Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Facts and Old Wives Tales

As I cram every corner of my already overstuffed brain with more information about nutrition and all of it's glorious aspects, I am once again blow away by how amazingly simple this all is. Um, that might need more explanation or else everyone who reads this is going to think this tiny little degree I have been working so hard to get for the past 3.5 years is really just a cake walk (which it is not!).

As I read about all of these horrible diseases which humans are prone to (such as renal diseases, cancer, GI diseases) it seems that at the beginning of each chapter is states that, "risk factors include: obesity, low-fiber intake, diet low in antioxidants...etc" OR to treat every single disease, the answer is good nutrition and staying active! WAIT A SEC? Eating well and exercising is good for me? Has anyone informed the public about this amazing phenomenon?

Surprise surprise! Ok, so obviously there are some diseases that nutrition have little help with because you're doomed no matter what, but in the big scheme of things, if we just ate more fruits and veggies, drank more water and ate some All-Bran, we'd be a whole lot better off. Just think; 50% of cancers are man-made through our chosen lifestyles and 30% alone are caused by smoking. That's a pretty huge number. Did you also know that vegetarianism and low-fat diets decrease your fertility? Not as healthy as you think! The one class which really surprised me this semester was when we were talking about caffeine. People are so uncertain about caffeine and whether it's good for them or not. One factoid that shocked me was that drinking 500mg or more of caffeine a day (so about 3-4 cups of coffee) will reduce your chances of becoming pregnant by 50%. Our prof pointed out that drinking large amounts of coffee is not an effective method of birth control, so don't none of you get any ideas! They've also found no reasons for women not to drink coffee while pregnant or while breastfeeding, despite what old rumours say about it's ill effects on pregnancy. We also learned that even though most of the population believes it not to be true, your daily coffee intake does in fact go towards your daily fluid intake. Everyone in the class was skeptical I think when this conversation started up because we all know coffee as being a diuretic (makes you pee) which in turn should be a factor in dehydration. But no! Your body will get used to it's effects and cause it to not be a diuretic after some time and merely use it as just liquid. Cool eh?

I think I just created an ad for Starbucks without even realizing it. "Caffeine reduces your chance of pregnancy! But if you do get knocked up, keep drinking anyway! No harm done!"

On my last note, I just wanted to toss one more statistic your way. 10% of women drink alcohol during pregnancy and 1 in 30 have 5 or more drinks on one occasion monthly. Wow. Tsk Tsk.

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