Friday, September 5, 2008

Sprinkle This Seasoning on Food. Get Fat?

Watch how you season your food. People who use monosodium glutamate, or MSG, as a flavor enhancer in their food are more likely than people who don't use it to be overweight or obese--even though they have the same amount of physical activity and total calorie intake, according to a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health study published this month in the journal Obesity.

Researchers at UNC and in China studied more than 750 Chinese men and women, between the ages of 40 and 59, in three rural villages in north and south China. The majority of study participants prepared their meals at home without commercially processed foods. About 82 percent of the participants used MSG in their food. Those users were divided into three groups, based on the amount of MSG they used. The third who used the most MSG were nearly three times more likely to be overweight than non-users.

"Animal studies have indicated for years that MSG might be associated with weight gain," said Ka He, M.D., assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. "Ours is the first study to show a link between MSG use and weight in humans." Because MSG is used as a flavor enhancer in many processed foods, studying its potential effect on humans has been difficult. He and his colleagues chose study participants living in rural Chinese villages because they used very little commercially processed food, but many regularly used MSG in food preparation. "We found that prevalence of overweight was significantly higher in MSG users than in non-users," He said. "We saw this risk even when we controlled for physical activity, total calorie intake and other possible explanations for the difference in body mass. The positive associations between MSG intake and overweight were consistent with data from animal studies."

As the percentage of overweight and obese people around the world continues to increase, He said, finding clues to the cause could be very important. "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other health organizations around the world have concluded that MSG is safe," He said, "but the question remains--is it healthy?"
source: Netscape.com

Here are some best-seller cookbooks that can help you prepare healthy meals for your heart:


No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Cookbook : Hundreds of Favorite Recipes Created to Combat Congestive Heart Failure and Dangerous Hypertension

Donald Gazzaniga, diagnosed with congestive heart failure, was headed for a heart transplant - the only effective medical treatment. Urged by his doctor to keep his sodium intake "under 1,500-2000 mg. a day," Don headed for the kitchen and went to work. Aware that cutting out table salt is the barest beginning of a true low-sodium diet, Don devised recipes for delicious low-sodium dishes that added up to less than 500 mg. daily, 70% lower than those in other low-sodium cookbooks. The result? Don's name has been removed from the transplant list and his doctors believe that his diet played a significant role.

The No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Cookbook contains:
* Hundreds of good tasting, easy-to-make recipes
* An introduction by Dr. Sandra Barbour of the Kaiser Permanente Foundation
* Advice on finding low-sodium prepared foods, eating in restaurants, etc.
* Accurate sodium content of every ingredient and of the total servings
* A twenty-eight-day low-sodium menu planner by Dr. Jeannie Gazzaniga, Ph.D., R.D.



No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium International Cookbook

When a serious heart problem caused Don Gazzaniga to give up his career in communications, he was warned to keep to a diet with very little salt or other sodium. Undaunted, he discovered a way to continue enjoying the meals he loved and still keep his sodium level far below what most cardiologists feel they can expect from their patients.

The idea has led to three published books found on the kitchen shelves of thousands of grateful families dealing with congestive heart failure. First came a large general cookbook. It was followed by a baking book, and then a book of recipes for light meals and snacks. What could be next?

Before Don’s illness, he and his wife, Maureen, traveled a lot. Don’s job took him all over the globe. And wherever they went, they sought out that country’s traditional dishes. When the light-meals book was finished, Don was looking for yet another low- sodium cookbook idea. He and Maureen pulled out their collection of recipes, did their magic of making them very low on sodium, and voilĂ ! A delicious and healthy treat for the entire family.



The No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Baking Book

Readers of that first book have kept in touch with Don via his Web site, and have written him letters asking for more. What they most often ask for is a book with more bread recipes, more recipes for cakes and cookies and muffins and tea breads, more of all those great baked things—in short, for the book you now hold in your hands. Don teamed up with his daughter, professional nutritionist Dr. Jeannie Gazzaniga Moloo, to fill The No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Baking Book with recipes that are as healthy and delicious as possible. As in the previous book, they tell you just how much sodium is in each ingredient. They provide satisfactory substitutes for flavorings that patients with congestive heart failure and high blood pressure shouldn’t have. All easy to make and delicious to eat. Go for it!