Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tiens Lubricants

Merawat Mesin Kendaraan Anda

Tiens Lubricants diciptakan dengan formula aditif yang lengkap dan khususnya Tiens Lubricants memiliki 2 jenis aditif unggulan yang diproses dengan menggunakan “Nano Technologi”.

Element yang pertama dari bahan calsium sulfonate yang berfungsi sebagai aditif anti friction (Anti gesek) dengan Nano Technologi, molekul aditif menjadi sangat halus bahkan lebih halus dari pada molekul air, sehingga dapat masuk ke dalam pori-pori metal dan membentuk lapisan film yang tipis untuk melindungi bagian-bagian metal yang bergesekan, sehingga dapat memperpanjang usia mesin kendaraan anda.

Element yang kedua adalah aditif stabiliazer molecule chain yang berfungsi sebagai penguat mata rantai molekul pelumas, sehingga masa penggantian pelumas menjadi 2 hingga 3 kali lebih lama dari pelumas merek lainnya.


Manfaat Tiens Lubricant :

1. Memberikan perlindungan lubrikasi degan cepat pada saat start. Memberikan perlindungan dari segi gesekan awal dan kondisi yang extreme. Mencegah keausan dan menjaga piston
2. Penggantian Oli menjadi lebih lama.
3. Menghemat pemkaian bahan baker.
4. Memperpanjang umur mesin kendaraan.
5. Mencegah pembentukan endapan dan varnish.
6. Tiens Lubricant ramah lingkunan dan membuat anda nyaman berkendara.


High Performance Diesel Engine Oil
Pelumas multiguna cocok untuk mesin diesel maupun bensin,baikuntuk kendaraan dan industri yang memiliki tugas berat. Pelumas dengan aditif anti friksi yang dapat meminimalkan gesekan saat mesin dioperasikan.

* SAE : 15W40;API Service : CH-4/SL
* Membantu usia pakai mesin lebih lama
* Mampu memberikan pelumasan yang baik walaupun temperature kerja berbeda
* Mencegah pembentukan endapan dan varnish


Advanced SS Engine Oil
Pelumas untuk mesin bensin yang mampu bekerja dengan baik pada temperature yang berbeda. Pelumas yang tahan terhadap degradasi dan mempunyai tingkat penguapan yang rendah.

* SAE : 10W40;API Service : SL
* Cocok untuk mobil keluaran terkini
* Dapat memperpanjang usia mesin
* Dapat mencegah pembentukan endapan dan varnish
* Mesin menjadi ringan dikendarai dan nyaman


PREMIUM SE Engine Oil
Pelumas yang khusu diformulasikan khusus untuk mesin bensin dari bahan dasar pilihan berkualitas tinggi dan dengan aditif terkini yang dapat memberikan perlindungan yang prima pada mesin.

* SAE : 20W50;API Service : SL/CF
* Mantap digunakan pada suhu tinggi maupun rendah
* Dapat menghemat bahan bakar karena mesin bekerja dengan ringan
* Dapat mencegah pembentukan endapan dan varnish
* Suara mesin menjadi halus pada saat hidup


High Performance Motorcycle Engine Oill

Pelumas mesin sepeda motor yang berkualitas tinggi, memiliki kekentalan yang stabil dan cocok untuk mesin motor dengan teknologi terkini.

* SAE : 20W50;API Service : SL
* Dapat melindungi mesin motor pada bagian yang bergesekan
* Mesin menjadi ringan dikendarai dan nyaman
* Dapat menghemat bahan bakar


High Performance Engine Oil
Pelumas unggulan untuk mesin yang didesain khusus bagi mobil keluaran terkini. Pelumas Tiens mampu bekerja dengan baik pada temperature yang berbeda.

* SAE : 10W50;API Service : SM
* Dapat memperpanjang usia mesin
* Dapat menurunkan konsumsi pelumas
* Mesin menjadi ringan dan nyaman dikendarai


Premium Gear Oil
Pelumas gearbox & Transmisi manual yang diciptakan dengan teknologi terkini akan memberikan perlindungan prima terhadao investasi / kendaraan anda.

* SAE : 90;API Service : GL-5
* Memiliki kestabilan suhu & susunan kimia pada semua jenis cuaca
* Mampu mengurangi gesekan dan suara bising

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

China Insurance Company Make a Deal with TIENS Group

China Insurance Company (UK) Ltd was registered in 1983, approved and licensed by the Department of Trade and Industry in time to begin undewriting on 1st October 1985, from which time it has also been a member of Association of British Insurers.

Originally a joint venture between The People's Insurance Company of China and Bank of China, it has since been 100% owned by China Insurance (Holdings) Co. Ltd.

Authorised to transact most classes of fire,accident, liabilities, marine and aviation business both direct and through reinsurance, the Company has a fully paid share capital of £15m. Currently assets under management exceed £50m with more than 40% of this figure attributable to shareholders. Our current level of annual income at nearly £16m (all underwritten within the UK), provides the Company with a very solid base for it's future development and a substantial margin over the minimum solvency requirement under the Insurance Companies Acts.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

PROFILE OF BANNERSTORE

BannerStore Retailing International Investment Group Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as BannerStore) is a professional investment management company dealing in international retailing. With a registered capital amounting to USD 250 million, BannerStore has abundant capital. Based on its present marketing experience and channels in 105 countries all over the world, BannerStore has made huge investment in creating international chain supermarkets in a brand-new retailing style. With a fast pace of exploiting and developing the global market, BannerStore is now striding proudly towards the goal of one of the world’s top 500 companies. Its business has extended to a dozen countries in the Asia-Pacific region and the Euro-Asian region including China (Taiwan included), where it has made great achievements and displays good prospects in the feature.

Being consumer-oriented and with business innovation as its development purpose, BannerStore expands the international market by better meeting consumers’ needs with the spirit of innovation. BannerStore’s innovation in retailing has aroused great concern in the industry. Its global thinking style, prospective retailing philosophy and open management mode are having a profound impact on the retail industry.

BannerStore advocates the business philosophy of “super-quality life and high-value return”. BannerStore has formed its own unique business mode of direct selling by integrating various marketing modes in a more innovative and revolutionary marketing system. In the meantime, it is the mission of every one in BannerStore to provide high-quality characteristic commodities, cordial and considerate “sunshine services” as well as stimulating development opportunities for the consumers who are concerned with their health, beauty and career.

The BannerStore Group is like a rising sun with unlimited vitality and hope. BannerStore is creating a new international retail brand, and in the near future, it will light the world with outstanding products and services. With its development, BannerStore has attracted large groups of people to join it. While serving the consumers, BannerStore also provides development opportunities for more people.

OUR OBJECTIVE

To innovate retailing business mode

To make value for enterprises, dealers and clients

OUR PROMISES

Super-quality life and high-value return

OUR VISION

To become a global leading retail enterprise that customers can trust; to provide high-quality products, education and career opportunities for consumers all over the world; to improve life quality and to build a harmonious international society.

http://www.bannerstore.com.cn/en/about/about.jsp

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pupuk Hayati Ramah Lingkungan, Menghemat Pupuk Kimia Hingga 50%

TIENS GOLDEN HARVEST berbahan aktif Mikroba Indegenous asli Indonesia ramah lingkungan (tidak mengandung logam berat As, Pb, Hg, Cd dan Mikroba Patogen, Salmonella SP) telah dipersiapkan serta dirancang untuk pembangunan dunia pertanian yang berkelanjutan.

Bahwa perpaduan TIENS GOLDEN HARVES dengan pupuk kimia akan selalu dicari dan dibutuhkan petani karena sudah terbukti dan teruji (menjadikan produktivitas tinggi dan ramah lingkungan).

Kandungan TIENS GOLDEN HARVEST :

1. Azatobacter sp 2,0 x 107 – 105 sel/ml
2. Mikroba pelarut fosfat 3,0 x 107 – 105 sel/ml
3. Azospirillum sp 2,3 x 108 – 105 sel/ml
4. Mikroba Pendegradasi Selulose 3,5 x 107 – 104 sel/ml
5. Lactobacillus sp 1,5 x 104 – 103 sel/ml
6. Pseudomonas sp 1,7 x 106 – 104 sel/ml
7. P=34,70 ppm; K=1700 ppm C Organik=0,92%; N=0,04% FE=44,3ppm; Mn=0,23 ppm Cu 0,85 ppm Zn=3,7 ppm

Pupuk hayati TIENS GOLDEN HARVEST sangat bagus untuk perkebunan sawit, karet, cengkeh, padi, singkong, jagung, tembakau, dll.

Keuntungan Menggunakan TIENS Golden Harvest
1. Hasil Panen akan meningkat 20% s/d 50% dari biasanya (menjadi optimal)
2. Penggunaan pupuk kimia lebih hemat 50% dari biasanya
3. Mampu menguraikan pestisida (residu s/d 50%) dan mengurangi tumbuhnya gulma

Untuk Perhatikan
1. Penggunaan TIENS Golden Harvest jangan dicampur dengan pestisida / pupuk kimia
2. Pemakaian TIENS Golden Harvest tidak boleh bersamaan dengan pupuk kimia, beri tenggang waktu 2 s/d 5 hari.
3. TIENS Golden Harvest diberikan lebih dahulu 3 s/d 5 hari sebelum pupuk kimia ditaburkan.

Untuk Aplikasi penggunaannya silahkan hubungi kami di email :
bony_hardian@yahoo.com

Saat ini kami sedang mencari Distributor diseluruh Indonesia yang bisa membantu kami agar para petani kita di Indonesia dapat menjangkau pupuk ini, sehingga bisa cepat ke tangan para petani kita. Untuk itu bagi yang berminat kami menunggu sebelum tanggal 24 Agustus 2008 dengan melengkapi syarat-syarat sbb :

1. Foto Copy KTP (Bisa difax)
2. Alamat Lengkap (pengiriman tanda distributor via TIKI/POS)
3. Mempunyai Rekening BCA / BII (tidak harus tetapi sangat disarankan).
4. Membayar uang registrasi Rp. 100.000,-

Biaya pendaftaran dapat dikirim melalui :

BANK BCA Rek : 4060228995
A/N : BONY HARDIAN

Setelah melakukan transfer mohon dikonfirmasi via SMS ke 081 5840 35560

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Obesity : Coping and support

One of the most painful aspects of obesity may be the emotional suffering it can cause. Many people and cultures equate beauty and success with slimness, and unfairly label obese people as lazy or gluttonous. Feelings of shame and depression are common among obese people. But obesity should be viewed as a chronic condition — not a moral failing or personal choice.

It may be helpful to talk to others who also are struggling with their weight. Ask your doctor for information on weight-loss support groups in your area. There are also Web sites designed to help you lose weight and feel better about yourself. Ask your family and friends for support. If your weight has you feeling depressed, talk to your doctor about treatments for depression.

If you're overweight or obese, you have to cultivate a positive attitude before you can shed those unwanted pounds. With knowledge, the right attitude and a good plan, you can — and will — lose weight.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obesity/DS00314/DSECTION=coping%2Dand%2Dsupport

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Obesity : Prevention

Whether you're at risk of becoming obese, currently overweight or at a healthy weight, you can take steps to prevent obesity and the associated health problems.

Not surprisingly, the steps to prevent weight gain are the same as the steps to lose weight: Daily exercise, a healthy menu, a long-term commitment and constant vigilance.

* Exercise regularly. One of the most important things you can do to prevent weight gain is to exercise regularly. Studies suggest that it takes 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity daily to keep the pounds off. Moderately intense physical activities include fast walking and swimming.
* Enjoy healthy meals and snacks. Focus on low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Keep saturated fat low and limit sweets and alcohol. Remember that no one food offers all the nutrients you need. Choose a variety of foods throughout the day. It's not out of the question to eat and enjoy small amounts of high-fat, high-calorie foods on occasion. But the main thing is that you choose foods that promote a healthy weight and good health more often than you choose foods that don't.
* Know and avoid the food traps that cause you to eat. Know which situations trigger out-of-control eating for you. The best way to identify food traps and emotionally triggered eating is to keep a journal. For as long as you find it helpful, write down what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you're feeling and how hungry you are. After a while, you should see some patterns emerge. Once you know these patterns and triggers, you can plan ahead and develop a strategy for how you'll handle these types of situations. This will help you understand and stay in control of your eating behaviors.
* Monitor your weight regularly. People who weigh themselves at least once a week are more successful in keeping off the pounds. Monitoring your weight can tell you whether your efforts are working and can help you detect small weight gains before they become larger.
* Be consistent. Sticking to your healthy-weight plan during the week, on the weekends, and amidst vacation and holidays as much as possible increases your chances of long-term success.

If you really want to prevent weight gain, the best approach is to focus on lifestyle changes and develop an eating plan that's enjoyable, yet healthy and low in calories. This approach results in weight loss that you can live with — that is, that you can maintain over a long period of time.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obesity/DS00314/DSECTION=prevention

Friday, July 18, 2008

Obesity : Treatments and drugs

The goal of obesity treatment is to achieve and maintain a healthier weight. The amount of weight you need to lose to improve your health may be much less than what you feel you need to lose.

Just a 5 percent to 10 percent weight loss can bring health improvements. That means that if you weigh 200 pounds and are obese by BMI standards, you would need to lose about 10 to 20 pounds. You don't have to stop there, but it's a place to start. Slow and steady weight loss of 1 or 2 pounds a week is considered the safest way to lose weight and the best way to keep it off.

Achieving a healthy weight is usually done through dietary changes, increased activity and behavior modification. Depending on your situation, your doctor may suggest prescription medication or weight-loss surgery to supplement these efforts.

Dietary changes
Adopting a new eating style that promotes weight loss must include lowering your total calorie intake. One way you can lower your calorie intake is by eating more plant-based foods — fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to help you achieve your goals without giving up taste or nutrition. Cutting back on calories is easier if you focus on limiting sugar and other refined carbohydrates and some types of fat.

Ask your doctor to help you determine your calorie goals to lose weight. He or she may recommend that you also work with a dietitian or a reputable weight-loss program.

Crash diets to reduce calories aren't recommended because they can cut so many calories and nutrients that they lead to other health problems, such as vitamin deficiencies. Fasting isn't the answer, either. Most of the weight you initially lose is from water, and it's not good for your body to go without food for extended periods.

Very low calorie liquid diets are sometimes prescribed as an intervention for seriously obese people. These mainly liquid diets, such as Medifast or Optifast, provide about 800 calories a day — most adults consume roughly 2,000 to 2,500 calories a day. While people are usually able to lose weight on these very low calorie diets, most people regain the weight just as quickly when they stop following these diets.

Over-the-counter liquid meal replacements, such as Slim-Fast, also cut calories. These plans suggest that you replace one or two meals with their products — low-calorie shakes — then eat snacks of vegetables and fruits and a healthy, balanced third meal that is low in fat and calories. This can be as effective as a traditional calorie-controlled diet.

Increased physical activity
Cutting 250 calories from your daily diet can help you lose about half a pound a week: 3,500 calories equals 1 pound of fat. But add a 30-minute brisk walk four days a week, and you can double your rate of weight loss.

The goal of exercise for weight loss is to burn more calories, although exercise offers many other benefits as well. How many calories you burn depends on the frequency, duration and intensity of your activities. One of the best ways to lose body fat is through steady aerobic exercise — such as walking — for more than 30 minutes most days of the week.

Even though regularly scheduled aerobic exercise is most efficient for losing fat, any extra movement helps burn calories. Lifestyle activities may be easier to fit into your day. Think about ways you can increase your physical activity throughout the day. For example, make several trips up and down stairs instead of using the elevator, or park at the far end of the lot.

If you're obese, particularly if you're unfit and have health problems, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Behavior modification
To lose weight and keep it off, you need to make changes in your lifestyle. But there's more to changing your lifestyle than choosing different foods and putting more activity into your day. It also involves changing your approach to eating and activity, which means changing how you think, feel and act.

A behavior modification program — led by a psychologist, therapist or other trained professional — can help you make these lifestyle changes. Behavior modification programs may include examining your current habits to find out what factors or situations may have contributed to your excess weight. Exploring your current eating and exercise habits gives you a place to start when changing your behaviors.

Once you understand which habits are undermining your weight-loss efforts, you can take steps to create a new, healthier lifestyle. These tips can help:

* Have a plan. Work out a strategy that will gradually change your habits and attitudes. Consider how often and how long you will exercise. Determine a realistic eating plan that includes plenty of water, fruits and vegetables. Write it down and choose a start date.
* Set realistic goals. Weight-loss goals can be process goals, such as exercising regularly, or outcome goals, such as losing 20 pounds. Make sure process goals are realistic, specific and measurable. For example, you'll walk for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. For outcome goals, aim to lose weight at a safe pace of 1 or 2 pounds a week. Losing weight more rapidly means losing water weight or muscle tissue, rather than fat.
* Avoid food triggers. Distract yourself from your desire to eat with something positive, such as calling a friend. Practice saying no to unhealthy foods and big portions. Eat when you're actually hungry — not when the clock says it's time to eat.
* Keep a record. Keep a food and activity diary, so you can reinforce good habits and discover any behaviors that you may need to improve. Be sure to track other important health parameters such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels and overall fitness.

Prescription weight-loss medication
It's best to lose weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise. But if you're among those who struggle to lose weight and the excess weight has produced medical problems, prescription weight-loss drugs may be able to help you.

Your doctor may consider you a candidate for medication treatment if these criteria apply:

* Other methods of weight loss haven't worked for you.
* Your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 27 and you have medical complications of obesity, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea.
* Your BMI is greater than 30.

Two prescription drugs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for long-term weight loss. These drugs work in different ways and cause different side effects.

* Sibutramine (Meridia). This drug changes your brain chemistry, making you feel full more quickly. Though sibutramine generally helps you lose more weight than you could through diet and exercise alone, it's no magic bullet. Studies have shown that after a year, sibutramine users lost an average of about 10 pounds more than did people simply following a low-calorie diet and taking a placebo. Side effects can include increased blood pressure, headache, dry mouth, constipation and insomnia.
* Orlistat (Xenical). This drug prevents the absorption of fat in your intestines. Unabsorbed fat is eliminated in the stool. Average weight loss with orlistat is modest — about 6 pounds after one year. Side effects associated with the drug include oily and frequent bowel movements. Because orlistat blocks absorption of some nutrients, your doctor will recommend that you also take a multivitamin. The FDA has approved a reduced-strength version of orlistat (Alli) to be sold without a prescription. This medication works the same as prescription-strength orlistat and is meant only to supplement — not replace — a healthy diet and regular exercise.

If you're among those who can benefit from weight-loss medication, you'll likely need to take it indefinitely. When drug treatment is stopped, much or all of the excess weight generally returns.

Even if you qualify for weight-loss drug therapy, the drugs might not work for you. And, if they do work, their effects tend to level off after six months of use.

Weight-loss surgery
If you're among those who have tried and can't lose the excess weight that's causing your health problems, weight-loss (bariatric) surgery may be an option. Weight-loss surgery may be considered if:

* Your body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher
* Your BMI is 35 to 39.9, and you have a serious weight-related health problem such as diabetes or high blood pressure

Gastric bypass surgery, which changes the anatomy of your digestive system to limit the amount of food you can eat and digest, is the favored weight-loss surgery in the United States.

In gastric bypass (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass) the surgeon creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach. The small intestine is then cut a short distance below the main stomach and connected to the new pouch. Food and liquid flow directly from the pouch into this part of the intestine, bypassing most of the stomach. The stomach continues to make digestive juices to help break down food. So the portion of the intestines still attached to the stomach is reattached farther down. This allows the digestive juices to flow to the small intestine. Weight loss is achieved by restricting the amount of food that the stomach can hold and to a lesser extent by reducing the amount of calories that are absorbed.

When appropriate, weight-loss surgery can result in dramatic improvements in weight and health. Within the first two years, you can expect to lose 50 percent to 60 percent of your excess weight. Those people who follow dietary and exercise recommendations tend to keep most of that weight off long term.

Weight-loss surgery does have side effects, however. Complications such as pneumonia, blood clots and infection can occur with any type of surgery. Rapid weight loss can result in gallstones; a hernia or weakness, which may require surgery to correct, may develop at the site of your incision. Gastric bypass can also cause dumping syndrome, a condition in which stomach contents move too quickly through the small intestine, causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and sweating.

Surgery for weight reduction isn't a miracle procedure. It doesn't guarantee that you'll lose all of your excess weight or that you'll keep it off long term. Weight-loss success after gastric bypass surgery depends on your commitment to making lifelong changes in your eating and exercise habits.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obesity/DS00314/DSECTION=treatments%2Dand%2Ddrugs

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Obesity : Complications

If you're obese, you're more likely to develop a number of potentially serious health problems. These may include:

* High blood pressure. As you put on weight, you gain mostly fatty tissue. Just like other parts of the body, this tissue relies on oxygen and nutrients in your blood to survive. As demand for oxygen and nutrients increases, the amount of blood circulating through your body also increases. More blood traveling through your arteries means added pressure on your artery walls. Weight gain also typically increases the level of insulin, a blood sugar controlling hormone, in your blood. The increase in insulin is associated with retention of sodium and water, which increases blood volume. In addition, excess weight often is associated with an increase in your heart rate and a reduction in the capacity of your blood vessels to transport blood. All of these factors can increase blood pressure.
* Diabetes. Obesity is a leading cause of type 2 diabetes. Excess fat makes your body resistant to insulin, the hormone that helps your body maintain a proper level of a sugar (glucose) in your blood. If your body is resistant to insulin, your blood sugar can be high — which isn't good — and leads to negative health effects.
* Abnormal blood fats. A diet high in saturated fats — red meat and fried foods, for example — can lead to obesity as well as elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein ("bad") cholesterol. Obesity is also associated with low levels of high-density lipoprotein ("good") cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides. Triglycerides are the form in which most fat exists in food as well as in your body. Over time, abnormal blood fats can contribute to atherosclerosis — the buildup of fatty deposits in arteries throughout your body. Atherosclerosis puts you at risk of coronary artery disease and stroke.
* Coronary artery disease. This is a form of cardiovascular disease. It results from the buildup of fatty deposits in arteries that supply your heart. Over time these deposits can narrow your heart's arteries, so less blood flows to your heart. Diminished blood flow to your heart can cause chest pain (angina). Complete blockage can lead to a heart attack.
* Stroke. Obesity is associated with atherosclerosis — the buildup of fatty deposits in arteries throughout your body, including arteries in your brain. If a blood clot forms in a narrowed artery in your brain, it can block blood flow to an area of your brain. The result is a stroke. Being obese raises your risk of a stroke.
* Osteoarthritis. This joint disorder most often affects the knees, hips and lower back. Excess weight puts extra pressure on these joints and wears away the cartilage that protects them, resulting in joint pain and stiffness.
* Sleep apnea. This serious condition causes a person to stop breathing for short periods during sleep and to snore heavily. The upper airway is blocked during sleep, which results in frequent awakening at night and subsequent drowsiness during the day. Most people with sleep apnea are overweight, which contributes to a large neck and narrowed airways.
* Cancer. Many types of cancer are associated with being overweight. These include cancers of the colon, rectum, esophagus, kidney, breast and prostate.
* Fatty liver disease. When you're obese, fats can build up in your liver. This fatty accumulation can lead to inflammation and scarring of the liver. Such scarring can cause cirrhosis of the liver, even if you're not a heavy alcohol drinker.
* Gallbladder disease. Because overweight people may produce more cholesterol, which can be deposited in the gallbladder, the risk of gallstones is higher in obese people. Fast weight loss — more than 3 pounds a week — also can increase the risk of gallstones.
* Fertility and pregnancy problems. Increased body mass may be associated with fertility problems for both men and women. Obesity may lead to gestational diabetes and other problems during pregnancy and may increase the risk of birth defects.
* Physical discomfort. As fat accumulates, it crowds the space occupied by your organs. Some obese people can't sit comfortably because of fat in their abdomen. In a seated position, an obese person may have limited ability to breathe. Pain in the back, feet, joints and muscles also may occur.
* Social and emotional consequences. Overweight or obese individuals may experience psychological stress, reduced income and discrimination.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obesity/DS00314/DSECTION=complications

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Obesity : Tests and diagnosis

Your doctor can help you determine whether you need to lose weight and, if so, how much. In addition to evaluating your BMI and waist circumference, your doctor can review your medical history, which helps reveal how dangerous excess fat is to your health. Do you smoke, drink alcohol or live with a high level of stress? In combination with these behaviors, excess weight can have even greater health implications.

Your doctor can also assess your current health. You may have a health problem that would improve if you lost weight or that requires treatment beyond weight loss.

Talking to your doctor openly and honestly about your weight is one of the best things you can do for your health. The more your weight increases, the more medical problems you may face.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obesity/DS00314/DSECTION=tests%2Dand%2Ddiagnosis

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Obesity : When to seek medical advice

How do you know whether you need to lose weight for medical reasons? Stepping on the scale only tells you your total weight — including bone, muscle and fluid — not how much of your weight is fat. The scale also doesn't tell you where you're carrying that fat. In determining health risks, both of these factors are more important than weight alone. Other pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, also play a role in determining the health risks associated with too much body fat.

A threefold approach can help determine whether you need to lose weight for medical reasons. These include body mass index, waist measurement and personal medical history.

*Body mass index (BMI). The BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat and health risks. If your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, you're considered in a healthy weight range for your height. If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, you're considered overweight. And, if the figure is 30 or greater, you're considered obese.

* Waist measurement. If you carry most of your fat around your waist or upper body, you may be referred to as apple shaped. If you carry most of your fat around your hips and thighs or lower body, you may be referred to as pear shaped. When it comes to your health, it's better to have the shape of a pear than the shape of an apple. If you have an apple shape — a potbelly or spare tire — you carry more fat in and around your abdominal organs. Abdominal fat increases your risk of many of the serious conditions associated with obesity. Women's waist circumference measurements should be less than 35 inches. Men's should be less than 40 inches. These are rough cutoffs, but in general, the smaller the waist measurement the better.

* Medical history. You may benefit from weight loss if you have other health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Also, if you have a family history of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea, you may be at increased risk of developing weight-related complications.

If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9 or your waist measurement exceeds the healthy guidelines, and you have a medical history of other health conditions, you'll probably benefit from losing weight. Discuss your weight with your doctor at your next checkup.

If your BMI is 30 or more, you're considered obese. Losing weight will improve your health and reduce your risk of weight-related illnesses. Talk to your doctor about starting a weight-loss plan.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Obesity : Risk factors

Factors that increase your risk of obesity include:

* Genetics. Your genes may affect the amount of body fat you store and where that fat is distributed. Genetics may also play a role in how efficiently your body converts food into energy and how your body burns calories during exercise. Your genetic makeup doesn't guarantee that you'll be obese, however.
* Family history. If one or both of your parents are obese, your chances of being obese are greater. This may be due to shared genes or to a shared environment, which may include high-calorie foods and inactivity.
* Age. As you get older, you tend to be less active. In addition, the amount of muscle in your body tends to decrease with age. This lower muscle mass leads to a decrease in metabolism. These changes also reduce calorie needs. If you don't decrease your caloric intake as you age, you'll likely gain weight.
* Sex. Women are more likely to be obese than are men. Women have less muscle mass and tend to burn fewer calories at rest than men do.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obesity/DS00314/DSECTION=risk%2Dfactors

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Obesity : Causes

Although there are genetic and hormonal influences on body weight, ultimately excess weight is a result of an imbalance of calories consumed versus calories burned through physical activity. If you consume more calories than you expend through exercise and daily activities, you gain weight. Your body stores calories that you don't need for energy as fat.

The following factors — usually working in combination — can contribute to weight gain and obesity.

* Diet. Regular consumption of high-calorie foods, such as fast foods, or increasing their portion sizes contributes to weight gain. High-fat foods are dense in calories. Loading up on soft drinks, candy and desserts also promotes weight gain. Foods and beverages like these are high in sugar and calories. In general, eating away from home also increases calorie intake.
* Inactivity. Sedentary people are more likely to gain weight because they don't burn calories through physical activities.
* Quitting smoking. Smokers tend to gain weight after quitting. This weight gain may be partially due to nicotine's ability to raise the rate at which your body burns calories (metabolic rate). When smokers stop, they burn fewer calories. Smoking also affects taste; quitting smoking makes food taste and smell better. Former smokers often gain weight because they eat more after they quit. However, cigarette smoking is still considered a greater threat to your health than is extra weight.
* Pregnancy. During pregnancy a woman's weight necessarily increases. Some women find this weight difficult to lose after the baby is born. This weight gain may contribute to the development of obesity in women.
* Certain medications. Corticosteroids and tricyclic antidepressants, in particular, can lead to weight gain. So can some high blood pressure and antipsychotic medications.
* Medical problems. Uncommonly, obesity can be traced to a medical cause, such as low thyroid function or excess production of hormones by the adrenal glands (Cushing's syndrome). A low metabolic rate is unlikely to cause obesity. In addition, it's unclear whether polycystic ovarian syndrome contributes to obesity. Some medical problems, such as arthritis, can lead to decreased activity, which may result in weight gain.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Obesity

Definition

Do you weigh more than you should? If so, you're like the two-thirds of American adults who are overweight. About one in three American adults is considered to be obese.

Obesity, in simple terms, is having a high proportion of body fat. Fat is important for storing energy and insulating your body, among other functions. The human body can handle carrying some extra fat, but beyond a certain point, body fat can begin to interfere with your health. For this reason, obesity is more than a cosmetic concern. Obesity puts you at greater risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and many other serious health problems.

The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent complications associated with obesity. Weight loss is usually possible through dietary changes, increased physical activity and behavior modification. For people who don't respond to these lifestyle changes, other more involved obesity treatments are available to enhance weight loss. These include prescription medications and weight-loss surgery.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obesity/DS00314

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dietary fats: Know which types to choose

When choosing fats, pick unsaturated fat over saturated or trans fat. Here's how to know the difference.

Most foods contain several different kinds of fats — including saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fats — and some kinds are better for your health than others are.

It's not necessary that you completely eliminate all fats from your meals. Rather, choose the healthier types of fats and enjoy them in moderation.
Fat: A necessary nutrient

Your body needs fat to function properly. Besides being an energy source, fat is a nutrient used in the production of cell membranes, as well as in several hormone-like compounds called eicosanoids. These compounds help regulate blood pressure, heart rate, blood vessel constriction, blood clotting and the nervous system. In addition, dietary fat carries fat-soluble vitamins — vitamins A, D, E and K — from your food into your body. Fat also helps maintain healthy hair and skin, protects vital organs, keeps your body insulated, and provides a sense of fullness after meals.

But too much fat can be harmful. Eating large amounts of high-fat foods adds excess calories, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for several diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, gallstones, sleep apnea and osteoarthritis. And too much of certain types of fats — such as saturated fat or trans fat — can increase your blood cholesterol levels and your risk of coronary artery disease.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fat/NU00262

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Trans fat: Avoid this cholesterol double whammy

Trans fat raises your "bad" (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your "good" (HDL) cholesterol. Find out more about trans fat and how to avoid it.

When it comes to fat, trans fat is considered by some doctors to be the worst of them all because of its double-barreled impact on your cholesterol levels. Unlike other fats, trans fat — also called trans fatty acids — both raises your "bad" (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your "good" (HDL) cholesterol.

A high LDL cholesterol level in combination with a low HDL cholesterol level significantly increases your risk of heart disease, the leading killer of men and women. Learn more about trans fat and how to avoid it.
What is trans fat?

Trans fat comes from adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation. Trans fats are more solid than oil, making them less likely to spoil. Using trans fats in the manufacturing of foods helps foods stay fresh longer, have a longer shelf life and have a less greasy feel.

Initially, trans fats were thought to be a healthy alternative to animal fats because they're unsaturated and come primarily from plant oils. However, in 1990 scientists made a startling discovery: Trans fats appeared to both increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol. More studies over the years confirmed this.
Trans fat in your food

Commercial baked goods — such as crackers, cookies and cakes — and many fried foods such as doughnuts and french fries — contain trans fats. Shortenings and some margarines also are high in trans fat.

Trans fat used to be more common, but in recent years food manufacturers have used it less. Since January 2006, manufacturers in the United States have been required to list trans fat content on nutrition labels. Manufacturers in other countries have taken similar steps. As a result, some companies have changed their manufacturing process to use little or no trans fat.

In the United States, the labeling requirement has a caveat. Trans fat that amounts to less than 0.5 grams per serving can be listed as 0 grams trans fat on the food label. Though that's a small amount of trans fat, if you eat multiple servings of foods with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat, you could exceed recommended limits.
Reading food labels

How do you know whether food contains trans fat? Look for the words "partially hydrogenated" vegetable oil. That's another term for trans fat. The word "shortening" is also a clue: Shortening contains some trans fat.

It sounds counterintuitive, but "fully" hydrogenated oil doesn't contain trans fat. Unlike partially hydrogenated oil, the process used to make fully hydrogenated oil doesn't result in trans fatty acids. However, if the label says just "hydrogenated" vegetable oil, that usually means the oil contains trans fat.

Although small amounts of trans fat occur naturally in some meat and dairy products, it's the trans fats in processed foods that seem to be more harmful.
Trans fat and cholesterol

Doctors worry about trans fat because of its unhealthy effect on your cholesterol levels — increasing your LDL and decreasing your HDL cholesterol. There are two main types of cholesterol:

* Low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL, or "bad," cholesterol transports cholesterol throughout your body. LDL cholesterol, when elevated, builds up in the walls of your arteries, making them hard and narrow.
* High-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL, or "good," cholesterol picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to your liver.

A high LDL cholesterol level is a major risk factor for heart disease. If your LDL is too high, over time, it can cause atherosclerosis, a dangerous accumulation of fatty deposits on the walls of your arteries. These deposits — called plaques — can reduce blood flow through your arteries. If the arteries that supply your heart with blood (coronary arteries) are affected, you may have chest pain and other symptoms of coronary artery disease.

If plaques tear or rupture, a blood clot may form — blocking the flow of blood or breaking free and plugging an artery downstream. If blood flow to part of your heart stops, you'll have a heart attack. If blood flow to part of your brain stops, a stroke occurs.

Cholesterol levels are expressed as milligrams per deciliter of blood, or mg/dL:

LDL targets

* 160 mg/dL is considered a high LDL.
* 130 mg/dL and lower is a good target for most healthy people.
* 100 mg/dL is the target if you have other risk factors for heart disease.
* 70 mg/dL is the target if you already have heart disease.

HDL targets
With HDL cholesterol, higher is better. HDL helps remove excess cholesterol from your body. Higher levels of HDL are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

* 40 to 50 mg/dL is normal for healthy men.
* 50 to 60 mg/dL is normal for healthy women.
* 40 mg/dL and lower for men or women is considered risky, and the lower the value, the greater the risk.

Other effects of trans fat

Doctors are most concerned about the effect of trans fat on cholesterol. However, trans fat has also been shown to have some other harmful effects:

* Increases triglycerides. Triglycerides are another type of fat found in your blood. A high triglyceride level may contribute to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) or thickening of the artery walls — which increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease.
* Increases Lp(a) lipoprotein. Lp(a) is a type of LDL cholesterol found in varying levels in your blood, depending on your genetic makeup. It's unclear how high levels of Lp(a) — independent of other cholesterol levels — increases your risk of heart disease. More research is needed.
* Causes more inflammation. Trans fat may increase inflammation, which is a process by which your body responds to injury. It's thought that inflammation plays a key role in the formation of fatty blockages in heart blood vessels. Trans fat appears to damage the cells lining blood vessels, leading to inflammation.

Avoiding trans fat

The good news is trans fat is showing up less in food, especially food on grocery store shelves. If you eat out a lot, however, be aware that many restaurants continue to use trans fat. Trans fat is often a part of the oil restaurants use to fry food. A large serving of french fries at some restaurants can contain 5 grams or more of trans fat.

Some restaurants put nutritional information on their menus, but most aren't required to list trans fat content. But, things may be changing. New York City recently banned trans fat from being used in restaurants.

How much trans fat you can consume without any negative impact on your cholesterol level is debatable. However, there's no question you should limit trans fat, according to the Food and Drug Administration and the American Heart Association (AHA).

In the United States, food nutrition labels don't list a Percent Daily Value for trans fat because it's unknown what an appropriate level of trans fat is, other than it should be low. The AHA recommends that no more than 1 percent of your total daily calories be trans fat. If you consume 2,000 calories a day, that works out to 2 grams of trans fat or less.
What should you eat?

Don't think a trans fat-free food is automatically good for you. Food manufacturers have begun substituting other ingredients for trans fat. However, some of these ingredients, such as tropical oils — coconut, palm kernel and palm oils — contain a lot of saturated fat. Saturated fat raises your LDL cholesterol. A healthy diet includes some fat, but there's a limit.

In a heart-healthy diet, 30 percent or less of your total daily calories can come from fat — but saturated fat should account for less than 7 percent of your total daily calories. Monounsaturated fat — found in olive, peanut and canola oils — is a healthier option. Nuts, fish and other foods containing unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids are other good choices.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/trans-fat/CL00032

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Olive oil: What are the health benefits?

What are the health benefits of olive oil? Is extra-virgin oil better than regular olive oil?

Mayo Clinic dietitian Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., and colleagues answer select questions from readers.

Answer

When cooking with fats, olive oil is a healthy choice. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, which can lower your risk of heart disease by reducing the total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol levels in your blood.

In contrast, saturated and trans fats — such as butter, tropical oils and hydrogenated margarines — increase your risk of heart disease by increasing your total and LDL cholesterol levels.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consuming about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil a day may reduce your risk of heart disease. You can get the most benefit by substituting olive oil for saturated fats rather than just adding more olive oil to your diet.

All types of olive oil provide monounsaturated fat, but "extra-virgin" or "virgin" olive oils are the least processed forms. As a result, they contain the highest levels of polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/AN01037

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ground flaxseed: Better than whole?

Does ground flaxseed have more health benefits than whole flaxseed?

Mayo Clinic dietitian Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., and colleagues answer select questions from readers.

Answer

Most nutrition experts recommend ground flaxseed because your body is better able to digest it. Whole flaxseed may pass through your intestine undigested, which means you won't get the health benefits of flaxseed.

Flaxseed is high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and phytochemicals called lignans. Flaxseed can help reduce total blood cholesterol and LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels — and, as a result, may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Flaxseed oil also contains omega-3 fatty acids, but it doesn't have the beneficial fiber that the seeds have.

You can purchase raw flaxseed in bulk — whole or ground — at many grocery stores and health food stores. Whole seeds can be ground in a coffee grinder and then stored in an airtight container for several months. Refrigerating whole seeds may also extend their freshness.

Although the Institute of Medicine has not set a recommended daily intake for omega-3 fatty acids, it has established adequate intake amounts of between 1.1 and 1.6 grams a day for adults. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed provides 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. Tips for including flaxseed in your diet:

* Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your hot or cold breakfast cereal.
* Add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed to mayonnaise or mustard when making a sandwich.
* Mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into an 8-ounce container of yogurt.
* Bake ground flaxseed into cookies, muffins, breads and other baked goods

You can also use flaxseed in place of eggs in muffins, pancakes and cookies. To substitute flaxseed for one large egg in a recipe, use 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed plus 3 tablespoons water. Keep in mind that it will somewhat alter the texture of the finished product, making it slightly "gummy."
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/flaxseed/AN01258

Monday, July 7, 2008

Omega-3 in fish: How eating fish helps your heart

Fish and omega-3 fatty acids in fish are good for your heart. Learn from a Mayo Clinic specialist how the heart-health benefits of eating fish usually outweigh any risks.

If you're worried about heart disease — whether you want to avoid it, or you already have it and want to get healthier — eating one to two servings of fish a week could reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack by a third or more.

The touted heart-health benefits of eating fish, especially fattier fish like salmon, aren't new. Doctors have long recognized that something in fish, possibly fats called omega-3 fatty acids, appears to reduce your risk of dying from heart disease. The American Heart Association for many years has recommended that people eat fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week.
Photo of Donald Hensrud, M.D.
Donald D. Hensrud, M.D.

Donald Hensrud, M.D., chair of Mayo Clinic's Division of Preventive Medicine and associate professor of preventive medicine and nutrition, shares his insights here about omega-3 and eating fish for a healthy heart.

In addition to the positive benefits of omega-3 and eating fish to reduce heart disease risk, Dr. Hensrud talks about the concern that some fish may contain significant amounts of contaminants, such as mercury.

The contaminant concern has led to a dilemma: Should you eat more omega-3-rich fish for a healthier heart, or avoid fish because of the possible contaminants, such as mercury, in fish?

Now, two large federally sponsored studies have both come to the same general conclusion: When it comes to a healthier heart, the benefits of eating fish usually outweigh the possible risks of exposure to contaminants.

One study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those who ate fish might reduce their risk of dying from heart disease by a third, and their overall mortality was 17 percent lower. The other study released by the Institute of Medicine, which advises the federal government on health policy, wasn't as strong in its endorsement. However, it indicated that eating seafood appears to promote heart health.
Dr. Hensrud, when it comes to heart disease, is eating fish a smart thing to do?

In general, yes, and both of these recent reports support that. Consuming one to two servings a week of fish, particularly fatty fish, appears to reduce the risk of heart disease and particularly sudden cardiac death. The health benefits of fish also apply to women who are or may become pregnant as well as to children, but both of these groups should limit their consumption.
What's in fish that appears to be so good for the heart, and how does it work?

Fish contain unsaturated fatty acids, which, when substituted for saturated fatty acids such as is contained in meat, may lower serum cholesterol. But the main beneficial component appears to be omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish.

Omega-3 fatty acids have many potential beneficial effects including improving cognitive function in developing children, decreasing triglycerides, lowering blood pressure, reducing blood clotting, enhancing immune function, and possibly others. However, the strongest benefit from omega-3 fatty acids is reducing the risk of sudden cardiac death, which appears to be due to decreasing the risk of abnormal heart rhythms.
The heart-healthy benefits of fish have been discussed before. Do these two latest studies help clarify the situation? How so?

One of these reports supports the heart-health benefits of eating fish by examining some of the best studies and estimating the combined effects of these studies. This study estimated that regular fish consumption probably reduced the risk of stroke and had an even stronger effect on reducing the risk of dying from heart disease.

The other report was a review of studies by the Institute of Medicine that looked at the overall benefits vs. risks of seafood consumption. This review also supported the benefits of seafood consumption for everyone, reaffirmed that women of childbearing age and children limit consumption and avoid certain fish, and had a number of recommendations for further education and research in this area.
Does it matter what kind of fish I eat?

Yes, fatty fish such as salmon, herring, and to a lesser extent tuna, contain the most omega-3 fatty acids and therefore the most benefit, but many types of seafood contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
How much fish should I eat?

In general, about 6 ounces (two 3-ounce servings) a week are recommended, with an emphasis on omega-3-rich fish. Women and children should limit consumption to no more than 6 ounces of canned tuna a week, no more than 12 ounces of most other fish, and avoid certain fish altogether (shark, swordfish and others). That's because women who are or can become pregnant and children are most susceptible to the potential effects of toxins in fish.
How concerned should I be about possible risks of eating fish, such as mercury contamination?

The main types of toxins in fish are mercury, dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The amount of toxins depends on the type of fish and where it is caught, and this is one area where we need more education.

You should pay attention to the type of fish you eat, how much you eat, and other information such as the state advisories on the amount that can be safely consumed of specific types of locally caught fish. For example, each state issues advisories regarding the safe amount of locally caught fish that can be consumed.

The major contaminant found in fish is mercury. This element occurs naturally in trace amounts in the environment. But industrial pollution can produce mercury that accumulates in lakes, rivers and oceans. Microorganisms in the water convert the mercury to a highly toxic form, called methyl mercury.

Large, predatory fish — such as shark, tilefish, swordfish and king mackerel — tend to have higher levels of methyl mercury than do smaller fish because they're higher in the aquatic food chain. Small fish eat organisms that contain methyl mercury, and this contaminant is then stored in their bodies. Larger fish eat the smaller fish, gaining higher concentrations of the toxin. The longer a fish lives, the larger it grows and the more mercury it can collect.

If you consume enough fish containing methyl mercury, the toxin can accumulate in your body as well. It can take weeks, months or even a year for your body to remove these toxins. Methyl mercury is particularly harmful to the development of the brain and nervous system of an unborn child and young children. For this reason, women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, nursing mothers, and children under age 12 need to limit the amount of fish they eat. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report that for most people, however, the amount of mercury they consume by eating fish isn't a health concern. The two recent reports support and endorse that advice.
I don't like fish. Can I get the same heart-health benefits by taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements? Or, do other foods offer the same heart-health benefits?

For most people, the evidence supporting the heart-health benefits from fish are stronger than for supplements. However, people who have heart disease may benefit from supplements of omega-3 fatty acids and should discuss this with their doctor. Other non-fish food options that do contain some omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts, canola oil, soybeans and soybean oil. However, like with supplements, the evidence of heart-healthy benefits from eating these foods isn't as strong as it is from eating fish.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/omega-3/HB00087

Omega-3 in fish: How eating fish helps your heart

Fish and omega-3 fatty acids in fish are good for your heart. Learn from a Mayo Clinic specialist how the heart-health benefits of eating fish usually outweigh any risks.

If you're worried about heart disease — whether you want to avoid it, or you already have it and want to get healthier — eating one to two servings of fish a week could reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack by a third or more.

The touted heart-health benefits of eating fish, especially fattier fish like salmon, aren't new. Doctors have long recognized that something in fish, possibly fats called omega-3 fatty acids, appears to reduce your risk of dying from heart disease. The American Heart Association for many years has recommended that people eat fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week.
Photo of Donald Hensrud, M.D.
Donald D. Hensrud, M.D.

Donald Hensrud, M.D., chair of Mayo Clinic's Division of Preventive Medicine and associate professor of preventive medicine and nutrition, shares his insights here about omega-3 and eating fish for a healthy heart.

In addition to the positive benefits of omega-3 and eating fish to reduce heart disease risk, Dr. Hensrud talks about the concern that some fish may contain significant amounts of contaminants, such as mercury.

The contaminant concern has led to a dilemma: Should you eat more omega-3-rich fish for a healthier heart, or avoid fish because of the possible contaminants, such as mercury, in fish?

Now, two large federally sponsored studies have both come to the same general conclusion: When it comes to a healthier heart, the benefits of eating fish usually outweigh the possible risks of exposure to contaminants.

One study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those who ate fish might reduce their risk of dying from heart disease by a third, and their overall mortality was 17 percent lower. The other study released by the Institute of Medicine, which advises the federal government on health policy, wasn't as strong in its endorsement. However, it indicated that eating seafood appears to promote heart health.
Dr. Hensrud, when it comes to heart disease, is eating fish a smart thing to do?

In general, yes, and both of these recent reports support that. Consuming one to two servings a week of fish, particularly fatty fish, appears to reduce the risk of heart disease and particularly sudden cardiac death. The health benefits of fish also apply to women who are or may become pregnant as well as to children, but both of these groups should limit their consumption.
What's in fish that appears to be so good for the heart, and how does it work?

Fish contain unsaturated fatty acids, which, when substituted for saturated fatty acids such as is contained in meat, may lower serum cholesterol. But the main beneficial component appears to be omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish.

Omega-3 fatty acids have many potential beneficial effects including improving cognitive function in developing children, decreasing triglycerides, lowering blood pressure, reducing blood clotting, enhancing immune function, and possibly others. However, the strongest benefit from omega-3 fatty acids is reducing the risk of sudden cardiac death, which appears to be due to decreasing the risk of abnormal heart rhythms.
The heart-healthy benefits of fish have been discussed before. Do these two latest studies help clarify the situation? How so?

One of these reports supports the heart-health benefits of eating fish by examining some of the best studies and estimating the combined effects of these studies. This study estimated that regular fish consumption probably reduced the risk of stroke and had an even stronger effect on reducing the risk of dying from heart disease.

The other report was a review of studies by the Institute of Medicine that looked at the overall benefits vs. risks of seafood consumption. This review also supported the benefits of seafood consumption for everyone, reaffirmed that women of childbearing age and children limit consumption and avoid certain fish, and had a number of recommendations for further education and research in this area.
Does it matter what kind of fish I eat?

Yes, fatty fish such as salmon, herring, and to a lesser extent tuna, contain the most omega-3 fatty acids and therefore the most benefit, but many types of seafood contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
How much fish should I eat?

In general, about 6 ounces (two 3-ounce servings) a week are recommended, with an emphasis on omega-3-rich fish. Women and children should limit consumption to no more than 6 ounces of canned tuna a week, no more than 12 ounces of most other fish, and avoid certain fish altogether (shark, swordfish and others). That's because women who are or can become pregnant and children are most susceptible to the potential effects of toxins in fish.
How concerned should I be about possible risks of eating fish, such as mercury contamination?

The main types of toxins in fish are mercury, dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The amount of toxins depends on the type of fish and where it is caught, and this is one area where we need more education.

You should pay attention to the type of fish you eat, how much you eat, and other information such as the state advisories on the amount that can be safely consumed of specific types of locally caught fish. For example, each state issues advisories regarding the safe amount of locally caught fish that can be consumed.

The major contaminant found in fish is mercury. This element occurs naturally in trace amounts in the environment. But industrial pollution can produce mercury that accumulates in lakes, rivers and oceans. Microorganisms in the water convert the mercury to a highly toxic form, called methyl mercury.

Large, predatory fish — such as shark, tilefish, swordfish and king mackerel — tend to have higher levels of methyl mercury than do smaller fish because they're higher in the aquatic food chain. Small fish eat organisms that contain methyl mercury, and this contaminant is then stored in their bodies. Larger fish eat the smaller fish, gaining higher concentrations of the toxin. The longer a fish lives, the larger it grows and the more mercury it can collect.

If you consume enough fish containing methyl mercury, the toxin can accumulate in your body as well. It can take weeks, months or even a year for your body to remove these toxins. Methyl mercury is particularly harmful to the development of the brain and nervous system of an unborn child and young children. For this reason, women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, nursing mothers, and children under age 12 need to limit the amount of fish they eat. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report that for most people, however, the amount of mercury they consume by eating fish isn't a health concern. The two recent reports support and endorse that advice.
I don't like fish. Can I get the same heart-health benefits by taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements? Or, do other foods offer the same heart-health benefits?

For most people, the evidence supporting the heart-health benefits from fish are stronger than for supplements. However, people who have heart disease may benefit from supplements of omega-3 fatty acids and should discuss this with their doctor. Other non-fish food options that do contain some omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts, canola oil, soybeans and soybean oil. However, like with supplements, the evidence of heart-healthy benefits from eating these foods isn't as strong as it is from eating fish.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/omega-3/HB00087

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health

Eating nuts helps your heart. Learn from a Mayo Clinic specialist how walnuts, almonds and other nuts help lower your cholesterol when eaten as part of a balanced diet.

Gerald T. Gau, M.D.

It sounds a little — pardon the pun — nutty, but there's growing recognition that eating nuts as part of a healthy diet is good for your heart. Nuts, which contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients, are a great snack food, too. They're cheap and easy to store.

The type of nut you eat isn't that important. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, you name it, almost every type of nut has a lot of nutrition packed into a tiny package. If you have heart disease, eating nuts instead of a less healthy snack can help you more easily follow a heart-healthy diet.

Dr. Gerald Gau is a Mayo Clinic preventive cardiologist and is a specialist in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases. He's been involved with the National Cholesterol Education Program Coordinating Committee, which develops national cholesterol guidelines. He shares his insights on the heart-health benefits of eating nuts.
Can eating nuts help your heart?

It sure looks that way. Most studies on people who eat nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet have found that nuts lower the LDL, low-density lipoprotein or "bad," cholesterol level in the blood. High LDL is one of the primary causes of heart disease, so nuts' ability to lower LDL cholesterol seems to be quite beneficial.

Eating nuts reduces your risk of developing blood clots that can cause a fatal heart attack. Nuts also improve the health of the lining of your arteries. The evidence for the heart-health benefits of nuts isn't rock-solid yet — the Food and Drug Administration only allows food companies to say evidence "suggests but does not prove" that eating nuts reduces heart disease risk. Still, the existing evidence looks promising.
What's in nuts that's thought to be heart healthy?

It's not entirely clear, but it's thought that the unsaturated fats in nuts — both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — lower bad cholesterol levels. Many nuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a healthy form of fatty acids that seem to help your heart by, among other things, preventing dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in fish, but nuts are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts also have lots of arginine, which is a molecule that increases the production of nitric oxide in your body, which may in turn help improve the health of your artery walls and make them more flexible and less prone to blood clots. Other substances in nuts that could improve your heart health include Vitamin E and fiber.
Does it matter what kind of nuts you eat?

Possibly. Most nuts appear to be generally healthy, though some more so than others. Walnuts are one of the best-studied nuts, and it's been shown they contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and pecans are other nuts that appear to be quite heart healthy. Even peanuts — which are technically not a nut, but a legume — seem to be relatively healthy. Keep in mind, you could end up canceling out the heart-healthy benefits of nuts if they're covered with chocolate, sugar or salt.
What amount of nuts is considered healthy?

Nuts contain a lot of fat; as much as 80 percent of a nut is fat. Even though most of this fat is healthy fat, it's still a lot of calories. That's why you should eat nuts in moderation. Ideally, you should use nuts as a substitute for saturated fat. Instead of eating unhealthy saturated fats, try substituting a handful of nuts. Current dietary guidelines suggest eating 1 to 2 ounces (a small handful) of nuts each day. But again, do this as part of a heart-healthy diet. Just eating nuts and not cutting back on saturated fats found in many dairy and meat products won't do your heart any good.
Are there other benefits of eating nuts?

Probably. Nuts contain Vitamin E, which, in addition to possibly being good for your heart, is thought by some researchers to help protect your cells against some forms of cancer. However, the evidence for Vitamin E's benefits in heart disease or cancer prevention is rather slim at the moment. Another theory is that Vitamin E might help prevent cataracts. Nuts also contain fiber, and a high-fiber diet is thought to help prevent heart disease and diabetes. A diet high in foods that contain fiber also might help prevent colon cancer, but the evidence here is mixed.
How about nut oils? Are they healthy, too?

Nut oils are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Walnut oil is highest in omega-3s. Nut oils contain saturated as well as unsaturated fats. Consider using nut oils in homemade salad dressing or in cooking. When cooking with nut oils, remember that they respond differently to heat than do vegetable oils. Nut oil, if overheated, can become bitter. Just like with nuts, use nut oil in moderation to restrict overall calorie and fat intake.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nuts/HB00085

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dietary fiber: An essential part of a healthy diet

Dietary fiber offers many health benefits. Here's how to include more in your diet.

Eat more fiber.
You've probably heard it before. But do you know why fiber is so good for your health?

Dietary fiber — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

If you need to add more fiber to your diet, don't worry. Increasing the amount you eat each day isn't difficult. Find out how much dietary fiber you need and ways to include more high-fiber foods into your daily meals and snacks.


What is dietary fiber?

Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes all parts of plant foods that your body can't digest or absorb. Unlike other food components such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fiber isn't digested by your body. Therefore, it passes virtually unchanged through your stomach and small intestine and into your colon.

Fiber is often classified into two categories: those that don't dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber).

* Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts and many vegetables are good sources of insoluble fiber.
* Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. You can find generous quantities of soluble fiber in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.

The amount of each type of fiber varies in different plant foods. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods.
Benefits of a high-fiber diet

A high-fiber diet has many benefits, which include:


* Prevents constipation. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool.
* Lowers your risk of digestive conditions. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of specific disorders, such as hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome and the development of small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease).
* Lowers blood cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or "bad," cholesterol levels.
* Controls blood sugar levels. Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can slow the absorption of sugar, which for people with diabetes, can help improve blood sugar levels. A high-fiber diet may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
* Aids in weight loss. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you're no longer hungry, so you're less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less "energy dense," which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
* Uncertain effect on colorectal cancer. Evidence that dietary fiber reduces colorectal cancer is mixed — some studies show benefit, some show nothing and even some show greater risk. If you're concerned about preventing colorectal cancer, adopt or stick with a colon cancer screening regimen. Regular testing for and removal of colon polyps can prevent colon cancer.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Cholesterol: The top 5 foods to lower your numbers

Diet can play an important role in lowering your cholesterol. Discover five foods that can lower your cholesterol and protect your heart.

Can a bowl of oatmeal help prevent a heart attack? How about a handful of walnuts, or even your baked potato topped with some heart-healthy margarine? A few simple tweaks to your diet — like these — may be enough to lower your cholesterol to a healthy level and help you stay off medications.

Consider your diet first

Before you make other changes to your diet, think about cutting back on the types and amounts of fats you eat, which can raise your cholesterol. That way, you'll improve your cholesterol levels and health overall.

When cutting fat from your diet, focus on saturated and trans fats. Saturated fats, like those in meat and some oils, raise your total cholesterol. Trans fats, which are sometimes used to make store-bought cookies, crackers and cakes, are particularly bad for your cholesterol levels because they raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol and lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL), "good" cholesterol. You should try to limit the number of calories you eat daily to less than 10 percent from saturated fat, and eliminate as many trans fats from your diet as possible.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Beans and other legumes: Types and tasty tips

This guide describes common types of beans and legumes, tips for preparing them and ways to add more legumes to your meals and snacks.

Legumes — a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils — are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Legumes are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They're also a good source of protein and can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.

If you want to add more beans and other legumes to your diet, you might be wondering what types of legumes are available and how to best prepare them. This guide can help.

Types of legumes

Many supermarkets and food stores stock a wide variety of legumes — both dried and canned — for greater versatility in cooking. Below are several of the more common types and their uses.

Adzuki beans
Also known as: Azuki beans, asuki beans, field peas, red oriental beans

Anasazi beans
Also known as: Jacob's cattle beans

Black beans
Also known as: Turtle beans, black Spanish beans and Venezuelan beans

Black-eyed peas
Also known as: Cowpeas, cherry beans, frijoles, China peas, Indian peas

Chickpeas
Also known as: Garbanzos, garbanzo beans, ceci beans

Edamame
Also known as: Green soybeans

Fava beans
Also known as: Broad beans, faba beans, horse beans

Lentils

Lima beans
Also known as: Butter beans, Madagascar beans

Red kidney beans

Soy nuts
Also known as: Soybean seeds, roasted soybeans

Preparing legumes

Beans and other large, dried legumes, such as chickpeas and black-eyed peas, require soaking in room temperature water, a step that rehydrates them for more even cooking. Soak the legumes in water for about six to eight hours or soak them overnight.

Another way to rehydrate beans is to place them in water and bring to a boil for two minutes. Then cover and let the beans soak for an hour. Once rehydrated, the beans are ready to cook.

"Quick-cooking" legumes have already been presoaked and redried and don't need extra soaking. Canned legumes make quick additions to dishes that don't require long simmering. Rinse prepared and canned legumes well to remove any sodium added during processing.

Beans and other legumes can lead to the formation of intestinal gas. Here are several ways to reduce the flatulence-inducing quality of legumes:

* Discard the soaking water before cooking. Some of the gas-producing food particles get absorbed in the water.
* Change the water several times during soaking and cooking.
* Simmer beans slowly until they are tender. This makes them easier to digest.
* Add digestive aids, such as Beano, to legume dishes to help reduce the amount of gas they produce. For Beano to be effective, you need to take it with your first bite of food.

Adding more legumes to your diet


Consider these ways to incorporate more legumes into your meals and snacks:

* Prepare soups, stews and casseroles that feature legumes.
* Use pureed beans as the basis for dips and spreads.
* Add chickpeas or black beans to salads.
* Snack on a handful of soy nuts rather than on chips or crackers.
* Add garbanzos or other canned beans to your salad. If you typically buy a salad at work and no beans are available, bring beans from home in a small container.

If you can't find a particular type of legume in the store, you can easily substitute one type of legume for another. For example, pinto and black beans are good substitutes for red kidney beans. And cannellini, lima beans and navy beans are easily interchangeable. Experiment with what types of legumes you like best in your recipes to make your meals and snacks both nutritious and interesting.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

20 ways to revive your healthy-eating plan

Make healthy eating interesting and enjoyable. These quick tips are certain to invigorate your healthy-eating efforts.

Whether you're just starting or have been following a healthy diet for years, sticking to the plan can be challenging. But healthy eating doesn't need to be boring or tiresome. Flavorful food combinations, new cooking ideas and an inventive spirit can enliven your meals and snacks.

Here are 20 ideas to keep you on course.

1. Experiment with new foods and combinations. Try mango or peach slices on whole-wheat toast with a little peanut butter and honey. Toss some mandarin orange and peach slices into a salad.

2. Add chickpeas, black beans or garbanzos to your lunch or dinner salad. If you typically buy a salad at work and no beans are available, bring beans from home in a small container.

3. Try something new for breakfast. Munch on leftover vegetable pizza or make a smoothie blended from exotic fruits, low-fat yogurt and a spoonful of wheat germ.

4. Stir-fry extra-firm or firm tofu rather than meat in oriental dishes. Freezing and then thawing tofu before use gives it a firmer, chewier texture.

5. Make a nutritious snack rather than a full meal when time is tight. For example, spread a brown rice cake with ricotta cheese and fresh strawberries or low-sugar, spreadable fruit. Or try corn muffins with apple and cheese slices, or fat-free refried beans mixed with salsa, a small amount of low-fat sour cream and baked tortilla chips.

6. Add crushed bran cereal or unprocessed wheat bran to baked products, such as meatloaf, breads, muffins, casseroles, cakes and cookies. Also, use bran products as a crunchy topping for casseroles, salads or cooked vegetables.

7. Grill fresh vegetables for a quick and healthy side dish. Cut vegetables into 1/2-inch slices or large chunks and baste with a light salad dressing or brush them with canola or olive oil. Grill until tender, turning only once.

8. Take advantage of ready-to-use foods. Fresh bagged salads, frozen vegetables, low-fat deli meats, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain breads, and fresh and canned unsweetened fruits take only minutes to prepare.

9. Vary your salad greens and enjoy the multitude of flavors and textures. Choices include arugula, chicory, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach or watercress. Purchase a different variety each week.

10. For breakfast on the go, munch dry, ready-to-eat cereal with a banana and drink a small carton of low-fat or skim milk.

11. Choose a dish that serves as a full meal for quick and simple cooking. Healthy examples include beef, barley and vegetable stew; chicken, vegetable and rice casserole; turkey and bean casserole (made with turkey breast, white beans and tomatoes); or vegetarian chili with diced vegetables.

12. Take advantage of healthy side dishes offered at fast-food restaurants. Instead of french fries, choose a side salad with low-fat dressing or a baked potato. Or add a fruit bowl or a fruit and yogurt option to your meal.

13. Stock your shelves with good-for-you snacks. Low-fat pudding cups, dry roasted soy nuts, low-fat popcorn and whole-grain crispbread crackers are good choices.

14. Decrease the meat portion on your plate and increase the serving size of vegetables. Use three times as many vegetables on pizzas or in casseroles, soups and stews.

15. Plan meals so that you can use the extra food in other dishes. For example, bake chicken breasts for a meal and use what's left in sandwiches, soup or a stir-fry.

16. Use salsa for more than just chips. Whether it's mild, fruity, scorching, smooth or chunky, salsa is a great companion for potatoes, vegetables, fish, chicken or meats.

17. Marinate meat, chicken, fish before cooking to tenderize and add flavor to foods. Try mixtures of herbs or spices with wine, olive oil, soy sauce, cider vinegar or lemon juice.

18. Expand your grain repertoire with whole-grain complements, such as kasha, brown rice, wild rice, barley or whole-wheat tortillas.

19. Use herbs and spices to add color, savory taste and sensational aroma. Add cilantro to rice or bean dishes. Sprinkle rosemary on roasted potatoes or grilled meats. Add freshly chopped chives to omelets or pasta salads.

20. Explore world cuisines. Discover and enjoy foods from around the world: Mexican, Latin American, Indian, Greek, French and Asian cuisines, just to name a few. Some of the world's most intriguing ingredients — quinoa, edamame, bok choy, bulgur — are as healthy as they are delicious.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-eating/NU00641

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Typical Supermarket Merchandise

Larger supermarkets in North America and Western Europe typically sell a great number of items among many brands, sizes and varieties, including:

* Alcoholic beverages (as state/provincial and/or local laws allow)
* Baby foods and baby-care products such as disposable diapers
* Breads and bakery products (many stores may have a bakery on site that offers specialty and dessert items)
* Books, newspapers, and magazines, including supermarket tabloids
* Bulk dried foods such as legumes, flour, rice, etc. (typically available for self-service)
* Canned goods and dried cereals
* Car-care products (motor oil, cleaners, waxes)
* CDs, DVDs, and videos (including video rentals)
* Tea and Coffee (some stores may have a commercial-style grinder, typically available for self-service, and/or a staffed coffee bar that prepares ready-to-drink coffee and tea beverages)
* Clothing and footwear (typically a general, limited assortment)
* Confections and candies
* Cosmetics
* Dairy products and eggs
* Delicatessen foods (ready-to-eat)
* Diet foods
* Electrical products such as light bulbs, extension cords, etc.
* Feminine hygiene products
* Financial services and products such as mortgages, credit cards, savings accounts, wire transfers, etc. (typically offered in-store by a partnering bank or other financial institution)
* Flowers
* Frozen foods and crushed ice
* Fresh produce, fruits and vegetables
* Greeting cards
* Housecleaning products
* Housewares, crockery and cooking utensils, etc. (typically limited)
* Laundry products such as detergents, fabric softeners, etc.
* Lottery tickets (where operational and legal)
* Luggage items (typically limited)
* Meats, fish and seafoods (some stores may offer live fish and seafood items from aquarium tanks)
* Medicines and first aid items (primarily over-the-counter drugs, although many supermarkets also have an on-site pharmacy)
* Nonalcoholic beverages such as soft drinks, juices, bottled water, etc. (some stores may have a juice bar that prepares ready-to-drink freshly squeezed juices, smoothies, etc.)
* Personal hygiene and grooming products
* Pet foods and products
* Seasonal items and decorations
* Snack foods
* Toys and novelties

In some countries, the range of supermarket merchandise is more strictly focused on food products, although the range of goods for sale is expanding in many locations as typical store sizes continue to increase globally.

Most supermarkets are similar in design and layout due to trends in marketing. Fresh produce tends to be located near the entrance of the store. Milk, bread, and other essential staple items are usually situated toward the rear of the store and in other out-of-the-way places, purposely done to maximize the customer's time spent in the store, strolling past other items and capitalizing on impulse buying. The front of the store, or "front end'" is the area where point of sale machines or cash registers are usually located. Many retailers also have implemented self-checkout devices in an attempt to reduce labor costs.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Supermarket History

In the early days of retailing, all products generally were fetched by an assistant from shelves behind the merchant's counter while customers waited in front of the counter and indicated the items they wanted. Also, most foods and merchandise did not come in the individually wrapped consumer-size packages that we take for granted today, so an assistant had to measure out and wrap the precise amount desired by the consumer. These practices were by nature very labor-intensive and therefore also quite expensive. The shopping process was slow, as the number of customers who could be attended to at one time was limited by the number of clerks employed in the store.

The concept of a self-service grocery store was developed by American entrepreneur Clarence Saunders and his Piggly Wiggly stores. His first store opened in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1916. Saunders was awarded a number of patents for the ideas he incorporated into his stores[1][2][3][4]. The stores were a financial success and Saunders began to offer franchises. The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P) was another successful early grocery store chain in Canada and the United States, and became common in North American cities in the 1920s. The general trend in retail since then has been to stock shelves at night so that customers, the following day, can obtain their own goods and bring them to the front of the store to pay for them. Although there is a higher risk of shoplifting, the costs of appropriate security measures ideally will be outweighed by the increased economies of scale and reduced labor costs.

Early self-service grocery stores did not sell fresh meats or produce. Combination stores that sold perishable items were developed in the 1920s.[5]

According to the Smithsonian Institution, the first true supermarket in the United States was opened by a former Kroger employee, Michael J. Cullen, on August 4, 1930, inside a 6,000 square foot (560 m²) former garage in Jamaica, Queens in New York City.[6] The store, King Kullen, (inspired by the fictional character King Kong), operated under the slogan "Pile it high. Sell it low." At the time of Cullen's death in 1941, there were seventeen King Kullen stores in operation.

Other established American grocery chains in the 1930s, such as Kroger and Safeway, at first resisted Cullen's idea, but eventually were forced to build their own supermarkets as the economy sank into the Great Depression and consumers became price-sensitive at a level never experienced before.[7] Kroger took the idea one step further and pioneered the first supermarket surrounded on all four sides by a parking lot.

Supermarkets proliferated across Canada and the United States with the growth of suburban development after World War II. Most North American supermarkets are located in suburban strip malls as an anchor store along with other, smaller retailers. They are generally regional rather than national in their company branding. Kroger is perhaps the most nationally oriented supermarket chain in the United States but it has preserved most of its regional brands, including Ralphs, City Market and King Soopers.

In Canada the largest such chain is Loblaw, which operates stores under a variety of regional names, including Fortinos, Zehrs and the largest Loblaws (named after the company itself). Sobeys is Canada's second largest supermarket with locations across the country, operating under many banners (Sobeys IGA in Quebec). Today, supermarkets are found around the world in dozens of countries.

In the 1950s supermarkets frequently issued trading stamps as incentives to customers. Today, most chains issue store-specific "membership cards," "club cards," or "loyalty cards". These typically enable the card holder to receive special members-only discounts on certain items when the credit card-like device is scanned at check-out.

Traditional supermarkets in many countries face intense competition from discount retailers such as Wal-Mart, Asda in the UK, and Zellers in Canada, which typically are non-union and operate with better buying power. Other competition exists from warehouse clubs such as Costco that offer savings to customers buying in bulk quantities. Superstores, such as those operated by Wal-Mart and Asda, often offer a wide range of goods and services in addition to foods. The proliferation of such warehouse and superstores has contributed to the continuing disappearance of smaller, local grocery stores, increased dependence on the automobile, suburban sprawl because of the necessity for large floorplates, and increased vehicular traffic and air pollution. Some critics consider the chains' common practice of selling loss leaders to be anti-competitive. They are also wary of the negotiating power that large, often multinational, retailers have with suppliers around the world.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Supermarket

A supermarket is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments. It is larger in size and has a wider selection than a traditional grocery store and it is smaller than a hypermarket or superstore.

The supermarket typically comprises meat, fresh produce, dairy, and baked goods departments along with shelf space reserved for canned and packaged goods as well as for various nonfood items such as household cleaners, pharmacy products, and pet supplies. Most supermarkets also sell a variety of other household products that are consumed regularly, such as alcohol (where permitted), household cleaning products, medicine, clothes, and some sell a much wider range of nonfood products.

The traditional suburban supermarket occupies a large amount of floor space, usually on a single level, and is situated near a residential area in order to be convenient to consumers. Its basic appeal is the availability of a broad selection of goods under a single roof at relatively low prices. Other advantages include ease of parking and, frequently, the convenience of shopping hours that extend far into the evening or even 24 hours a day. Supermarkets usually make massive outlays of newspaper and other advertising and often present elaborate in-store displays of products. The stores often are part of a corporate chain that owns or controls (sometimes by franchise) other supermarkets located nearby — even transnationally — thus increasing opportunities for economies of scale.

In North America, supermarkets typically are supplied by the distribution centers of its parent company, such as Loblaw Companies in Canada, which operates thousands of supermarkets across the nation. Loblaw operates a distribution center in every province — usually in the largest city in the province.

Supermarkets
usually offer products at low prices by reducing their economic margins. Certain products (typically staple foods such as bread, milk and sugar) are frequently sold as loss leaders, that is, with negative profit margins. To maintain a profit, supermarkets attempt to make up for the lower margins by a higher overall volume of sales, and with the sale of higher-margin items. Customers usually shop by placing their selected merchandise into shopping carts (trolleys) or baskets (self-service) and pay for the merchandise at the check-out. At present, many supermarket chains are attempting to further reduce labor costs by shifting to self-service check-out machines, where a single employee can oversee a group of four or five machines at once, assisting multiple customers at a time.

A larger full-service supermarket combined with a department store is sometimes known as a hypermarket. Other services offered at some supermarkets may include those of banks, caf├ęs, childcare centers/creches, photo processing, video rentals, pharmacies, and/or gas stations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermarket

Health: Where's the Food From

Products from China used to be associated with bargain prices.
Now they're associated with health threats. In May, pet food carrying the industrial chemical melamine killed dozens of pets across the United States. Then there were lead-painted toy trains, toothpaste contaminated with dry-cleaning chemicals and drug residues in seafood. Most recently, Robert's American Gourmet Food recalled Veggie Booty, a snack food popular with kids, after salmonella bacteria found in the Chinese-made seasoning ingredients was said to have sickened 57 people in 18 states. "China has practices that aren't up to our standards," says Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia. Because of the way food products are grown and processed in China, bacteria, drugs and other chemicals, including heavy metals and pesticides, can find their way into products. But the $288 billion worth of Chinese goods that come into this country every year are hard to avoid. China is the third largest food supplier to the United States, after Canada and Mexico. It is a primary supplier of seafood, garlic, seasonings, apple juice, citric and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and various spices. Roughly 80 percent of the ascorbic acid and 50 percent of the xantham gum found in such products as baby food and salad dressing comes from China, says Peter Kovacs, a food-industry consultant. And, unlike bikes or shoes, food doesn't always say "Made in China." Here's how to stay safe.

Avoid the seafood.

Currently the FDA is blocking imports of Chinese farm-raised catfish, bass, shrimp, dace (similar to carp) and eel while it waits for cleaner fish farms and better inspections. But concerns can go further than that. "I don't eat shrimp from outside the country," says Doyle, who notes that seafood-farming practices in most Southeast Asian countries include overcrowding, exposure to runoff from chicken farms and other opportunities for bacterial and antibiotic contamination. Seafood—fresh or frozen—is required to be labeled by country of origin, so it's not hard to tell where it's from.

Go for big brands.
If an item is wholly produced and packaged in China, the label must reflect that. But foods packaged in the United States don't have to have their ingredients individually labeled by country of origin, and that's how Chinese fillers and seasonings can find their way into pet food and toddler snacks. It may help to look for big brand names, suggests Daniel Diermeier, of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. Kovacs says major U.S. companies have redoubled their efforts to test all their Chinese-made ingredients.

Eat locally.
Advocates of the local-food movement say that sticking to foods that come from within a day's drive is good for the environment and healthier. Find community-supported farms and agricultural cooperatives at attra.ncat .org/attra-pub/localfood_dir.php. You still have to cook meats thoroughly and wash your hands: China doesn't have a monopoly on bacteria.

Dig deeper.

Make a habit of checking for problem foods and products at recall.gov, which keeps up with all U.S. recalls. Ask your grocer where your produce comes from, and push for more disclosure from manufacturers about their ingredients, even if you have to call the companies that make the products you eat most, says Caroline Smith DeWaal of the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, which keeps records of food threats at cspinet.org/foodsafety. You can also pick up some detective tricks from "A Year Without 'Made in China'" ($24.95), a chronicle of author Sara Bongiorni's efforts to spend a year boycotting Chinese products.
Her conclusion: it's not easy.

With Karen Springen

© 2007
http://www.newsweek.com/id/33028