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Is Chewing Gum Bad for You? (One Ingredient Is Linked to Gut Destruction)

Disturbing side effects of chewing gum.  Alternative bad breathe ideas and reasons why you should rethink putting gum in your mouth.
Gut Destruction

Chewing gum manufacturers have been turning to an ingredient called titanium dioxide for years. Now used in nanoparticle form, this extremely tiny metal compound is posing some serious emerging health threats. This is probably the scariest reason to avoid gum.

Generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration, this compound is often used in nanoparticle form to create a bright white pigmentation in paints, plastics … and chewing gum. (2) It’s also found in tons of other foods, like candies and powdered white sugar (donuts!) and even bread. Although it’s allowed on store shelves and considered safe, scientists are starting to paint a different picture.

In fact, a 2017 study published in the journal NanoImpact shows that nano-titanium oxide ingredients like titanium dioxide can severely impact gut health. Researchers exposed small intestinal cells to a meal’s worth of nanoparticles over four hours (acute exposure) or three meal’s worth over five days (chronic exposure). What they found is a bit shocking.

Chronic exposure to titanium dioxide nanoparticles in the diet:

Weakened the intestinal barrier
Slowed down metabolism
Triggered inflammation
Weakened the gut’s defense against pathogens

Blocked nutrient absorption of key nutrients like iron, zinc and fatty acids
The nanoparticles actually blunted the effectiveness of the small intestines’ microvilli. Microvilli are tiny projections that jut off of small intestinal cells and work to absorb nutrients our bodies need to survive. (3)

People also face this type of titanium dioxide exposure through toothpaste, and it’s even sometimes used to created a smoother texture in chocolates and to create a brighter appearance in skim milk.

In 2012, Arizona State University found that titanium dioxide nanoparticles turned up in five percent of products tested, including Twinkies and mayonnaise samples. Under public pressure, Dunkin Donuts stopped using nano-titanium dioxide in its donuts’ powdered sugar in 2015.

“To avoid foods rich in titanium oxide nanoparticles you should avoid processed foods, and especially candy. That is where you see a lot of nanoparticles,” — Gretchen Mahler, PhD, study co-author and assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Binghamton University, State University of New York. (4)

Beyond that, many chewing gum products contain emulsifiers to retain flavor and keep gum from sticking to your teeth. (5) The trouble is, many emulsifiers act almost like detergent in your digestive tract, throwing off the natural balance of your gut flora. In fact, research in lab animals suggests certain emulsifiers used as food additives could contribute to colon cancer development.

Is Chewing Gum Bad? More Reasons to Stop

Migraines

For children and adolescents dealing with vicious migraines and tension headaches, the natural solution could be right under their noses: Stop chewing gum. A small study published in Pediatric Neurology discovered that nixing gum led to significant improvements in 26 out of 30 adolescents in the study. Amazingly, 19 of them experienced complete headache resolution. No pills, no treatments — they just stopped chewing gum. (6)

If you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of a migraine naturally, your gum habit is a great place to start. In tweens and teens, common proven headache triggers include stress, lack of sleep, hot weather, video games, noise, sunlight, smoking, skipping meals and menstruation. Now we can add gum to the list. Researchers aren’t sure if it’s the artificial sweeteners or a TMJ issue related to gum and headaches, but the good news is we can stop many headaches with this simple step. (7)

Sinister Sweeteners

You’d expect fake sweeteners like aspartame in diet soda, but chewing gum? Come on! Different chewing gum companies turn to ingredients like aspartame, sorbitol, high-fructose corn syrup, acesulfame K, sucrolose and xylitol. Some actually use multiple fake sweeteners in a single gum product.

These ingredients are linked to serious health issues like tooth decay, liver fat buildup, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, leukemia, lymphoma, kidney tumors and more. Acesulfame potassium, also known as acesulfame K, is among the most common artificial sweeteners detected in breast milk. That’s troubling, since the ingredient is also linked to thyroid dysfunction. Sucralose harms the gut, throwing off healthy levels of enzymes and disrupting the microbiome. (8)

While xylitol and sorbitol may seem more natural, these processed sugar alcohols aren’t absorbed well by the body and cause an allergic reaction for those who have a sensitivity to it. And then there are the digestive sugar alcohol and xylitol side effects, including bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea. And get this: Its laxative effect is so pronounced that it’s actually part of the chemical makeup for many over-the-counter laxatives.

Special note to dog owners: Xylitol and other sugar alcohol-based sweeteners are life-threatening toxins to dogs. Be mindful of breath mints, candies, sugar-free gum, frozen desserts and other foods when your pets are around. (9)

Better Bad-Breath Fighters & Gum Alternatives

Bad breath is a good excuse to reach for gum, but as you can see, the side effects are bad news, especially for your gut. Luckily, there are better ways to cope. After ruling out potential underlying issues for bad breath, you can turn to these things to naturally improve your breath:

Eat parsley.
Drink enough water, especially tap into the benefits of lemon water.
Learn how to safely tap into peppermint oil benefits.(Not recommended for young children.)
Learn about oil pulling with coconut oil.
Avoid grains and added sugars.
Final Thoughts on ‘Is Chewing Gum Bad for You?’
American played a huge role in spreading the popularity of chewing gum all around the world.
However, today’s ingredients include fake dyes and flavors. But perhaps most concerning is nanoparticle-sized titanium dioxide, an ingredient used in everything from gum, candy and bread to paint and plastics.
Nano-titanium dioxide helps create a vibrant white color, but scientists now show that it can impact small intestinal cells in a way that blocks absorption of key nutrients, slows the metabolism, increases inflammation and weakens the gut’s ability to protect against dangerous pathogens.
Chewing gum is also linked to migraines and tension headaches in children and adolescents.
There are still some chewing gum companies that rely on old-fashioned, real-food ingredients, but they are sometimes harder to come by.

Source: www.draxe.com

Hot mess: The grossest health concerns of summer

 

(CNN)You are not the only one who thrives in the summer and loves its warm, long days. Bacteria and other microbes that cause food poisoning, diarrhea and just general grossness also flourish, threatening to make it a season to be sick.

“Foodborne pathogens follow an annual cycle, and we tend to see peaks of them, especially bacteria, in the summer, at picnics, potlucks and all the outdoor events,” said Melinda Wilkins, director of the online science master’s program in food safety at Michigan State University.
Your gut is not the only part of your body at risk of assault by bacteria such as E. coli in summer months. Bugs lurk in air conditioning filters, especially when it is hot and humid, ready to cause trouble for those with breathing problems. And the skin that protects you from infections can become a portal for them after a bad, blistering sunburn.
Of course, even if some dangers await you at the picnic, pool or beach, it is worth it to get out and enjoy yourself. You can most likely handle what comes your way.

Don’t pee (or poop) in the pool

The burn you feel in your eyes after a dip in the swimming pool is not because of chlorine. It is because pee, poop and sweat from fellow swimmers (and maybe you) react with chlorine and form chloramine compounds,and this combination is what really stings your peepers. Aside from the gross factor, the formation of these compounds means there is less chlorine left in the water to kill bacteria, such as E. coli. Chloramines can also irritate the airways, and when they build up in the air, such as at indoor pools, they can trigger asthma attacks.
“We recommend that you not pee or poop in the water, and shower before you go in,” said Michele Hlavsa, chief of the Health Swimming Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A 2010 CDC report found that one out of 10 public pools don’t have proper chlorine levels. To make sure you’re not about to take a dip in a bacteria-laden pool, “you can use pool test strips at a pool supply or big box store” to check the chlorine level, Hlavsa said. (The CDC recommends chlorine levels in pools between 1 and 3 parts per million and pH of 7.2 to 7.8.)
Even at the right levels, chlorine does not wipe out everything. A new CDC report found that a parasite called cryptosporidium, which can cause diarrhea and lives up to 10 days in a chlorinated pool, was associated with 37 (54%) of the 69 outbreaks of illness at pools and water parks. “To protect yourself, it’s about not swallowing the water you swim in, and to protect others don’t swim if you have diarrhea,” Hlavsa said.

Lurking in seawater

A day at the beach may leave you with more memories than you imagined if you go home with vibriosis. The infection is caused by vibrio bacteria, which live in some coastal waters and flourish in the warm months between May and October, when the majority of cases occur.
According to the CDC, there are about 80,000 cases each year, and about 100 of them are fatal.
An estimated 52,000 of those cases result from eating contaminated food, such as raw oysters, that have been infected in the water they once lived in. Symptoms usually begin within 24 hours of consumption. They include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. The illness lasts about three days.
The bacteria can also cause skin rashes that lead to infection when contaminated water gets into an open wound or even a scratch.
The best way to prevent this infection is to thoroughly cook shellfish and clean hands well after touching raw or undercooked shellfish. Cuts or scrapes should be cleaned well with soap after contact with infected water. When possible, cover the wound with a waterproof bandage before getting it wet.

Beware the picnic burgers

The thought of potato salad sweltering in the heat at the summer picnic may make the burgers on the grill sound pretty appetizing, but think again. “Actually, potato salad has kind of a bad rap, but it is not really a particularly high-risk food,” said Wilkins, of Michigan State University. “But people tend to bring frozen (burger) patties and throw them on the grill before they are fully thawed, (and) ground meat that is not thoroughly cooked is one of the riskiest items” because it can have E. coli, she said.
Ground beef and pork should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, ground chicken and turkey to 165 degrees. And yes, that means using a meat thermometer to test the temperature in the middle of the burger, Wilkins said.
Of course, bacteria can still lurk in a big bowl of gooey potato or pasta salad, but not for the reasons you may think. Ingredients such as potatoes, pasta and eggs, not the mayonnaise, are prone to contamination. To play it safe, keep containers of anything you’re supposed to eat cold, such as potato salad, in big bowls or coolers full of ice, Wilkins said.

Bacteria scream for ice cream (machines)

An issue that can plague many an inadequately cleaned soft-serve ice cream dispenser is bacteria. “Listeria (bacteria) is a really sneaky pathogen in that it likes to live in cooler temperatures and populate machinery,” Wilkins said. Listeria infections can cause fever and muscle aches, and they are especially dangerous for pregnant women, who may miscarry as a result.
On the bright side, the Blue Bell ice cream scare has made people more aware of listeria’s potential to lurk in frozen desserts, Wilkins said. It is a good idea to ask the person working at the yogurt shop or ice cream truck when the machines were last cleaned. “It brings the issue to the awareness of the workers and management to double check their procedures,” Wilkins said.

Burn, baby, burn

Sunburns may seem like a sweet souvenir from a day at the beach, but they should really be thought of as potentially harmful wounds. In the most severe cases, people can develop blisters and need to be treated like burn victims, said Dr. Cameron K. Rokhsar, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “The skin sloughs off, (and) if there’s any kind of raw wound, it can predispose you to an infection” and should be treated with a prescription antibiotic ointment, he said.
Worse yet, even just a few serious sunburns may greatly increase your risk of developing skin cancer. A 2014 study found that white women who had five or more blistering sunburns when they were teens were 68% more likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Brush with jellyfish

Despite that old episode of “Friends” where Joey peed on Monica’s jellyfish sting, urine is not the antidote to the venom of this goopy animal, which is common off beaches across the United States and thrives in warm water. Rinsing the wound with saltwater is one of the most recommended ways to relieve the stinging, redness and swelling that follow a brush with a jellyfish tentacle.
A more surprising but also effective treatment is vinegar, said Rokhsar, who knows firsthand that it can make the pain go away almost instantaneously. “It happened to me. It hurts a lot, and I actually went to the lifeguard station, and they had vinegar spray,” he said.
Also beware of the not-so-cute baby jellyfish called sea lice. Unlike the adults’ sting, theirs doesn’t hurt, so you don’t have to worry about rinsing the wound with saltwater or vinegar. Save the vinegar for rinsing your swimsuit before you wash it. Some believe the larvae can become trapped in the fabric.
You will usually experience an itchy, red rash and small blisters within 24 hours. The rash is sometimes accompanied with fever, chills, headaches and nausea. The symptoms can last as long as two weeks and are not contagious.
The sea lice, which are actually microscopic larvae of marine life such as jellyfish or sea anemones, are most often found in summer waters in Florida and the Caribbean.

Grossness flourishes in air conditioning filters

When air conditioners are working around the clock in hot summer months, dust, mold and pollution from outdoor air (in the case of central AC) or indoor air (in the case of a window unit) tend to build up on the filter of AC units. Not only does this slash the air conditioner’s efficiency, it can also carry health risks, said Abby Brokaw, director of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest Health House program.
“People who are already having problems with breathing or lung health — so people with allergies or respiratory disease — are going to be affected” if the filter is not properly cleaned, removing dust, mold, dander and other detritus, Brokaw said.
To keep your filter in tiptop shape, clean or replace it every three months, Brokaw advised. But take precaution when you do. Mold and bacteria love to grow on filters, especially in the summer humidity.
“You don’t want to breathe in mold spores and bacteria. We would recommend that you wear gloves and a mask,” Brokaw said, referring to surgical masks sold in drugstores.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/26/health/gross-summer-health/index.html