say that most people deny eating a lot of sugar. While over one-third of American adults are obese, researchers at Harvard University now predict that if current trends continue, the obesity rate in the U.S. won’t level off until it reaches over 40 percent. But despite warning signs – epidemic rates of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and depression – people continue to indulge their sugar habit. The result is cause for alarm. Among obesity scientists, health providers and the medical community, there is major concern about sugar’s addictive quality. Barry Popkin, author of “The World is FAT” thinks that sugar-based diets, especially high consumption of soft drinks, are killing us. According to another source, Nature Cures Clinic of Portland, Oregon, our “daily bread” has turned into a non-stop feeding frenzy of sweets, artificial sweeteners and refined carbohydrates. What to do? Exercise, of course. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and reduce salt and saturated fats, absolutely. Health and policy professionals like Profs. Popkin and world-renown public health scholars, Harvard’s Prof. Walter Willet and Yale Prof. Kelly D. Brownell, also recommend drinking more water. And now, as of January 31, 2011, so does the federal government. For the first time ever in its revised dietary Guidelines, the USDA recommends replacing sugary drinks like soda with water and avoiding fatty foods. [Link: www.cnpp.usda.gov/DietaryGuidelines.htm] (c) 2011 Jonathan Hall Share on Facebook Tweet This Post

  • [Around the Water Cooler interview March 17, 2010,  excerpted and edited for clarity by Jonathan O. Hall.] Professor Mark Edwards, PhD is the Charles Lunsford Professor of Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech University. The Journal Environmental Science and Technology has selected a paper written by Dr. Edwards and his associates as the best science paper of 2009 and this is among about 1500 papers that they publish annually. Prof. Edwards is the fourth recipient of the Villanova University’s Praxis Award in Professional Ethics. Mark has won a McArthur Fellow, and in 2007 was awarded a five-year grant of a half million dollars to expand his research into safe drinking water. Prof. Edwards was a keynote speaker at the Water Quality Association Conference in March 2010. JONATHAN: Welcome to the show, Mark. MARK: Thank you for having me, Jonathan. JONATHAN: Mark, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and you’re an engineer, has rated the drinking water infrastructure in the US as a D-minus. And on this show, just a couple weeks ago, Professor Edward Bauer, the Abel-Wolman Professor of Environmental Engineering and Chair of the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at John Hopkins, said that there’s greater uncertainty now than in the past in terms of the safety of our drinking water. And we’re not trying to promote fear here, but do you agree that the lack of investments and an infrastructure in this country is compromising efforts to provide high qualify safe drinking water? MARK: Well, in general citizens in the US can have great faith in the quality of their tap water. But it is true that we have failed to invest in our water infrastructure, particularly the pipes that bring water from the treatment plan to your home. So even if you have the very best water treatment plant in the world and, you know, you operate at highest efficiency, if that clean water goes through a series of rusty old pipes full of bacteria and holes, the drinking water that you get out of your tap can have bacteria, rust, and potential contaminants in it as well. So this is something that we could and should do more with, in terms of spending money to upgrade this infrastructure. JONATHAN: Well, you and I both know that one of the biggest challenges here, when you’re talking about old pipes failing, are leaks. Approximately 15-40 percent of treated water from plants in the U.S. is leaked prior to reaching customers. How do leaks pose a danger to water supply and how serious are water main breaks? MARK: Well, one issue is just the lost resource itself. You know, as we tried to make our water go further and we try to conserve at home, it makes little sense to just waste 15-to-40 percent of the water through these leaks in pipes, and this has a big value, too, on the order of $3-5 billion a year. But about a decade ago, what we discovered is contrary to your […]

    Lead in Drinking Water, What You Should Know

    [Around the Water Cooler interview March 17, 2010,  excerpted and edited for clarity by Jonathan O. Hall.] Professor Mark Edwards, PhD is the Charles Lunsford Professor of Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech University. The Journal Environmental Science and Technology has selected a paper written by Dr. Edwards and his associates as the best science paper of 2009 and this is among about 1500 papers that they publish annually. Prof. Edwards is the fourth recipient of the Villanova University’s Praxis Award in Professional Ethics. Mark has won a McArthur Fellow, and in 2007 was awarded a five-year grant of a half million dollars to expand his research into safe drinking water. Prof. Edwards was a keynote speaker at the Water Quality Association Conference in March 2010. JONATHAN: Welcome to the show, Mark. MARK: Thank you for having me, Jonathan. JONATHAN: Mark, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and you’re an engineer, has rated the drinking water infrastructure in the US as a D-minus. And on this show, just a couple weeks ago, Professor Edward Bauer, the Abel-Wolman Professor of Environmental Engineering and Chair of the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at John Hopkins, said that there’s greater uncertainty now than in the past in terms of the safety of our drinking water. And we’re not trying to promote fear here, but do you agree that the lack of investments and an infrastructure in this country is compromising efforts to provide high qualify safe drinking water? MARK: Well, in general citizens in the US can have great faith in the quality of their tap water. But it is true that we have failed to invest in our water infrastructure, particularly the pipes that bring water from the treatment plan to your home. So even if you have the very best water treatment plant in the world and, you know, you operate at highest efficiency, if that clean water goes through a series of rusty old pipes full of bacteria and holes, the drinking water that you get out of your tap can have bacteria, rust, and potential contaminants in it as well. So this is something that we could and should do more with, in terms of spending money to upgrade this infrastructure. JONATHAN: Well, you and I both know that one of the biggest challenges here, when you’re talking about old pipes failing, are leaks. Approximately 15-40 percent of treated water from plants in the U.S. is leaked prior to reaching customers. How do leaks pose a danger to water supply and how serious are water main breaks? MARK: Well, one issue is just the lost resource itself. You know, as we tried to make our water go further and we try to conserve at home, it makes little sense to just waste 15-to-40 percent of the water through these leaks in pipes, and this has a big value, too, on the order of $3-5 billion a year. But about a decade ago, what we discovered is contrary to your […]