martes, 21 de junio de 2011

Myplate guide

Jennifer LaRue Huget
Eat, Drink & Be Healthy Columnist

Nuts and seeds: Inside the government's new MyPlate dietary guidelines

The federal government's new MyPlate guide to healthful eating suggests filling one-quarter of your plate with protein. That can include meat, poultry, fish and seafood. But vegetarians, vegans and those who value a varied diet might want to toss some nuts and seeds into that quadrant.

MyPlate, whose round dinner plate replaces the food pyramid, helps consumers interpret the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, which suggest we choose from a variety of foods, including nuts and seeds, to meet our protein needs. That ensures that we get the optimal mix of nutrients in our diets, as different protein sources bring different combinations of vitamins, minerals, fats and fiber to the table.

Jennifer LaRue Huget

Writes the Eat, Drink & Be Healthy column and Lean & Fit e-newsletter, and blogs for The Checkup.


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Here's where nuts and seeds fit in.

What counts as a nut?

Tree nuts, including almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.

— Peanuts and peanut butter (though purists would say peanuts are actually legumes, the guidelines count them as nuts).

— Seeds (such as pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds). Because their nutrient profiles are so similar, they're considered interchangeable with nuts.

Did you know?

Despite its name, the coconut isn't considered a true nut, and its meat has only about a gram of protein per ounce.

Why eat them?

Cardiovascular health: The unsaturated fats that nuts contain in abundance are good for your cardiovascular system. The Food and Drug Administration in 2003 ruled that nuts could bear a qualified health claim that eating 1.5 ounces a day may reduce risk of heart disease. And the report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which provides the scientific basis for the 2010 guidelines, notes that unsaturated fatty acids such as those in nuts can lower total cholesterol and LDL, or "bad," cholesterol.

That full feeling: Nuts' combination of protein, fiber and fat "keeps you full longer" than many other snack foods, says Maureen Ternus, executive director of the International Tree Nut Council.

Vitamins and minerals: Although most nuts have similar packages of nutrients, Ternus says, "each has its own attributes." For instance, walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, the cardio-friendly fats that are also found in cold-water fish such as salmon, Ternus says, while almonds and hazelnuts are rich in Vitamin E (an antioxidant that may help protect against cell damage and boost immune function). Macadamia nuts have the highest monounsaturated fat content of all nuts, Ternus says, while pistachios and cashews have the lowest overall fat contents. "Choose your favorites and eat a mixture of them," Ternus advises.

How much?

According to the guidelines, a person following a 2,000-calorie diet should aim for about 51 / 2 ounces of protein foods per day. But nuts, because they're so high in calories, are counted differently from other protein sources: Colette Rihane, a nutritionist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, explains that a half-ounce of nuts is an "ounce-equivalent" of protein foods. So if you eat a full ounce, that's two ounce-equivalents, or about a third of the protein you need that day. The guidelines point out that the usual U.S. intake of nuts, seeds and processed soy products is about half an ounce a day.

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lunes, 20 de junio de 2011

antiacidos y fracturas. No todo es calcio y fijadores

Medicamentos contra acidez gástrica: Podrían incrementar el riesgo de fracturas

Una investigación coreana reciente sugiere que el uso de medicamentos populares para la acidez gástrica, como Prilosec, Prevacid y Nexium se relaciona con un aumento en el riesgo de fracturas, lo que refuerza la preocupación de las autoridades sanitarias estadounidenses.

Los científicos que realizaron un metaanálisis de once estudios publicados entre 1997 y 2011 hallaron que los inhibidores de la bomba de protones (IBP), que reducen la producción de ácido estomacal, se relacionaron con un riesgo 29% superior de fracturas. Esto incluyó un riesgo 31% superior de fracturas de cadera y un riesgo 54% superior de fracturas vertebrales.

Otro tipo de medicamentos para la acidez, conocidos como antagonistas del receptor H2 o bloqueadores H2, entre los que se encuentran medicamentos con las marcas Zantac y Pepcid, no se relacionaron de manera significativa con el riesgo de fracturas, según los autores del estudio. Los bloqueadores H2, sin embargo, son menos poderosos que los IBP para suprimir la producción de ácido y bloquean apenas cerca del 70%, frente al 98 por ciento calculado que pueden bloquear los segundos.

Annals of Family Medicine 2011