Tag Archives: diet

Brain health supplements offer mostly hype, false hope

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

brainHealthSupplements

Photo: Kenny Stoltz via Flickr

I don’t know about you, but every time I see a commercial for one particular supplement marketed to improve brain health, I cringe. The ad is misleading and can lead people to think that consuming essentially an unregulated blend of herbs and spices can help stave off cognitive decline or even prevent Alzheimer’s. If only it were true.

The ads are so misleading that the Federal Trade Commission and state of New York actually took the manufacturer to court in 2017 to get the company to stop airing them. (A judge later dismissed charges against the company’s former president, but let the rest of the suit go forward). Continue reading

Are nutrition studies doomed, needing an overhaul — or doing just fine?

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: Marco Verch via Flickr

Nutrition studies can be as frustrating to cover as they can be fascinating. That’s because of the maddening coffee-chocolate-wine quandary: One day a study says one of these treats is good for you and the next day another study says it isn’t.

Part of the problem is the incredible complexity and diversity of human bodies, genetics, environments, diets and even disease. Red wine might be great for one condition, but increase risks for another at the same time. Continue reading

Food insecurity: Especially for older adults, it’s about more than hunger

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Food insecurity — lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life — is a serious and growing problem among the older adult population. About eight to 10 million people over age 65 struggle to find, pay for, prepare, or consume a nutritious, varied, balanced diet.

It’s a challenge that is expected to worsen as our population ages and socioeconomic disparities increase. Continue reading

BBC piece on vitamin research a great example of engaging explanatory journalism

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: Dean Shareski via Flickr

Photo: Dean Shareski via Flickr

Anyone who has covered medical research for a while knows how fraught it can be to report on vitamin supplements and “wonder” foods with antioxidants and other substances aside from FDA-regulated drugs.

Since the FDA does not regulate these products with the same guidelines and stringency as it does pharmaceuticals and medical devices, it can be harder to find solid data about them. Further, studies on them are frequently funded by supplement companies or food organizations with a vested interest in their effectiveness or benefits. In an additional complication, there’s a mythology surrounding vitamins that promotes two main ideas: the supplements almost always are beneficial, and even if they aren’t, can’t hurt anyway. Continue reading

Taking a fresh look at nutrition for older adults

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Mister G.C. via Flickr

Photo: Mister G.C. via Flickr

New paradigms are needed to address our growing understanding of the physiology of aging and how it affects the nutrient needs for older adults. That’s the conclusion of a recent report from the Institute of Medicine.

Meeting the Dietary Needs of Older Adults” highlights key takeaways from a workshop that included a who’s-who of nutrition experts. The presentation summaries provide critical insights into the dietary and nutritional needs of the elderly. Continue reading

Don’t forget about oral health when reporting on the latest dietary guidelines

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Ana Ulin via Flickr

Photo: Ana Ulin via Flickr

Every five years, the federal government comes out with a new edition of its dietary guidelines. The official nutritional recommendations help shape America’s school lunch menus, influence grocery shopping trends, and of course, generate a flurry of news coverage.

The big question for reporters – and their readers, listeners and viewers is always “what’s new?” Continue reading