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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Winter’s Here…Are You Getting Your Vitamin D?

Besides a warm coat, gloves and boots, winter-weight oil for the car, and a clean furnace filter, here’s another possible addition to your winter preparation checklist: consider whether you are getting enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy levels of body calcium and phosphorous, the primary bone minerals. (more...)

Hoodwinking Health Articles

A recent issue of the Grand Forks Herald contained an ad insert that is a classic example of deceptive information about a nutritional supplement for the purpose of making an unscrupulous profit. This insert promoted chromium picolinate as a safe and effective dietary supplement that could perform a number of wondrous things including decrease weight, reduce excess body fat and build muscles. The false statements and misleading uses of scientific information in the article were too numerous to point out here so I will describe only the more blatant ones to show that the truthfulness of even professional looking articles needs to be verified. (more...)

The Meat of the Matter!

Is eating meat good or bad for our bones? This seemingly simple question happens to be the subject of heated debate in scientific circles. At the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, we felt that we should try to settle this important controversy. (more...)

The ABC’s of Good Nutrition

Recently the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services published their most up-to-date Dietary Guidelines for Americans*. They are calling them the ABC’s for good health. "A" stands for Aim for Fitness; "B" for Build a Healthy Base; and "C" for Choose sensibly. (more...)

Creatine Revisited

As fall approaches, athletes world-wide begin training for interscholastic, intercollegiate and professional sports. The upcoming Sydney Summer Olympic Games to be held in October will surely raise the incentive of most athletes to prepare for their sports. They also raise concerns about the use of dietary supplements to boost athletic performance. (more...)

Genetically Modified Foods: Agriculture’s Bright Future or Dark Nightmare?

The automobile was invented around the turn of the century and, a short time later, was involved in the first fatal accident. I wasn't there, but I imagine that immediately following the news of that fatal crash were newspaper editorials and town meetings all denouncing the existence of this "unnatural and dangerous menace" to society. Jump ahead a few years to the invention of the airplane. After the first fatal airplane crash I'm sure the reaction was: "If God wanted man to fly, He would have given him wings". (more...)

Should You Take Nutrient Supplements to Reduce Cancer Risk?

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States. Approximately 130,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed each year. Over 40 percent of that number die of this cancer each year. It has been estimated that three in every four cases of colon and rectal cancers could be prevented with healthier diets. Current research shows that colorectal cancer is linked to diets low in vegetables, fruits and dietary fiber, and high in fat, red meat, processed meat, sugar and alcohol. (more...)

Vitamins and Minerals, Free Radicals and Aging

People seem to be fascinated by aging. What causes it? How do we retard the effects of it? What, in a practical sense, constitutes the 'Fountain of Youth'? It is clear that we can expect to live longer than our grandparents. From a life expectancy of about 48 years in 1900, Americans are now expected to live beyond 75 years in the 21st century. This may be attributed to better protection against our environment, better nutrition and advances in medicine. But, these are largely advances in prevention of premature death. Even in the absence of life-shortening malnourishment, disease or accident, our bodies still age and deteriorate. What causes this? (more...)

Arsenic in Drinking Water – What’s Safe?

A recent Grand Forks Herald article featured a release by an organization called the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) stating that North Dakota water contains too much arsenic. The article also noted, however, that all North Dakota towns are currently in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) interim maximum contaminant level (MCL) for arsenic of 50 parts per billion (ppb) set by the 1976 Safe Drinking Water Act. In 1996, EPA was directed to propose a standard for arsenic in drinking water. This proposal will be released next month. The NRDC wants this proposal to be 3 ppb. (more...)

Science - The Hidden Influence on Popular Nutrition

The last two decades have produced an abundance of nutritional knowledge. New nutrients have been found and new roles have been discovered for well-known nutrients. Recommendations for dietary intakes of fat, carbohydrate, and protein also have been updated. One can hardly pick up a newspaper or magazine that doesn’t contain an article about foods that enhance health, prevent disease, or lead to weight loss. (more...)

Volunteers are Vital for Human Health Research

Over the past year, we heard endless talk about a bridge to the 21st Century, the dawn of a new millennium, a whole new era, etc., etc. It was the culmination of a lifetime assumption that the year 2000 itself would somehow sweep in new ideas, inventions, and programs. For example, we would no longer be eating "real" food. Instead, a special pill would supply us with all of the calories, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals needed for a whole day. (more...)

Osteoporosis from low copper diets?

Nutritional epidemiologists with the Harvard School of Public Health have studied more than 75,000 nurses for 12 years hoping to identify the causes of chronic diseases such as osteoporosis. In a recent article, they report "that data do not support the hypothesis that higher consumption of milk or other food sources of calcium by adult women protects against hip or forearm fractures." Careful reading of the article reveals that the best statistical association indicates the opposite effect: the higher the intake of dairy calcium (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.), the higher the hip fracture risk. They suggest that some other characteristic of the dairy foods may have contributed to the elevated risk. (more...)

Last Modified: 7/30/2009