DAIRY MILK VERSUS NUT MILK (SOY, ALMOND and OTHERS): WHAT’S THE REAL SCOOP?

Nut milks are made from ground nuts and water. They’re lower in calories than even nonfat cow’s milk, but have the same amount of fat (about 2 grams per cup) as 1 percent milk. Most of the fat in nut milk is the healthier monounsaturated kind, though, while the fat in cow’s milk is mostly saturated fat. And you’ll get plenty of calcium and vitamin D from most nut milks because they are usually fortified.

Almond milk and other nut milks do have some nutritional shortfalls. For example, a cup of 1 percent fat cow’s milk contains 8 grams of protein, but hazelnut milk has only 2 grams, and cashew and almond milk might contain 1 gram or less. By comparison, low-fat plain soy milk, contains 4 to 6 grams of protein. Another potential downside is added sugar. Certain sweetened cashew and almond milks contain almost 2 teaspoons of added sweeteners per cup. Thus unsweetened nut milks are a healthier choice.

Coconut milk is slightly different. Not to be confused with the thicker, fattier stuff in cans, coconut milk is watered down to match cow’s milk consistency and fat content. It is usually fortified with calcium and vitamin D, but it has zero protein and 4 to 5 grams of mostly saturated fat, so it’s best avoided.

The biggest difference between nut-based milk and dairy milk is that the former doesn’t naturally contain the high amount of calcium found in dairy milk. So if you’re after calcium, look for brands fortified with calcium. The other big difference is the protein content: about 8 grams per one-cup serving of dairy milk vs. less in the nut varieties, except, as noted, soy milk. Nut milk might contain some vitamins and other nutrients not found in regular milk, such as fiber and vitamin E.

Getting enough vitamin D from your diet can be a challenge if you’re not much of a milk drinker or don’t spend much time in the sun. That’s because dairy milk, which is usually fortified with the bone-friendly nutrient, is one of the few foods that contain D in abundant amounts. But the nut milks may be a good option for getting vitamin D, especially now, since many milk alternatives are fortified with vitamin D, containing almost as much as cow’s milk. And since the Food and Drug Administration has recently increased the amount of vitamin D that can be added to both dairy milk and milk alternatives, you can now get up to 205 international units (IU) of D in an 8-ounce glass of your favorite dairy substitute. That’s almost twice as much as a milk drink could contain before the rule change. The recommended target is 600 IU per day for adults up to age 70 and 800 IU per day after that.

Another problem avoided by nut milks is that of lactose intolerance, often a cause of abdominal cramping and diarrhea. In contrast to dairy milk, none of these products contains lactose and thus anyone with this disorder may ingest them at will, including in cooking, etc.

CONCLUSION

The nut milks in general offer an excellent alternative to cow’s milk. But to get all the benefits, you must check the labels. Make sure you are getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D. Avoid added sugar. Also check the protein content; if in doubt, soy milk is the best option.

The rest is up to your taste!

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LOSE OBAMACARE AND WE ALL SUFFER

Although Trump’s food policy agenda is unclear, his anti-regularity, anti-science leanings in general should be a major cause of concern to all of us.

If the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is repealed, not only could 22 million Americans face the devastating prospect of losing their health insurance, but all of us would lose several other health benefits as well.

First we would lose the opportunity to see how many calories are in thousands of foods, for, starting May 1st, 2017, we could lose the ACA rule that requires the listing of calories on menu boards of chain restaurants, movie theaters, supermarkets, delis, and convenience stores. The new administration could scrap the whole effort—as some in the food industry have urged. Moreover, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has told companies to disclose added sugars on Nutrition Facts labels by 2018. Since the new administration will likely sack the current physician FDA leader (Robert Califf, MD) in favor of a politically motivated layman, this regulation also could well be eliminated or delayed for years.

Second, the Obama administration proposed voluntary targets for cutting sodium (salt) in foods, which, as I have explained, would save tens of thousands of lives every year (http://www.mortontavel.com/2014/10/06/). Again, the present administration could scrap the whole effort—as some in the food industry have urged.

With regard to our children, two members of the Trump campaign’s agriculture advisory committee have worked to roll back the progress we’ve made in improving school lunches and removing junk foods from school vending machines. Can anyone doubt the potential damage of this measure?

The new administration may be inclined to grant the food industry’s request to continue to use heart-damaging trans fat (http://www.mortontavel.com/2014/) in many processed foods.

What about safe food protections? Who knows what to expect from a president whose campaign accused the “food police”—the FDA—of inspection “overkill.”

All these threats, as noted above, serve as a potential detriment—if not an outright danger—to the health of the general population. We should all follow these issues closely and become engaged, whenever possible, in the political process itself.

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EDUCATION SECRETARY NOMINEE LINKED TO BLATANT QUACKERY

The nomination of Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education has led several major press outlets to investigate Neurocore Brain Performance Centers, a clinic chain in which she and her husband are the principal investors. Neurocore’s Web site states that its primary approach—which it calls neurofeedback, EEG biofeedback, and/or quantitative EEG (qEEG)—is effective against attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, autism, depression, memory disorders, migraines, sleep disorders, and stress. The main treatment consists of hooking up patients to a device that records their brain wave patterns, showing movies to to them, and interrupting them when they become distracted. Neurocore asserts that this process “retrains” brains. In a video interview, Neurocore’s CEO asserted—without providing evidence—that (a) medication can be helpful but is only a short-term fix that masks symptoms, (b) cognitive behavioral therapy (AKA psychotherapy) can help in some cases but just gives compensating behaviors, and (c) unlike these, Neurocore’s neurofeedback deals with the “root causes” of these disorders. In interviews, former employees expressed skepticism. Child psychiatrists and psychologists with expertise in autism and ADHD debunked Neurocore’s claims, and questioned its advertising and methods (New York Times, Jan 30, 2017). Another press report noted that Michigan’s Department of Insurance and Financial Services recently denied a claim for Neurocore’s services for treating migraine. DeVos, who is a billionaire, is also the daughter of one of Amway’s founders. None of these “brain claims” noted above possess any biologic validity, nor have they appeared in any acceptable scientific peer review publications—the usual destination for valid scientific advances.

Betsy DeVos is not just unqualified, she’s dangerous! Does anyone in his/her right mind believe such a person should occupy a cabinet position?

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TERROR THREATS: SOME SIMPLE MATH

       

Why are you standing here on this street corner?

Wildly waving your hands and shouting?

I’m keeping away the elephants”

But there aren’t any elephants here.

You bet: that’s because I’m here.”

Traditional Tale

In the wake of Trump’s recent executive order to shut down travelers from 7 predominately Muslim countries, one is reminded of the old adage conveyed above.

First, the actual number of terrorist deaths caused by immigrants in past years from these 7 banned countries is ZERO! Although we obviously can’t lower that number to below zero, even if there were a minuscule chance that we could be subjected to acts of terror from incoming travelers from one of these countries, how would that compare with a variety of threats already facing our population? Excluding the multiple deaths in NYC on 9/11/2001, all terrorism incidents inside the United States between 2001 and 2014 averaged 14 per year, mostly from home-grown gunmen.

Our population’s chance of dying as a result of firearm violence amounts to approximately 33,000 yearly, which is over 2,000 times greater than each individual’s chance of dying as a result of domestic terrorism. The chance of dying from an automobile accident is similar to this figure, approximately 33,000 yearly (1.13 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled), and this renders such travel statistically riskier per unit mile than commercial air travel, which carries a mortality rate that is approximately 60 times lower than that resulting from motor vehicles.

So the risk presented by travelers from the seven countries referred to above is even less than the minimal risk presented to an occupant in the commercial flight going to or from any of these countries!

Compare this with the number of American deaths caused by travelers from Saudi Arabia, which exceeded 3,000 in a single year – 2001. Yet immigration from Saudi Arabia is not restricted by the Trump ban. Could this major discrepancy be explained by the fact that Saudi Arabia is a country in which Trump has extensive business investments? Or does the ban result from Trump’s ignorance of basic math itself? Or could it be simply explained by the fact that Trump is in bed with the NRA?

Take your choice!


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