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Happy Friday! Hope you're staying warm!

Good evening, folks! Hope you're staying warm and safe if you're in areas being hit by this latest winter storm. Here in Johnson City, it's not quite as pretty as the picture I've attached, but close. So, on to the health news from around the interwebs for today. First off, we have a piece where Lisa Mallonee, a registered dietitian from Texas A&M debunks some popular diet myths. She takes on gluten-free desserts, "fat-free" foods, energy bars, but most importantly, she debunks the myth that "you shouldn't follow dietary advice from the internet". To paraphrase her, there is good information out there, whether it's from a legitimate news outlet, or, as in our case, from a (hopefully you agree) informed blogger! Our next article I found interesting for a couple reasons. The first thing that caught my eye was the source:Al-Jazeera America. (who is closing up, I believe, after their report on athletes using human growth hormone) The second was its title, about lobbyists "distorting" the idea of a healthy diet. It tells of the nonpartisan Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee meeting last year and making recommendations for unprecedented changes in the dietary guidelines issued periodically by the USDA. Then, in January, when the latest guidelines were introduced, they were scaled back markedly from those recommendations, and included vague language about reductions on red meat and soda consumption. It's certainly tough to wade through all the dietary misinformation out there when it starts with the pretty charts we all saw in elementary school! Next up, the next chapter in my ongoing war on veganism. Ha! Mostly kidding, there. I love vegetables. But according to this article, a vegan diet could be the cause of hair loss and skin problems, as there are some nutrients that are good for healthy hair growth that just aren't in a vegan diet. It's certainly not why I lost my hair! Our fourth entry gives us some advice from those they call the "mindlessly slim", the people that stay thin their whole lives without any special effort. In a nutshell, a large percentage don't drink sodas, a large percentage exercise frequently, they tend to make healthier food choices, and they tend to prepare their meals at home. It all seems pretty sensible, even though it may not come naturally to all of us. And to our last entry for the day, which discusses scientist's looking in to what forms the gut microbiota of newborns. While breastfeeding has been known to impact many aspects of a baby's development, and is important in the formation of the gut microbiota, these scientists found that the most crucial element was the introduction of "family foods" during the transition to a "complementary" diet. Wisely choosing what your infant eats during this time can be crucial to the formation of healthy gut microbiota, and therefore, crucial to lifelong health. There sure is a lot of information out there right now about having healthy gut bacteria. Anyway, hope it's a safe, warm weekend for everyone, and I'll be back at this next week. Be healthy, my friends.

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