NO MEAT WITH POTATOES?
Question: I’ve heard that you shouldn’t combine foods that contain protein with foods that contain carbohydrates at one meal. Is there any sound basis for such advice?
Answer: None whatsoever. After all, even individual foods are in themselves combinations of protein and carbohydrates, as well as fat.
Question: Blood tests show that my potassium levels are higher than the maximum normal level of 5.5 millimoles per liter. I follow good health habits, including a careful diet. What could be causing that elevation?
Answer: By far the most common reason is simply a faulty testing technique that churns the blood while drawing or analyzing it. This in turn releases potassium from the blood cells. However, the elevation might also be caused by potassium supplements, medications (such as certain diuretics, beta-blockers, or ACE inhibitors), kidney failure, insufficient secretion of adrenal hor-mones, or any one of several uncommon inherited diseases.
If repeated blood tests confirm that your potassium level is indeed above normal, you should be evaluated to find out what’s wrong. Any further rise can be dangerous.
Question: Does freezing destroy bacteria in food?
Answer: No. Although growth stops and the total bacterial count may decline during freezing, plenty of microbes will survive. If frozen foods aren’t safe before freezing, they won’t be safe after thawing. Heat is the surest way to kill bacteria. The temperature and cooking time depend on the food.
Question: You’ve reported that frozen vegetables are often more nutritious than the fresh ones sold in supermarkets. And you said not to thaw them before cooking, so they’ll retain nutrients. But how can I be sure frozen vegetables haven’t thawed and refrozen at some point before I buy them?
Answer: Feel the bag to make sure the vegetables aren’t clumped together. If the bag is clear, check to see that there’s no sign of ice crystallization inside. Boxed vegetables, of course, are forced into clumps, so it’s harder to tell if they’ve thawed and refrozen. All you can do is avoid boxes with lots of ice crystals on them.
HONEY VS. SUGAR
Question: Is honey nutritionally superior to plain table sugar?
Answer: Not at all. In fact, honey and table sugar are nearly indistinguishable chemically; once digested, they’re identical. Neither sweetener has any nutritional value other than calories. ] Teaspoon for teaspoon, however table sugar actually contains fewer calories than honey (16 vs. 22). That’s because the dry crystals take up more space than the dissolved sugars of honey.
Question: What diet should a person with lactose intolerance follow?
Answer: Without the enzyme lactase, the body is unable to break down milk sugar (lactose) into simple sugars that can be absorbed. People deficient in this enzyme can’t completely digest milk and milk products, especially cheese and ice cream. Small amounts of those foods usually cause no problem, but too I much can result in cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence.
If you’re highly intolerant to lactose, you can take lactase cap- 1 sules or tablets (Dairy Ease, LactAid, Lactrase) before you ingest I milk products. LactAid is also available as a liquid concentrate I that you add to regular milk. And lactose-reduced milk (also I sold under the brand name LactAid) is available in food stores. !
Question: Vive years ago I began taking one tablet of Vivarin each morning as a substitute for coffee. Occasionally I take another in the afternoon for a quick boost. Is this drug as safe as coffee, as the label claims?
Answer: Yes—if you’re not overly sensitive to caffeine. A Vivarin tablet contains 200 milligrams of caffeine, about the same as two cups of brewed coffee. In some people, though, even a single cup of brewed coffee can cause side effects such as nervousness, irritability, and rapid heartbeat.
PROCESSED VS. NATURAL SODIUM
Question: In your article on nondrug therapies for hypertension, you suggest that people with high blood pressure avoid salty foods. You listed some foods that are surprisingly high in sodium—including celery. Doesn’t the sodium in a natural food have less effect on blood pressure than the sodium found in processed foods?
Answer: Sodium has the same effect on blood pressure, whether it’s consumed as table salt, in processed foods, or as it occurs naturally in foods. Some researchers have suggested that there might be a difference, but the weight of the evidence suggests otherwise. If you’re monitoring your sodium intake, add up sodium from all sources. Celery does have more sodium than most vegetables (about 35 milligrams per stalk), but that’s still not a lot.
RAW FISH: ANGLING FOR TROUBLE
Question: How great a risk is there, if any, in eating sushi and sashimi?
Answer: Raw fish may be contaminated with potentially harmful bacteria or with parasites, which can cause even more serious problems. There’s a small risk that raw fish dishes may contain parasitic worms, which can cause abdominal pain, impaired absorption of nutrients, and anemia. Freezing the fish at minus 10° F for 72 hours destroys parasites, but home freezers may not sustain such a low temperature. For that reason, it’s best not to prepare raw fish yourself. You can cut your risk by avoiding fish most likely to harbor parasites: carp, salmon, trout, cod, and Pacific rockfish.
Generally, it’s safer to eat raw fish dishes at a restaurant. Well-run sushi bars freeze fish before preparation to kill the parasites. But there’s no way to guarantee that the restaurant— or its supplier—will have properly frozen and handled the fish.
Health handbook introducing you to read the article: DIABETES AND BLOOD SUGAR
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