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Aug 2

Mediterranean diet works better for wealthy people, study finds – CBS News

The Mediterranean diet -- rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, nuts and whole grains -- has long been hailed as a heart-healthy eating plan. But new research suggests its health benefits may be limited to the rich and well-educated.

For the study, a team of Italian scientists reviewed diets, income and education level of nearly 19,000 men and women.

The investigators found the Mediterranean diet was associated with about a 60 percent lower risk of heart disease and stroke among those with higher incomes and more education. The same was not true for those with fewer resources -- even though they followed a similar eating plan.

Healthy habits -- such as getting regular exercise, routine check-ups, and not smoking -- are more common among people with higher incomes. But the study findings held up even after the researchers accounted for these variables and others, such as marital status and body mass index (a measurement based on height and weight).

The team investigated other possible explanations for this healthy diet disparity. The findings showed that the wealthier participants ate less meat and consumed more fish and whole grains than those with lower incomes.

The more affluent people also ate a greater variety of fruits and vegetables, which provided more antioxidants and other essential nutrients. The researchers concluded that food quality may be as important for health as how much people eat and how often.

"Money may provide access to a larger variety of foods typical of the Mediterranean diet, such as fruits and vegetables, thus obtaining more adequate intake of essential nutrients," said the study's leader, Giovanni de Gaetano. He's head of the department of epidemiology and prevention at the I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed Institute in Pozzilli, Italy.

Many of the most nutritionally valuable foods in the Mediterranean diet -- including fish, olive oil and produce -- aren't cheap.

"Let's think about a five-member family who wants to attain to the five-a-day portion of fruits and vegetables," de Gaetano said. "This sounds quite expensive."

Cooking methods also differed among the study participants. The people with more money and education were more likely to prepare their vegetables in healthier ways, which preserve their nutritional value.

Joan Salge Blake is a clinical associate professor and dietetic internship director at Boston University. She said the more affluent "are more likely to have better health care, access to a variety of diverse fruits and vegetables, and an overall understanding about the role of lifestyle and diet in disease prevention."

So, she added, "costs and access to healthy foods will clearly impact the quality of a person's diet and lifestyle."

That doesn't mean individuals and families on a tight budget can't afford to follow the Mediterranean diet, Salge Blake stressed. She offered the following budget-friendly advice:

The study was published online July 31 in theInternational Journal of Epidemiology.

2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Mediterranean diet works better for wealthy people, study finds - CBS News

Aug 2

Why flight attendants hate when you order Diet Coke –




If you've ever wondered why the flight attendant with the drink cart took forever to reach your row, there's a good chance it's because everybody was holding up the works by ordering this one drink.

For the parched traveler who needs a drink now, don't order a Diet Coke on a plane because it takes longer to pour than other drinks, according to an anonymous flight attendant who writes the blog These Gold Wings.

If you're thirsting for a Diet Coke on a plane, you better have some patience.

In a 2013 blog post, the flight attendant noted that because the average airplane cabin is pressurized to the equivalent of about 8,000 feet instead of sea level, soft drinks foam up more when poured out of a can.

"The worst culprit for this is Diet Coke,'' he wrote. "I literally have to sit and wait for the bubbles to fall before I can continue pouring. If all 3 passengers ask for Diet Coke Ill often get them started, take another three drink orders, serve those, and then finish the Diet Cokes. As the infomercials say, 'Theres GOT to be a better way!'''

The veteran flight attendant move is to turn the can completely upside down into the cup and then lift and tilt it slightly to pour faster without worrying about the foam spilling over the top, according to the flight attendant.

"Pouring Diet Coke is one of the biggest slow downs in the bar service and on the shorter flights those precious seconds count!" he wrote.

He also would like people to know that it's not irritating for him to pour Diet Cokes, as it's been presented in multiple stories about the blog post. It's just one of those quirks that flight attendants have to deal with.

"Here is my official stance on passengers ordering Diet Coke, not that anyone should actually care: I dont care what you want to drink,'' he wrote in a post on July 19. "Ill pour it, and I wont have a second thought about it."

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.

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Why flight attendants hate when you order Diet Coke -

Aug 2

Diet Cig: Tiny Desk Concert : NPR – NPR

The high-energy blast that musicians often reserve for their finale is the starting point for Diet Cig.

The band's boundless, leaping pop is exhilarating and pleasantly exhausting to watch, with drummer Noah Bowman propelling the high kicks and constant pogo bounce of guitarist and singer Alex Luciano. With a candied voice, she sings of being on the cusp of adolescence but underneath that bright veneer Alex sings truth to power, and about what it means to be a punk in a skirt, dealing with disrespectful souls. "I think you're the kind of guy / who would meet me at a party / and forget my name / and try to take me home all the same," she sings on "Sixteen."

These songs, which crackle like Pop Rocks and in this case stomp, as Alex dances on my desk retain a simple fun that makes them memorable, without undermining their gravity.

Swear I'm Good At This is available now. (iTunes) (Amazon)

Set List


Alex Luciano (vocals, guitar); Noah Bowman (drums)


Producers: Bob Boilen, Niki Walker, Bronson Arcuri; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Tsering Bista; PA: Morgan Noelle Smith; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR.

For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

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Diet Cig: Tiny Desk Concert : NPR - NPR

Aug 2

Royal chef sets record straight on what Queen Elizabeth eats and drinks – CNN

The Queen's hectic schedule demands equal amounts of polite conversation and extravagant dining. So how does she stay healthy and fit?

"The queen's not really bothered about food. All she cares about are horses and dogs," said her former chef Darren McGrady, who worked for Elizabeth and her family from 1982 through 1993.

In fact, he says he is often asked why the Queen doesn't "get big from eating all that opulent food": five-course banquets of dishes with heavy sauces and elaborate mousses, followed by the inevitable glace ice cream.

The nights when she's on her own, she'll stick to grilled or poached fish with some vegetables and salad, but no potatoes or starch.

"That's it. That's all she has," he said. "She's very disciplined like that. She could have anything she wanted, but it is that discipline that keeps her so well and so healthy."

The Queen's simply the kind of person who eats to live rather than living to eat, adds McGrady, and proof can be found in the kitchen itself.

"The chefs and food and kitchens come last. They're still using pots and pans from the 1800s, with the Queen Victoria stamp on them, at Buckingam Palace," he said. While working at the palace, he would ask the Royals, "Don't you want some new pots and pans?"

"No, no, no, we need the money to buy horses and saddles," he'd be told.

Not your average chocoholic

"The queen loves to eat food from the estate," said McGrady, who worked at the five-star Savoy Hotel in London before getting his gig at Buckingham Palace. Home-grown vegetables, fish, pheasant, anything off the various estates -- Balmoral, Buckingham and Windsor Palaces -- is what the Queen enjoys most.

"She's also a chocoholic," he confided. "It has to be the dark chocolate, the darker the better. She wasn't keen on milk chocolate or white chocolate."

Does she exercise? McGrady laughs at the question.

"I don't think she has a weight room at Buckingham Palace, but she loves horse-riding and walking the dogs," he said. "She's 91 years young, and she still goes horse riding. She'll walk for miles with the dogs or just around the gardens at Buckingham Palace."

As for her drinking, McGrady mentions all the "silly little pieces in the papers" in which he's quoted as saying she has four drinks a day.

"She'd be pickled if she drank that much," he said. "All I said was she likes a gin and Dubonnet. That's her favorite drink."

It's obvious how this mistaken impression came about, he said: his accent, his swift way of speaking and an imperfect phone connection. The Queen doesn't have "gin in the morning," as some reported, but "gin and Dubonnet" (a spiced aperitif, pronounced doo-BON-ay).

"She doesn't wake up in the morning and have a large gin and tonic," McGrady said, adding that when she does splurge on a glass of wine with dinner -- and this is not a nightly event, he emphasizes -- it will usually be a favorite German sweet wine. "Just in the evening," he added. "She certainly doesn't drink four glasses a day."

Though each has different tastes, the Royals are generally a healthy bunch. "The thing with Prince Philip is, he's sort of into healthy eating, too," McGrady said, describing the Queen's husband as "very military."

McGrady remembers Philip coming into the kitchen one day and asking about dinner. When McGrady opened the fridge, he saw the lamb chops prepared for the staff.

"'Can't we have those?' " Philip asked. "He wanted the staff food for dinner. He was more a Navy man."

Elizabeth and Philip's eldest son, Prince Charles, "was organic before organic was even invented," McGrady said. Each Christmas, the royal kitchen would get a gift from the luxury department store Harrods, a hamper of food filled with treats. One year, Prince Philip came into the kitchen and saw two hampers. He eagerly opened one, asking whether it was the Harrods' hamper.

"Actually, no, Your Highness, this is a hamper from the Prince of Wales," responded McGrady. Seeing plums and vegetables and mushrooms, Prince Philip "slammed the lid down -- 'It's bloody organic' -- and he walked off," said McGrady.

Working for the princess

After Charles separated from Princess Diana, McGrady went to work for the princess, who had struggled with bulimia.

McGrady was still cooking "crazy" opulent meals when he joined her household in 1993. "She said, 'Darren, I'm eating healthy' -- and she was patron of 119 charities at the time -- 'you take care of all of the fats in the kitchen, and I'll take care of the carbs at the gym.'

"All my recipes changed when I moved to Princess Diana," he said. He learned to cut back on calories and fat; her preferences included stuffed vegetables. "She'd never eat red meat; she'd only eat chicken or fish," McGrady said.

He speaks of Diana with nostalgia and sadness. They met during the 11 "incredible years" he worked for the Queen, and then he worked for the princess until her death in 1997.

The night of the deadly car accident, "I went to bed, and I had the food for dinner the next day for her return," he said. "It was awful, awful, that next week.

"It was all surreal: going into the garden and seeing the flowers getting higher and higher and all the people and being at the funeral. The whole week was just a daze."

Princess Diana inspired McGrady to leave England and come to America, where he continues to work as a chef and caterer in Dallas.

"Princess Diana inspired millions of people around the world, and she really did me, and in the years I worked for her, I saw the difference she made in people's lives," McGrady said.

"The princess came into the kitchen; she was just wearing a white towel and robe. She'd just come out of the shower. Her hair was ruffled, and she just looked stunningly beautiful naturally," McGrady said. Pointing to a piece of paper, she said, "Darren, look at how much money I made for charity just by selling a few of my old dresses." She'd raised about $2 million to fight AIDS and breast cancer, McGrady said.

So when he wrote "Eating Royally," he imagined meeting the princess again and saying, "Your Royal Highness, look at how much money I made for charity just by selling a few of my old recipes."

"My second book, I have to confess -- that one I am donating to my children's college fund," McGrady said. "The Royal Chef at Home," featuring his own versions of American classics, will be published in September.

Even after 20 years of assimilating to distinctly American tastes, his memories of the Queen remain fond.

"It always made me laugh that, you know, one day, the Queen would be at an estate banquet, and she'd be eating off Meissen china from the late 1800s, beautiful hand-painted Meissen china, with gold and silver gilt knives and forks," McGrady said. Another day, she would eat from "a fruit dish -- it was a marble bowl with three horses in gold raised up, holding it, and they're encrusted in diamonds, rubies, sapphires." The gift from the Emir of Bahrain was valued at 50,000 pounds at the time, he said.

"The next day, she'd be at Balmoral, and she'd be on the estate out in the hills, and she'd be eating lunch out of a Tupperware container," McGrady said. "One day they're normal; one day they're royal."

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Royal chef sets record straight on what Queen Elizabeth eats and drinks - CNN

Aug 2

Mediterranean diet boosts health, but only if you’re rich or educated – Treehugger

Only the most advantaged people actually benefit from the Mediterranean diet, says new Italian study.

The logic is simple enough: Eat a diet rich in plant-based foods, healthy fats and fish; limit consumption of red meat, sugar and junk food and the risk of cardiovascular disease is reduced. Abundant research has been confirming the benefits of eating in this style, known as the Mediterranean diet, for years. But according to a new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the Mediterranean diet is a bit more selective than logic would suggest.

Researchers from the Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care Neuromed in Italy performed a study on over 18,000 subjects and found that the Mediterranean diet does indeed reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease but only if you are rich or highly educated.

The study, led by Giovanni de Gaetano, concluded that the benefits go hand in hand with the socioeconomic position of the diets followers. Basically, given the same adherence to the eating pattern, the study found that the reduction in cardiovascular risk was only seen in people with higher educational level and/or greater household income.

The most surprising part: No actual benefits were observed for the less advantaged groups.

What the ... ???

"The cardiovascular benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet in a general population are well known, says Marialaura Bonaccio, first author of the study. Yet for the first time our study has revealed that the socioeconomic position is able to modulate the health advantages linked to Mediterranean diet. In other words, a person from low socioeconomic status who struggles to follow a Mediterranean model, is unlikely to get the same advantages of a person with higher income, despite the fact that they both similarly adhere to the same healthy diet.

It seems impossible, doesnt it? Not to mention unfair. The researchers tried to figure out why there could be a discrepancy among groups with the same eating pattern. They came up with a few factors, including quality and diversity of food, attention to whole grains, and varying cooking methods.

"Given a comparable adherence to the Mediterranean diet, the most advantaged groups were more likely to report a larger number of indices of high quality diet as opposed to people with low socioeconomic status, says Licia Iacoviello. For example, within those reporting an optimal adherence to the Mediterranean diet people with high income or higher educational level consumed products richer in antioxidants and polyphenols, and had a greater diversity in fruit and vegetables choice.

We have also found a socioeconomic gradient in the consumption of whole-grain products and in the preferred cooking methods," Iacoviello adds. "These substantial differences in consuming products belonging to Mediterranean diet lead us to think that quality of foods may be as important for health as quantity and frequency of intake."

I find it hard to believe that eating a Mediterranean diet, regardless of socioeconomic factors, wouldnt have a positive effect on health. At the very least, it seems like it would have to counter the negative effects of a salt-sugar-fat-filled Western diet. And for many reasons, people should not be discouraged from eating more plant-based foods. But if Mediterranean foods with lower nutritional values are preventing some parts of the population from optimal health, its an issue that really needs to be addressed.

"Our results should promote a serious consideration of socioeconomic scenario of health, says de Gaetano. We cannot keep on saying that the Mediterranean diet is good for health, if we are not able to guarantee an equal access to it."

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Mediterranean diet boosts health, but only if you're rich or educated - Treehugger

Aug 1

Rob Gronkowski is trying Tom Brady’s diet plan, but skipping one key part –

Tom Brady's diet might not be glamorous, but it's slowly winning over some New England Patriots teammates.

For example, take Rob Gronkowski. After watching the 39-year-old Brady play through the entire 2016 season without missing a game to injury -- Gronk missed eight games -- Gronkowski decided that he wanted to emulate Brady's lifestyle, so he could be as healthy as possible.

"Just looking at Tom, seeing what he does every day, what he eats, talking to him, personally one-on-one, just learning about the body with him, just seeing how flexible he is, how pliable he is, how loose he is all the time, every day and ready to go," Gronkowski said in arecent interview with the Boston Herald. "I just felt like it was the time in my career where I needed to devote myself at all levels,"

So what does that mean?

It means that Gronk has spent the past three months working with Brady's body coach (Alex Guerrero) and eating the same type of food that Brady eats.

Since Gronk's career started in 2010, Brady has missed zero games due to injury while Gronkowski has missed 24 out of 112 regular-season games. For Gronk, the hope is that by implementing Brady's way of life into his life, there will be less injuries down the road.

"I just felt like I had to add on to what I was doing. Find a way that my body will respond so I can perform every day. Be in prevention mode for injuries happening," Gronkowski said. "I definitely feel like a brand new guy just being able to do exercises here [at the TB12 center]."

Since most of Brady's meals are plant-based, it means that Gronk has had to mostly give up on meat, which seems to be working out for him so far, thanks in large part to Brady's cooking skills.

"Tom's my chef. I told him I'm only eating them if you have them ready for me," Gronkowski said. "And he said, 'Deal.'"

Brady might not be much of a cook, but we do know that he can make a mean beluga lentil taco, so I'm guessing that's what he eats with Gronk every night.

Although it seems that Gronk has been willing to mostly give up meat, there's one thing he hasn't necessarily been willing to give up: Alcohol.

Unlike Brady, who isn't really known to ever drink, Gronk still has the occasional adult beverage. Under Guerrero's watch, Gronk is allowed to drink alcohol, there's just one catch: He has to clean out his body afterward.

For every one drink of alcohol, Gronk is expected to drink three glasses of water to offset the damage he's doing to his body. The three glasses of water rule also applies if Gronk were to drink coffee.

So far, Guerrero has been impressed with his new client. "Rob has been really committed," Guerrero told the Herald. "He's done a great job. The foundation has been set. Certainly, we're not done."

If you want to eat like Brady, all you need to do is shell out $78 a week and joinhis at-home food delivery service. If $78 is too steep of a price for you, then you can buy something cheaper: Bradyalso sells a $50 bag of nuts.

I'm not sure if $50 is a good price for nuts, but it must be, because those things always seem to sell out just seconds after they get more stock.

Finally, if you're looking to embrace the entire Brady diet and you have $200 to spare, youcan buy his cookbook, which isn't actually a cookbook, because it's a "Nutrition manual," according to Brady. If you follow Brady's diet plan, there's no guarantee that you'll also marry a supermodel and win five Super Bowls, but it seems like it could be worth a try.

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Rob Gronkowski is trying Tom Brady's diet plan, but skipping one key part -

Aug 1

Here’s The Difference Between Diet Coke, Coke Zero And Coke Zero Sugar – HuffPost

The Coca-Cola Company recently announced that its going to discontinue Coke Zero and replace it with Coke Zero Sugarto give it an even better unique blend of flavors than what gave Coke Zero its real Coca-Cola taste.

Even though the whole release seemsmore like a marketing move than an actual new product release, people were not too pleased with the news. (Ahem, they were livid.) We cant claim to know the motivation behind the new release, but one things for sure: Coca-Cola is getting in on the anti-sugar train right on time.

This upset got us thinking: what is the actual difference between Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coke Zero Sugar? If you look at the ingredients between the three, they arent actually all that different. And, in fact, Coke Zero and Coke Zero Sugar have exactly the same ingredient list.

Heres the list of ingredients in Diet Coke:

Carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, natural flavors, citric acid, caffeine.

Heres the list of ingredients inCoke Zero:

Carbonated water, caramel color, phosphoric acid, aspartame, potassium benzoate, natural flavors, potassium citrate, acesulfame potassium, caffeine.

And heres the list of ingredients in Coke Zero Sugar:

Carbonated water, caramel color, phosphoric acid, aspartame, potassium benzoate, natural flavors, potassium citrate, acesulfame potassium, caffeine,

Diet Coke is missing two ingredients that the other two sugar-free options have: potassium citrate and acesulfame potassium. Acesulfame potassium is a calorie-free sugar substitute and potassium citrate is a common additive in beverages.

How do these ingredients differentiate them nutritionally? Not at all, actually.

But what about the difference in flavor between the drinks?

Many diet soda drinkers swear their allegiance to either Diet Coke or Coke Zero (now Coke Zero Sugar), but in a previous taste test that HuffPost did between Diet Coke and Coke Zeroback in 2012, only 54 percent of tasters were able to tell the difference between Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

Now, Coke Zero Sugar claims to taste just like Coke Zero, but the verdict is still out:

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Here's The Difference Between Diet Coke, Coke Zero And Coke Zero Sugar - HuffPost

Jul 31

Does drinking diet soda raise the risk of a stroke? – Harvard Health (blog)

For diet soda fans, recent news reports linking these popular drinks to higher risk of stroke may have been alarming. A closer look at the study behind the headlines suggests theres no need to panic. But beverages naturally low in calories are probably a healthier option than artificially sweetened drinks.

The study included 2,888 people ages 45 and older from the long-running Framingham Heart Study, all of whom filled out diet questionnaires up to three times over a seven-year period. People who said they drank at least one artificially sweetened soda a day were about twice as likely to have a stroke over the following decade when compared to those who drank less than one a week. Drinking regular, sugar-sweetened sodas or beverages did not appear to raise stroke risk.

However, these types of studies cant prove cause and effect, only an association. Also, only 97people (3%) had strokes during the follow-up, which means only two or three of those strokes could possibly be attributed to drinking diet soda, says Dr. Kathryn Rexrode, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Womens Hospital who co-authored an earlier, larger study looking at soda consumption and stroke risk.

That study detected a slightly higher risk of stroke in people who drank more than one soda per day, regardless of whether it contained sugar or an artificial sweetener. Although the latest study didnt detect a higher stroke risk from sugary beverages, that certainly doesnt suggest they are a better choice than diet sodas. Many studies have already shown that drinking sugary beverages on a regular basis can lead to weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, she notes.

In fact, one possible explanation why sugary beverages werent linked to stroke in the recent study might be a phenomenon known as survival bias. In this case, that would mean that people who drank a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages may have died earlier from other illnesses such as heart disease.

Conversely, diet beverages may have shown a link to stroke because of a different issue, called reverse causation. In an attempt to be healthier, people who are overweight or have diabetes may be more likely to choose diet drinks over sugary ones. Their heightened stroke risk may result from their health problems rather than their beverage choice. We might just be measuring the residual impact of obesity and diabetes, says Dr. Rexrode.

Another conundrum: researchers dont have any plausible explanation for why artificial sweeteners might increase stroke risk. Still, there may be other reasons to ditch them.

If you use artificial sweeteners to control your weight, you should know that the support for that strategy is pretty shaky. Some evidence suggests that artificial sweeteners make people crave sugary, high-calorie foods, thereby negating the sweeteners potential to cut your overall calorie intake. And some experts believe that people who use these high-intensity sweeteners (which are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar) may come to find naturally sweet foods, such as fruit, less appealing and less-sweet foods, such as vegetables, downright unpalatable. If so, those people might be missing out on the many heart-protecting nutrients found in fresh, natural foods.

But Dr. Rexrode isnt a stickler when it comes to diet soda. I encourage my patients to eliminate regular soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks to avoid empty calories, she says. But if someone says they cant do without a Coke in the morning to wake up, Ill encourage them to switch to coffee or diet Coke. Water is an even better choice, however. There are a lot of ways to make it more appealing, both visually and taste-wise. she adds. Try flavoring flat or sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice, or add frozen fruit, cucumber, or crushed mint.

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Does drinking diet soda raise the risk of a stroke? - Harvard Health (blog)

Jul 31

If You Love Your Flight Attendant, Do Not Order Diet Coke – HuffPost

You may think all beverages are equally bad on a plane, but it turns out one type of drink is extra irksome to your cabin crew.

Diet Coke is difficult to pour in the sky because it foams up more than non-diet drinks, according to a recent post on the flight attendant blog These Gold Wings.

We checked with otherflight attendants,who confirmed the struggle is real. Among them was Heather Poole, an American Airlines flight attendant who wrote about the phenomenon in a 2012 article for Mental Floss.

[Diet Coke is] the most annoying beverage a flight attendant can pour for a passenger in flight, because in the time it takes us to fill one cup, we could have served an entire row of passengers, Poole wrote. Ive actually had nightmares about frantically trying to finish a never ending Diet Coke beverage service before landing.

Pouring the drink is such a struggle that These Gold Wings demonstrated a smart way to avoid all the fizz in a 2013 video:

Many soda fansnoteDiet Coke is fizzier than regular Cokeeven on the ground, theorizing that its lack of sugar makes for a less viscous liquid, allowing bubbles to last longer before popping.

A Coke spokeswoman declined to share scientific specifics with HuffPost, but hinted that Diet Cokes ingredients could be the cause of its extra bubbles. Pouring the drink over ice only increases fizziness.

The amount of bubbles across different sparkling beverages is related to the specific recipe versus the altitude in which they are poured, the spokesperson told HuffPost. Generally, when sparkling beverages are poured at room temperature from a can and over ice, the fizz is increased.

According toSouthwest Airlinesflight attendant Stephanie Mikel, the effect occurs in all diet drinks.

Any diet or zero calorie soda fizzes more than the regular kind, she told HuffPost. But obviously, if its something someone wants, I would never get upset over that. You learn quickly which [sodas]you need to pour from a high angle and slowly.

Some airlines hand out entire cans of soda, Jay Robert of Fly Guy noted (andyou might even score one on a non-can airline, if you ask nicely.) With luck, youll be able to experience this phenomenon for yourself!

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If You Love Your Flight Attendant, Do Not Order Diet Coke - HuffPost

Jul 31

Why You Should ‘Rewild’ Your Diet to Help Your Microbiome – Big Think

Tim Spector probably never expected to measure his poop, but so life goes. The professor of Genetic Epidemiology at Kings College London was invited by his colleague, visiting research fellow Jeff Leach, to travel to one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes in Africa. The purpose: to track his gut microbiome.

In a time of fractured nutritional advice with snake oil salesmen and saleswomen proffering wildly speculative claims, your bacteria and fungi dont lie. Your microbiome is the community of microorganisms that live inside of your stomach. Research is showing that this is one of the most important markers of your health, physically and psychologically. So Spector measured his levels, hopped on a plane to Tanzania, and ate porcupine.


Not only that prickly creature. For three days Spector lived as the Hadza do: baobab porridge, Kongorobi berries, hyrax, honeycomb, and yes, porcupine (tastes like suckling pig!). As it turned out, a long weekend on this diet had spectacular consequences.

"The results showed clear differences between my starting sample and after three days of my forager diet. The good news was my gut microbal diversity increased a stunning 20%, including some totally novel African microbes, such as those of the phylum Synergistetes," writes Tim Spector.

The bad news is that the microbes fled shortly after his return to London. Thats okay, Emeran Mayer, a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Physiology and Psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, tells me. Author of the cutting edge book in this field, The Mind-Gut Connection, hes devoted his career to studying the link between the gut and brain.

While Spectors journey makes for solid journalism and great passport stamps, Mayer says we dont need to return to hunter-gather diets like the Hadza or Amazonian Yanomami to make a difference.

"A review of worldwide dietary habits has made it pretty clear that largely plant-based diets rich in indigestible fiber have the greatest health benefits, and that this benefit is in large part explained by the beneficial effects of such diets on the gut microbiome," says Mayer.

Mayer points to traditional Mediterranean, Asian, and European diets as being sufficient in increasing good bacteria. These diets are high in polyphenols, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory molecules. Numerous problems, he continues, are evident with the Western diet that has created startling obesity and GI problems in America: a low ratio of plant and animal components, high animal fat and sugar, excess calories, additives like emulsifiers and artificial sweeteners, an abusive relationship with antibiotics, and pesticides.


The standard Western micriobiome is so bad that Jeff Leach calls our guts ecological disaster zones. Leach has lived and worked with the Hadza for years and has written a book of his own, Rewild, which offers advice on how to create good habits for better guts. The process of rewilding your diet is possible anywhere, though cues taken from hunter-gatherer tribes can work wonders. While Westerners douse themselves in antibacterial soaps and celebrate clean diets, it turns out that a littleor a lotof dirt is best.

"It is their persistent exposure to this rich pool of microorganisms that has endowed the Hadza with an extraordinary diversity of microbes; much greater than we see among people in the so-called developed world," writes Jeff Leach.

While Mayer admits that were only at the beginning of research in this field, he predicts that textbooks across the academic spectrum will have to be updated: medical, psychiatry, neurology, metabolism, and cardiology first to mind. Gut bacteria and fungi, which if isolated as a separate organ would weigh between two and six pounds, is revolutionizing our understanding of our nervous systems. This information far exceeds what we put on our plate; it could shift how we treat depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders, even diseases like Parkinsons. (Indeed, earlier this year I wrote about my dietary shift curing me of longstanding anxiety disorder.)

There may soon be another cup next to the urine station in your doctors office as Mayer foresees microbiome levels integrated into your annual exam in the near future. Theres even ways to measure in the comfort of home: Leach is part of the team behind Map My Gut, a 23andMe for your feces. The information is designed to help consumers understand how their diet affects their lifestyle and may play a role in certain diseases.


With this wealth of data on nutrients and bacteria surfacing, Leach also writes about an ancient aspect of eating often overlooked today: the ritual of the meal. In Los Angeles I constantly watch people shove food into their mouths while drivingunconscious gorging over shared ritual. In Spectors article theres a photo of the tribe surrounding the campfire as the author details the porcupine meal: spines, skin, and organs dissected; organs immediately cooked and consumed; meat shared communally later that evening.

Mayer relates the ritual of eating with positive emotions, which runs counter to the stress of comfort foods and busy eating performed while running from task to task. He points to the grape and olive harvests in Italy as examples of communities uniting to celebrate sustenance. No television, no social media, just conversation and enjoyment. This isnt only socially healthy, but it has a reverberating effect inside of your body.

"The reason that rituals are so important is because mental states are directly translated into the activity of the gut and modulate the behavior of gut microbes. We know that negative emotions affect these functions in a negative way. Being mindful of what we et and in which context we eat is an essential part of healthy eating," says Mayer.

In The Mind-Gut Connection, Mayer writes that unfortunately there's no one-size-fits-all recommendation for specific dietary recommendations. There are too many individual and environmental elements at play. But he does admit that maximizing your gut's microbial diversity is keyincrease your intake of multiple prebiotics in the form of plant fibers, as well as consume fermented foods and probiotics. And, of course, avoid mass-produced and processed foodstuffs with tons, or any really, preservatives. If you can't recognize the name as food neither can your digestive system.


Derek's latest book,Whole Motion: Training Your Brain and Body For Optimal Health, is out now. He is based in Los Angeles. Stay in touch onFacebookandTwitter.

See the article here:
Why You Should 'Rewild' Your Diet to Help Your Microbiome - Big Think

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