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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

WHAT'S GOOD AND BAD FOR YOU?

Earlier this week I mentioned that it is possible the same razor blade can be used forever.  As I dropped my two-year old Schick Quattro, breaking it, I bought a new one, and, yes, the shave was much better than the older one I had.  Now, I'll see how long this one lasts.  But what about other products?

1.  Does the $30 Power Balance hologram-silicone wrist band and pendant give you a competitive edge?  No, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.  Then why do so many high profile athletes swear by them?  Well, for one, they are paid to say so.  Like the placebo effect and Western Electric study, it can be possible that actual performance can be improved if your mind can be fooled or influenced.  Power Balance products fall in this category of useless items people buy for the most insane of reasons and sincerely can believe in them.

2.  Some other pills and practices worthy of note:

    a.  Garlic depends on which study you believe.  It appears that it doesn't help lower cholesterol or help bad breath (I could have told them that).  But it might lower blood pressure, prevent cancer and reduce heart diseases, and lengthen cell life.  It must ward off vampires, because I've never seen one yet.  Keep eating this bulb, but don't be too disappointed someday if a serious medical study minimizes the effect.

    b.  DHA and EPA, found in fish oils, are also touted to be effective against almost everything, especially in the early development of the brain and eyes.  Studies show they are not a factor in preventing or treating diabetes, but there could be something to some positive effects during early growth.  Certainly, if you reduced fatty red meat and substituted with seafood in your diet, that can only be good, for recent evidence shows that mercury poisoning from sashimi might not be as bad as originally thought.  [By the way, did you read that one bluefin tuna in Japan was recently sold for $396,000 ($525/pound)?  There it is on the right.]



     c.  Echinacea, a kind of daisy (left), is ineffective against colds.  

     d.  Trans fats, which increase bad cholesterol and decrease the good ones in your blood, are bad, period.  Remember Crisco?  Margarine?  In short, if you partially hydrogenize liquid fat, it will turn solid, and have a longer shelf life. So, which is better for your heart:  butter or margarine?  Like most things in life, it depends, but this one is simple:  liquid margarines are okay and solid ones are not.  Similarly, spreadable butters are better than the ones most of you use.  So the correct answer is liquid margarine. But you need to be careful, as Benecol, made from soybean oil, causes diarrhea and has been observed to lower beta carotene levels. On the other hand, olive oil might be the answer.  But the taste?  Well, I live to eat, so I do enhance my meals with some butter.

e.  Monosodium Glutamate (MSG, Ajinomoto), has a particularly bad rap in the USA.  Officially, it is "generally recognized as safe."  No medical studies have shown a particularly deleterious effect on your body, except, there was one indicating that obese people tended to use more of this additive.  Simply, MSG makes your food taste better and you therefore eat more.  Glutamate affects the brain.  What about the "Chinese restaurant syndrome?"  That's probably true.  Some do get that back of neck sensation, etc.  The matter of a type of personal allergy might also come into play, for others, apparently, suffer from migraine headaches.  More will no doubt be reported in the future, but, for now, if you like it in moderation, sure, why not?  I have only so many meals left to eat and I don't skimp on additives as necessary.

There is more in Chapter 3 of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity, but click on my blog of 2July2009, for it also goes into sodium, eggs, tofu, wine, green tea, etc.


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The Dow Jones Industrials skipped up 32 to 11,723, while world markets were mixed.  Gold dropped $4/toz to $1378 and oil rebounded, the NYMEX now above $90/barrel, and the London Brent Spot just under $96/barrel.

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I then had a bento and Sapporo beer lunch at Magic Islands:























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