August 2015 | | 1-888-376-7136

[Volume 7, Issue 8]

Tips for Healthy Teeth

Back-to-school is a good time for kids to learn (or review) what it takes to have healthy teeth. A good diet with lots of calcium and other essential minerals is part of that. And maybe cutting back on sugary drinks (even fruit juice – one serving a day is enough).

And, there’s more…

Back-to-school tips for healthy teeth

This news story from HealthDay gives a nice overview of things kids (and adults) need to know to keep their teeth healthy.

Why is now a good time? According to the news story, dental care can get lost in the shuffle of a busy back-to-school season what with new schedules and rushed mornings.

What to do at school:
  • Teach little kids how to care for their teeth – maybe a local dentist or dental hygienist can come in and talk to them.
  • Review foods and beverages that are good for teeth. Dairy or calcium sources, plus green and colorful veggies are at the top of that list.
  • Talk about mouth protection and what to do when kids suffer mouth injuries or broken teeth.
Doctors Can Improve Weight Loss Results

One-third of American adults are obese – a condition that’s linked to common health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. One solution is to join a commercial weight loss program such as Weight Watchers.

These programs can be quite helpful, but interestingly, patients often don’t bother to tell their physicians about joining those programs, so they’re essentially going about it without medical supervision. Maybe that should change?

Helpful physicians may be key to successful weight loss

This news story published by Medical News Today describes a study that looked at what happens when physicians become partners in weight loss.  The researchers used information from a study that involved weight loss interventions and remote or in person support from health coaches.

Interestingly, after two years, the study team found that patients who rated their physicians highest in terms of being helpful also lost an average of 11 pounds. Those participants who rated their physicians as being the least helpful lost an average of 5 pounds.

Losing weight is hard – obese patients need all the caring, help and support they can get. So hopefully studies like this will find ways to increase that support.
Loving Local Foods

More and more people are supporting local farmers and markets. The reasons often cited usually include ideas such as wanting healthier foods, and supporting local economics. But, according to a new study, there may even be more reasons.

University of Iowa study finds local food movement rooted in relationships and values

This news story from Medical News Today describes a study that looks at reasons why people eat local. In addition to the health and economic reasons, it turns out that ‘locavores’ just because they like to know who grows their food. Consumers feel more of a relationship with the farmers and producers.

What to do at school:

  • Take kids to a farmers market so they can learn more about the locavore movement.
  • In cooking classes, have kids come up with recipes and meal plans featuring local foods.
  • As a class project, have kids determine the economic impact of eating local.
What Happens After You Drink an Energy Drink?

Energy drinks are defined as beverages that contain caffeine and at least one other ingredient that’s supposed to improve energy – like taurine. They’re packaged in colorful cans, and it’s obvious they’re aimed at teens and young adults who use them to stay awake and alert.

But what actually happens you gulp down your Red Bull?
How energy drinks affect your body within 24 hours

In another story from Medical News Today, experts explain that caffeine enters the bloodstream within 10 minutes. The caffeine triggers a rise in blood pressure and an increase in heart rate.

Caffeine levels peak within 45 minutes, and that’s when we feel alert, and it’s easier to concentrate.  The caffeine also triggers the liver to absorb more sugar into the bloodstream.

But, within an hour, the effects subside and a sugar crash can occur. This is when you get cranky and tired.

What to do at school:

  • Talk about the ingredients in energy drinks – there’s nothing essential, just extra caffeine and plenty of sugar.
  • Show kids the infographic in the news story. What are their experiences with energy drinks?
  • What are better alternatives? Coffee? Decaf? Tea? Water?
Sugar Consumption Tied to Family Functioning

Effective family functioning is basically when a family is able to manage daily life and resolve problems in a warm and effective way with clear communication, well-defined roles and flexible behavior control.

Researchers recently found that kids from the least functional families also consumed the greatest amounts of sugary foods.

High sugar consumption among children relates to poor family functioning, study finds

This news story describes the study from London. The researchers focused on families aged 3 to 4 years, and their families. The study team found that better family functioning was connected to the children eating healthier diets, even when families faced financial crises, lived in deprived areas or where the parents had less education.

This is the first study to look at this – so maybe there will be more research like this in the future.
Leaner Kids Eating More Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

Yeah, I know… there’s always debates on which fats are good and which are bad, and it may be a bit complicated. So today in the fatty acid wars I bring you an article that finds lean kids eat more PUFAs.

More PUFAs and a higher ratio of PUFA:Saturated fatty acids are included in the self-reported diets of leaner children

This story describes a study that found lean kids ages 7 to 12  appeared to eat more foods that are rich in PUFAs, the fats that are mostly found in plant-based foods and fish. It’s important to understand this is a ‘cross-sectional’ study that looks at one moment in time, so it can’t clearly say that consuming PUFAs leads to weight loss.

About PUFAs. There are two types – the omega-6s and the omega-3s. Your body needs to get both of them from the diet. The average person gets plenty of omega-6s – and possibly too much when compared to the omega-3s. Many people are deficient in the omega-3s. So how do you get them into your diet? Fish like salmon, tuna, trout and herring, and plant sources such as walnuts, pumpkin seeds, canola oil, flax seeds, chia, and soy.
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About Shereen Lehman

Shereen Lehman is a health and nutrition writer with two decades of experience counseling people on nutrition and diet. She has a master's degree in human nutrition and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Association of Health Care Journalists.

Shereen writes about nutrition for the large website (, is co-author of Superfoods for Dummies ( and Clinical Anatomy for Dummies ( She also teaches Evidence Based Nutrition to nutrition graduate students at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.