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NIH To Spend $170 Million On Precision Nutrition Research
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Dietary guidelines for Americans often take a one-size-fits-all approach. Precision nutrition takes a more personalized angle, incorporating an individual's genetics, metabolism, gut microbes, lifestyle, and various biological, environmental, and social factors. Over the next 5 years, the National Institutes of Health will devote $170 million to develop this promising new field of research. Up to 10,000 Americans will participate in studies that aim to customize recommendations on what to eat for optimal health.
Popular Herbs And Spices Are High In Heavy Metals, Tests Show
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A Consumer Reports analysis found that one-third of 126 common herbs and spices contained high enough levels of arsenic, cadmium, and lead to raise health concerns. Major brands like McCormick and Whole Foods were included. Levels varied among brands, but thyme and oregano were consistently high in heavy metals, which can effect brain development and central nervous system functioning if overconsumed. Tests also revealed the herbs and spices lowest in heavy metals: black pepper, white pepper, coriander, curry powder, garlic powder, saffron, and sesame seeds.
Congress Proposes New Food Labels To Identify Healthy And Unhealthy Foods
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To crack down on misleading health claims, US lawmakers have introduced the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2021. The proposed legislation would require standardized front-of-package labeling that tells consumers if a product is healthy or not. The new label may feature star ratings or a system of red, green, and yellow traffic icons. The legislation would also require packages labeled "whole grain" to list the actual percentage of whole grain in the food. The well-intentioned legislation faces an uphill battle before it becomes law.
Alcohol Use Linked To Over 740,000 Cancer Cases Last Year, New Study Says
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At least 4% of the entire world's new cancer cases can be attributed to drinking alcohol, according to a new study. Nearly 47% of those cancers were linked to heavy drinking, or more than six drinks per day. The study did not account for individual environmental, physiological, genetic and social risk factors and researchers admitted that their data may have been impacted by the pandemic.
Organic Meat Contains Significantly Less Drug-Resistant Bacteria, Report Says
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In a new study, researchers analyzed 5 years of federal contamination data from nearly 40,000 samples of chicken, pork, beef, and lamb. Results showed that organic meat is 50% less likely to contain multidrug-resistant bacteria as conventionally grown and produced meat. That may not be surprising given that organic producers are prohibited from using antibiotics. However, the report also revealed that among so-called "split facilities" that process both organic and conventional products, all meat was 30% less likely to be contaminated compared to meat from conventional-only facilities. The new data helps document how drug-resistant bacterial contamination occurs not only at the farm but also in the meat processing supply chain, enabling processors to improve their sanitation standards.