Thursday, June 26, 2008

The pulse: nutrition in the news

A number of newsworthy nutrition niblets have hit the media in the past few weeks. Here's a quick run-through of research studies and the latest and greatest nutrition info.

First, foremost and clearly my favorite...a new study shows that red wine may help protect against the proliferation of those pesky things called fat cells. Granted this is just one singular study, but bring on the bottle! (You know me and my affinity for a glass of vino). German researches found that reservatol, an antioxidant compound in red wine, may gaurd against the development of fat cells and may decrease the amount of fat-storage in cells in addition to other anti-obesity benefits. This study adds to the long list of red wine's praised health benefits--reduction of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes risk, lowering 'bad' LDL cholesterol, raising 'good' HDL cholesterol...the list goes on. Unfortunately, the news doesn't give license to go out and booze it up bottle after bottle, sorry to crush your unbridled excitement. Aim for just 1 to 2 glasses of wine per day to reap the health benefits. Take smaller, less frequent sips however if you're looking to curb excess calories and drop a few lbs or if you have certain medical conditions.

Another wine-related study from the University of California-San Diego finds that your fave glass of Cab-Sav or Pinot Grigio may also help stave off non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Not such terrible news for all you wine lovers out there.

Next up on the big surprise, expanding waistlines are seriously impacting the workplace. Recent CDC stats find that over two-thirds of Americans are obese or overweight and that obesity is sucking employers dry--costing them $45 billion annually in health insurance coverage and other expenses. Weight aside, obesity skyrockets the risk of chronic disease and can impair work productivity and attendance. Tack on therapies, medications, and bariatric surgery to tackle obesity and you're looking at significantly heightened health care costs. Many companies are working with their employees to address weight and health concerns, stocking kitchens with healthful snacks, partnering with local gyms to offer discounted memberships and more. What do you all it the employer's responsibility to cover costs? How can companies create healthier workplaces to encourage good eating habits and lifestyle changes?

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