Monday, 31 October 2016

Campbell–Stokes Recorder: A Simple Device That Measures Sunshine

This crystal ball located outside Darwin Airport Meteorological Office, in Darwin, Australia, doesn’t look into the future, but provides invaluable information about the past. This antique technology, called a Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder, is one of the simplest meteorological device that’s still in use today. It measures the intensity of sunshine on any given day the same way a thermometer measures temperature or a barometer measures air pressure.

The device consist of a solid glass sphere, typically about 4 inches in diameter, that concentrates the sun's rays to an intense spot on a calibrated paper, resulting in a burn. As the sun blazes across the sky, the hot image of the sun traces a scorching path on the paper. The intensity and the position of the burn indicates the time and the strength of the sunshine.
The sunshine recorder was invented by no scientist, but a renowned Scottish author and scholar, John Francis Campbell, in 1853. At that time, it was common knowledge that certain transparent glass balls, that were commonly used as paper weights, behaved like “burning glass” leaving smoking holes over desks and writing paper placed near windows. Similar unexpected combustion occurred near glasses of water, bottles, a knot in a window pane, or a bowl of goldfish. Although this behavior of glass took many people by surprise, the use of mirrors and lenses to concentrate sun’s beam has been around since the days of ancient Greek. During the siege of Syracuse in the 2nd century BC, Archimedes famously set enemy ships on fire by bouncing sun’s rays off a parabolic mirror.

Exactly what inspired an author of Celtic folklore to dabble in meteorology is a mystery, but John Francis Campbell was determined to build a device that could record the intensity of sunlight over the course of a day. Campbell couldn't get hold of a glass sphere, but he did found a hollow glass globe which he filled with water and turned it into a lens. He mounted the globe a few inches over an wooden bowl so that a concentrated beam of sunlight fell on the wood. As the sun moved across the sky, the beam scorched a path across the wood. Whenever the sun was hindered by clouds, the line would break. The length of the break indicated for how long the sun remained covered, and the position of the break on the wood indicated the time of the day. Campbell also discovered that the hotter the sun was, the deeper was the burn.

Campbell’s device was so simple and effective that it was promptly adopted by meteorologist. In 1879, Irish physicist replaced the wooden frame with metal and added removable paper cards to record the burns. The Campbell–Stokes Sunshine Recorder has remained essentially unchanged since then. The device has been the standard instrument for recording sunshine in many parts of the world for more than a century, which makes them a good source of long term and reliable data. Many old burn cards that were sitting in drawers in observatories and universities for decades are now being used by researchers to study and compare the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth, and even the cloud type and thickness in the past.

Although these antique instruments are now replaced by electronic sensors, you can still find functioning Campbell–Stokes Recorder at many meteorological offices and observatories around the world.






The Mysterious Cart Tracks of Phrygia Valley

In the Phrygian Valley of Turkey, in the west central part of Anatolia, are numerous so called “cart tracks” that crisscross across the landscape. These tracks are cut into the bedrock and are evenly spaced, as if made by the wheels of a cart or a vehicle, but much deeper than typical cart ruts. The deepest ruts are three feet deep. These tracks are somewhat similar to those found on the island of Malta.

The lack of precise dating has led some people to believe that these tracks are petrified ruts made millions of years ago by an ancient alien civilization driving heavy vehicles over the terrain that was still covered with volcanic ashes. Over the centuries, the tuffaceous deposits solidified into hard rock preserving the ruts, the same way dinosaur footprints are preserved in rocks.
According to conventional academia, the earliest roads appeared in ancient Anatolia during Hittite Empire (1600 BC– 1178 BC). Later, paths were cut into the soft rock by the Phrygians and local tribes like the Lycians and Carians. They eventually became part of the Roman road network, which covered Turkey as far as the Euphrates and beyond.

The tracks that cover Phrygian Valley are, however, older than the Hittite Empire, but not by millions of years. A study conducted in 2004 suggests that these features were likely created for agricultural purposes, rather than as roads, possibly some 5,000 years ago.

The researchers believe that the furrows were drainage lines and the area in between were garden or crop beds. Because the region was arid, the furrows were dug into the bedrock in order to retain soil and water. The regular distance between the furrows probably reflected the manageable distance for people working on them – possibly related to the length of farm tools and the reach of the farmers.

"Long stretches of single or parallel lines appear to have more to do with water management and these often have a shallow gradient, which I think is to channel the water at a constant, but gentle flow to field areas," said Claudia Sagona, an expert in the archaeology of Turkey and Malta at the University of Melbourne, who conducted the study.

"In areas that were degraded and were reclaimed as fields, soil and organic matter was imported and built up. This kind of activity is documented in the Aran Islands and in historic accounts of soil manufacture in Malta,” she added.

"This common-sense explanation will probably not stop those who want to believe aliens invaded, but I think the really amazing aspect is how resourceful and savvy ancient farmers were. They knew their land, they understood how water could be managed and they developed strategies to improve food production."






Saturday, 29 October 2016

10 Foods to Eat so You Never Have to Diet

Garlic 
This herb does more than just give meals extra flavor and scent--it can also help keep your tummy flat through its naturally occurring chemical allicin, says registered dietitian and Nutritious Life founder Keri Glassman. "Allicin kills off harmful bacteria in your digestive tract to keep your gut healthy and functioning, which means less bloat." Also, Korean researchers discovered that this member of the onion family may have an anti-obesity effect thanks to proteins being stimulated in the liver. Toss garlic in almost any poultry, pasta, or veggie dish, or add it to dressings and sauces.


Beans
When you're craving carbs, look no further than the legume family, says registered dietitian and food and nutrition consultant Rachel Begun. "Beans are unique in that they offer significant amounts of both fiber and protein in one package--one cup of black beans has a whopping 17 grams of fiber and 14 grams of protein. We're learning that fiber and protein are invaluable for weight management because both are highly satiating, meaning they leave us feeling full for longer and prevent overeating later in the day." A recent study published in the journal Obesity found that extracts from white kidney beans can reduce the absorption of calories from carbohydrates and tame sweets cravings, thanks to certain enzymes that inhibit starch digestion.

Pistachios

"In-shell pistachios are one of my go-to snacks for weight management," says Katherine Brooking, a registered dietitian and cofounder of Appetite for Health. A one-ounce serving has 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, but their real power is felt more in your eyes than your stomach. "Needing to de-shell helps you munch more slowly, and the discarded shells may also provide a visual cue to remind you of how much you've eaten, which helps put the brakes on out-of-control snacking," adds Brooking. In fact, in a study conducted at Eastern Illinois University, participants who snacked on in-shell pistachios consumed 41 percent fewer calories compared to those who ate the shelled version.

Seaweed

Perhaps we should take tips from the Japanese, whose country has one of the lowest obesity rates in the world, says registered dietitian and Appetite for Health cofounder Julie Upton. One of their staples is wakame, a type of nutrient- and protein-rich seaweed. "Compounds isolated from wakame, [known as] fucoxanthin, have been shown to help increase fat burning in animal model studies," says Upton. "More studies are currently looking at other compounds in seaweed, like alginates, that form gels in the stomach to enhance feelings of fullness." Toss seaweed into soups and salads or use it instead of lettuce in wraps and sandwiches.

JalapeƱos

Good news for those who like it hot. "JalapeƱo peppers contain an antioxidant called capsaicin, which acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory and metabolism booster," says Glassman. "Some studies have found that people who eat pepper-packed meals feel less hungry and burn more calories later." One such study conducted at Purdue University discovered that volunteers who infrequently consumed this spicy, nutrient-dense vegetable reaped more of its weight-loss benefits, a result of experiencing less hunger, especially for fatty, salty, and sweet foods. According to researchers, sprinkling red pepper on a meal "may be sustainable and beneficial in the long run, especially when paired with exercise and healthy eating." 

White potatoes

Who said all white foods are off-limits? "White potatoes are actually a slimming food," says Glassman. The reason: They're full of rich resistant starch, a compound that ferments in the gut and creates butyrate, a fatty acid that may spur your body to burn more fat. A study published in the journal Diabetes found that butyrate also improved insulin sensitivity and increased energy expenditure in mice.

Mangos
While these juicy stone fruits are naturally filling due to their fiber content--a medium one contains 3 grams--that's not the only reason they help peel off the pounds. "New research from Oklahoma State University indicates that mangoes may lower blood sugar, which can help to control cravings, especially for carbs, thus keeping your willpower intact," says Brooking. And good news: Since mangoes are grown in tropical climates all over the world, they're available year-round.

Yogurt

It's more than just a low-cal standby. "The calcium in yogurt may help lower calcitrol in the body, which helps turn on fat burning and turn down fat storage," says Brooking. "Plus, the beneficial probiotics in yogurt feed your gut, and we now know that gut microbes in those who are a healthy weight are different than in those who are obese." The way yogurt is made, which includes fermentation, also gives it higher concentrations of protein, B-vitamins, calcium, potassium, and magnesium compared to milk, making it the ultimate dairy food.

Avocado

More than 80 percent of the calories in avocados are from fat--but they're still incredibly good for you, says Upton. "Research shows that people who eat avocados have lower BMIs, and a recent study of overweight men and women found that adding avocados to lunch increased satisfaction by 22 percent. It also reduced desire to eat over the next three hours by 24 percent." The study authors suggest that the fiber, unsaturated fat content, and a blood-sugar-lowering sugar called D-mannoheptulose may play a role in helping steady blood sugar levels and keeping appetite in check.

Artichokes

These veggies are rich in fiber, with each medium-size one packing 6 grams. "Fiber is valuable if you're trying to lose weight because it actually slows digestion so that you feel full longer," says Glassman. "It also means more volume for fewer calories." And artichokes promote good gut health. They contain indigestible nutrients, called prebiotics, that help support the good bacteria in your digestive system, which can deflate belly bloat and flatten your tummy.

15 Reasons You Should Be Drinking Lemon Water Every Morning

If you are looking for an easy trick to improve your life and overall health, than look no further. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning is a pretty simple routine to get into and will have tremendous effects on your overall health. 
According to the Ayurvedic philosophy, choices you make regarding your daily routine either build up resistance to diseases or tear it down.
So what are you waiting for to jump start your day with this incredible easy morning routine. Its benefits are endless and I listed the 15 most important ones for you in this article.

1.    Improves Digestion

Lemon juice has a similar structure to your stomach’s juices and helps to loosen and flush out toxins from the digestive tract. Lemon juice can help ease indigestion, heartburn, and bloating. It also helps to move your bowels in the morning, hydrates your colon, stimulate bile production, and infuses water in your stool.

2.    Boost Immune System.

Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C, which helps strengthen the immunes system and fights cold and flu. But not only vitamin C is important for a good working immune system, iron is another important nutrient, and lemons improve the ability to absorb more iron from the food you eat.

3.    Hydrates Your Body

It is important to stay hydrated. Especially during the summer months. Plain water is best, but many people find this boring and are not drinking enough of it. That’s where lemon comes into play to make things more interesting. So feel free to not only start your day with lemon water, but drink as many glasses as you wish during the day to stay hydrated.

4.    Boost Energy

Lemon water gives you an instant boost of energy and improves your mood right at the start of your day.

5.    Promote Healthy And Rejuvenated Skin

Lemons are a rich sources of antioxidants that prevent free radical damage. These free radicals are responsible for pre-mature aging of your skin. Vitamin C helps to maintain your skin’s elasticity to prevent the formation of wrinkles and decrease blemishes.

6.    Reduce Inflammation

Lemons have the ability to remove uric acid from your joints. Uric acid built-ups are one of the major causes of inflammation.

7.    Weight Loss Aid

Although lemon water on its own is no weight loss miracle, it can definitely help you to achieve faster and long term results. Lemons assist in fighting hunger cravings, boost metabolism, and give you a stuffed feeling, making it less likely to snack in between meals.

8.    Alkalize Your Body

Although lemons have a sour taste, they are one of the most alkalizing food sources on Earth. Too much acids can cause inflammation, obesity, and major diseases like cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.Click here to learn more about the importance of alkalizing your body.

9.    Cleansing Properties

Lemons help your entire body to flush out more toxins to prevent built-ups and damage to your cells, tissues, and organs. It stimulates your liver to produce more enzymes and work more efficiently. Lemon juice works as a diuretic to keep your urinary tract toxin-free and can also change the pH levels which discourage bacterial growth. This is very helpful for people who often suffer from UTI (urinary tract infection). And like mentioned before, lemons loosen and flush out waste from your digestive tract and cleanse your colon.

10.Antibacterial and Antiviral Properties

Lemons have antibacterial and antiviral properties. They help fight the flu, cold, and soothe a sore throat. Although people who drink their daily lemon water every day are less likely to get these in the first place.

11.Reduce Mucus And Phlegm

Lemon water helps to reduce mucus and phlegm formation. People who drink cow’s milk are often more sensitive for mucus production. So starting your day with lemon water can definitely help to lessen mucus if you’re not ready to go dairy-free.

12.Freshen Breath

Lemons freshen your breath and fight mouth bacteria. Although lemons are great for your overall oral health, avoid drinking or using it undiluted. The citric acid can erode tooth enamel, so don’t brush your teeth with it, but have a glass of lemon water instead.

13.Boost Brain Power

The high levels of potassium and magnesium show beneficial effects on our brain and nerve health. Lemon water can give you the boost you need to fight depression and stress. It creates mental clarity and more focus, making it a great drink for students or people with busy and stressful jobs.

14.Anti-cancer

Lemon’s antioxidants not only protect your skin from ageing, but also reduce the risk of several types of cancer. They are great in neutralizing acids as well. Cancer loves to grow in an acidic environment. Alkalizing your body may stop cancer cells to grow and may reduce the risk of getting cancer in the first place.

15.Get Of Caffeine

Many people are able to get off caffeine by replacing their morning coffee by lukewarm lemon water. It gives a similar energy boost to wake your body and boost energy as one cup of coffee would.

How To Make Lemon Water

Making lemon water is super simple. It takes less than 5 minutes of your precious morning time. Just squeeze half a lemon in lukewarm water. If you weigh more than 150 pounds, use a whole lemon.
Why use lukewarm (or room temperature) instead of cold or hot water to make this healing morning drink? Well, hot or cold water takes more energy to process, so your first glass in the morning should be lukewarm or at room temperature to slowly wake your body and kick start digestion.
If you love the taste feel free to add more lemon water to your diet during the rest of the day, cold or hot. It adds up to your daily water need, is less boring than plain water, and adds tons of benefits for body and mind.

5 Foods That'll Make You Look Younger

1. Sweet Potatoes 
Beta-carotene, which makes these tubers orange, balances your skin's pH, helps combat dryness, and promotes cell turnover, all resulting in smoother skin.


2. Wild Salmon

The pigment that makes the fish pink, astaxanthin, is a powerful foe of free radicals, rogue molecules that damage cell membranes and DNA and cause skin to age. A study found that eating one serving every five days can prevent actinic keratoses-ugly rough patches that are precancerous.
3. Tomatoes
The fruit's red pigment, lycopene, is a potent antioxidant that shields skin from sun damage-like sunscreen, but from the inside out. To best absorb lycopene, eat tomatoes with olive oil.

4. Citrus Fruits

Vitamin C is essential to building collagen, a vital component of young-looking skin, which starts breaking down in your twenties. Citrus also contains bioflavonoids, which protect skin from UV rays and help prevent cell death.
5. Leafy Greens
Spinach, kale, and other greens contain lutein, which protects skin from sun-induced inflammation and wrinkles. 

Stay Away From White Foods 
Need another reason to avoid white bread, pasta, rice, and other refined grain products? They're quickly broken down into the ultimate white food: sugar. Once in the bloodstream, sugar bonds with protein and creates advanced glycation end products (aptly abbreviated AGEs), which cause collagen to become inflamed and stiff, leading to wrinkles.


Why Food Is Always Better Than a Pill

"There are so many factors in food that haven't been studied. It's very likely that these unknowns work synergistically for a bigger benefit than what you can find in a supplement." -Nicholas Perricone, dermatologist
According to dermatologist Leslie Baumann, red wine contains skin-friendly grape-seed extract and resveratrol, two powerful antioxidants. Hops in beer, it turns out, may also offer antioxidant benefits. 

Is Bacon Bad For You, or Good? The Salty, Crunchy Truth

Many people have a love-hate relationship with bacon. They love the taste and crunchiness, but are still worried that all that processed meat and fat may be harming them. Well, there are many myths in the history of nutrition that haven’t stood the test of time. Is the idea that bacon causes harm one of them? Let’s find out…
How is Bacon Made?
There are different types of bacon and the final product can vary between manufacturers. Bacon is most commonly made from pork, the meat from pigs, although you can also find “bacon” made from the meat of other animals like turkey. Bacon typically goes through a curing process, where the meat is soaked in a solution of salt, nitrates, spices and sometimes sugar. In some cases the bacon is smoked afterwards.
The curing is done in order to preserve the meat. The high salt makes the meat an unfriendly environment for bacteria to live in and the nitrates also fight bacteria and help the bacon preserve its red color. Bacon is a processed meat, but the amount of processing and the ingredients used vary between manufacturers.

Bacon is Loaded With Fats… But They’re “Good” Fats
The fats in bacon are about 50% monounsaturated and a large part of those is oleic acid. This is the same fatty acid that olive oil is praised for and generally considered “heart-healthy” (1). Then about 40% is saturated fat, accompanied by a decent amount of cholesterol.
But we now know that saturated fat isn’t harmful and cholesterol in the diet doesn’t affect cholesterol in the blood. Nothing to fear (23). Depending on what the animal ate, about 10% are polyunsaturated fatty acids (mostly Omega-6). These are the “bad” fats in bacon, because most people already eat too much of them (4). However, if you choose bacon from pastured pigs that ate a natural diet, then this won’t be much of an issue. If your pigs are commercially fed, with plenty of soy and corn (like most pigs are), then the bacon may contain enough Omega-6 to cause problems.

Bacon is Fairly Nutritious
Meat tends to be very nutritious and bacon is no exception. A typical 100g portion of cooked bacon contains (5):
  • 37 grams of high quality animal protein.
  • Lots of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12.
  • 89% of the RDA for Selenium.
  • 53% of the RDA for Phosphorus.
  • Decent amounts of the minerals iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium.
Bacon is also pretty high in sodium, which makes sense given how it is cured with sodium during processing. I personally think the risks of sodium are way overblown. Some studies show that excess sodium can elevate blood pressure and raise risk of heart disease, while other studies show that too little sodium leads to the opposite result (67). If you’re already avoiding the biggest sources of sodium in the diet (processed, packaged foods) then I don’t think you need to worry about the amount of sodium in bacon. For healthy people who don’t have high blood pressure, there is no evidence that eating a bit of sodium causes harm (8).

Nitrates, Nitrites and Nitrosamines
Now that we know saturated fat, cholesterol and normal amounts of sodium are usually nothing to worry about, this leaves us with the nitratesApparently, some studies conducted by some scientists a long time ago linked nitrates with cancer. However, these studies have since been refuted (9). Nitrates aren’t some artificial compounds unique to bacon. Our bodies are loaded with them and the biggest dietary source is vegetables. Yes, vegetables are loaded with nitrates. Even our saliva contains massive amounts of them. These are compounds that are natural parts of human bodily processes.
There is some concern that during high heat cooking, the nitrates can form compounds called nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens (10). However, vitamin c is now frequently added to the curing process, which effectively reduces the nitrosamine content (11). The harmful effects of nitrosamines are outweighed by potential benefits, but dietary nitrates may also be converted to Nitric Oxide, associated with improved immune function and cardiovascular health (1213).

Other Potentially Harmful Compounds
When it comes to cooking meat, we need to find balance. Too much is bad, too little can be even worse. If we use too much heat and burn the meat, it will form harmful compounds like Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Heterocyclic Amines – which are associated with cancer (14).
On the other hand, some meats may contain pathogens like bacteria, viruses and parasites. For this reason, we need to cook meat well enough to kill the bacteria. So cook your bacon properly. It should be crunchy, but not burnt.

What The Studies Say
There are concerns when it comes to bacon and other processed meats. Many observational studies do show a link between consumption of processed meat, cancer and heart disease. In particular, processed meat has been associated with cancer of the colon, breast, liver, lung and others (1516). There is also an association between processed meat and cardiovascular disease.
A large meta-analysis of prospective studies on meat consumption did show that while regular meat had no effect, processed meat was significantly associated with both heart disease and diabetes (17). Of course, those who eat processed meat are also more likely to smoke, exercise less and live an overall unhealthier lifestyle than people who don’t.
People who are eating processed meat in these studies may be eating them with pancakes, soft drinks or beer and might even have ice cream for dessert afterwards. Therefore, we can’t draw too many conclusions from these findings. Correlation does not equal causation.  

How to Make The Right Choices
As with most other types of meats, the quality of the final product depends on a lot of things, including what the animals ate and how the product was processed. The best bacon is from pasture-raised pigs that ate a diet that is appropriate for pigs.
If you can, buy bacon from local farmers that used traditional processing methods. If you don’t have the option of purchasing your bacon directly from the farmer, then eat supermarket bacon at your own risk. Generally speaking, the less artificial ingredients in a product, the better. You can buy nitrate free bacon, but I don’t think it’s worth the extra cost. Nitrates are probably harmless. If you want to make your own bacon, you can buy pork belly and then process or prepare the bacon yourself.

Take Home Message
There are several studies showing that bacon is linked to cancer and heart disease, but all of them are so-called epidemiological studies, which can not prove causation. 

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Cop Didn’t Expect This When He Broke Into A Car To Save A Baby (4 pics)

A cop saw a baby alone in a hot car and quickly reacted. He broke into the car to rescue him but was very surprised to discover that the baby wasn’t real…




The Town of Bull Puns

One hundred sixty kilometers north of Wellington, in New Zealand, at the junction of State Highways 1 and 3, lies the small town of Bull. You’ll know when you reach it when you see the welcoming sign: “Herd of bulls? It's a town like no udder.”

Named after James Bull, an English settler who established the first general store in the town in 1862, Bull’s residents and businesses have made the most of its name with puns galore. Every local business, shop and even the town administration plays along with the punning. The police station is called “Const-a-bull”, the church “Forgive-a-bull”, and the medical center “Cure-a-bull”. Likewise, the town hall is “Social-a-bull”, the tourist information center “Inform-a-bull” and all the publics loos are “Reliev-a-bull”. The gift shop is “Desire-a-bull”, and a cold store “Freeze-a-bull”. The pun just never stops. Even its sister city is the cleverly picked Cowes, in England.








Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Clever, Funny And True Illustrations About Our Modern World (14 pics)

In the subway
Lovers
21st century problems

Making decisions

Follow me

Crop circles

The essence of modern fashion

The art of taking a selfie

Love
Witness to a crime

A meeting

Mental crisis

Success
Independence

Goldie Hawn And Kurt Russell Don’t Care About The Paparazzi (5 pics)

Famous Hollywood couple isn’t annoyed at all by the paparazzi compared to other celebs who try to hide or get away from them or showing them obscene gestures or even attack them… But Kurt and Goldie look really happy to see the ‘paps.’





7 Lies the Food Industry Sells Us

Don’t be fooled by packaging. Here are seven misleading words you’ll run into at restaurants and grocery stores … and how to find the truth behind the advertising.
The Lie: Healthy Fast Food
From salads to oatmeal to grilled chicken, plenty of fast food restaurants offer a handful of so-called healthy alternatives to the fried, cheesy, and bacon-y stuff. Turns out those healthy-sounding options aren’t necessarily even any healthier than the regular items on the menu. Take McDonald’s for example: the New York Times found that their oatmeal contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than their cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin. And the grilled chicken in their Premium Caesar Salad? Surprisingly, it contains rib meat, along with a bunch of additives.
Get the Truth: Always read nutrition labels and look up the ingredients and nutritional info when possible (readily available online when it comes to chain restaurants) before you chow down. If something as simple as grilled chicken has 11 ingredients you can’t pronounce, move along.
The Lie: All Natural
Plenty of food products, from soda to granola bars, have “natural” or “natural ingredients” on the label … and it definitely sounds healthy. But what does it actually mean? Unless it’s meat or poultry, whatever the company behind the product wants it to, for the most part.
Get the Truth: Unlike meat and poultry, which is regulated by the US Department of Agriculture, other products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. And it turns out, the FDA has no official definition of the term “natural” or its derivatives. They only go so far as saying they don’t object to the use of the term “if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances” which gives companies pretty generous leeway. Before being fooled by a food that’s labeled “natural,” ask yourself: can I make this in my own kitchen? If you can’t pronounce half of the ingredients on the label, let alone define or find them in a supermarket, they’re probably not as natural as the branding would like you to believe. 
The Lie: Whole Grain
Whole grains have been shown to reduce your risks of type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, and cardiovascular disease. So bring on the whole-grain crackers, right? Not so fast. Some products labeled “whole grain” actually contain very little of it—and some contain none at all.
Get the Truth: Look on the packaging for stamps and certifications from third parties like the Whole Grain Council. And make sure a whole grain (like whole oats or whole barley flour) is listed first on the list of ingredients. Ingredients are always listed in a descending order, from greatest amount to least amount. If it’s second, it may make up as little as 1 percent of the product.
The Lie: Multi-Grain
Multi-grain is touted on food packaging as if it’s healthy for you, but all “multi-grain” means is that there are multiple kinds of grains in the product—often the unhealthy refined kind. And the kind of grain is more important than how many there are.
Get the Truth: Flip the package to see if whole grains are listed first in the list of ingredients to get the most health bang for your buck. And make sure “whole” is in front of every grain listed.
The Lie: Artisan
The “artisan” label evokes images of small-batch cooking and skilled chefs perusing farmer’s markets for fresh ingredients. But it’s a word not regulated by the FDA, which means anyone can use it any way they want, even with bulk quantities of frozen food. Case in point, an “artisan egg sandwich”… made by Wendy’s.
Get the Truth: Dig to find out how a food is made and what it’s made from. If it’s filled with artificial flavors, trans fats, and additives, cooked by microwave, and produced in mass quantities for huge chain restaurants and fast food place, there’s likely nothing “artisan” about it.
The Lie: Made With Real…
Cheesy crackers made with real cheese. Snack bars made with real fruit. Sure, they’re made with real cheese and fruit… and plenty of other stuff too. Take Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain raspberry bars—”real fruit” is on the label, and they even added “no high-fructose corn syrup” to make it sound healthier. But really, the “real fruit” is listed as raspberry puree concentrate…and it’s only third on the list, after invert sugar and corn syrup.
Get the Truth: Look at the ingredient list, not the packaging. And remember that even if the list does include real cheese or real whole fruit, it still may be sharing space with a whole bunch of junk. If a product has to cover its package in claims that it’s “real” food, be skeptical.
The Lie: Made with 100% real/pure…
But surely 100% real must mean something, right? Not really. Whether it’s sugary juice drinks made with 100% real fruit juice or a Betty Crocker casserole-in-a-box made with 100% real potatoes, the packaging doesn’t tell the whole story. The “made with 100% real” is a particularly deceptive kind of trickery, because it intentionally reads like the entire product is 100% made up of that ingredient. For things like fruit juice, that’s easy to buy into—until you read the label.
Get the Truth: Yep, I’m going to tell you—again—to read the list of ingredients! Take juice for example—the fruit juice inside may indeed be 100% fruit juice, but often it’s also mixed in with extra sugar, and the 100% real fruit juice only makes up 50% of what’ll end up in your drink. 

The True Impacts of Sugar on Your Health

We know much more about nutrition than we did 20 or 30 years ago. We've learned to cut back on processed foods, scrutinize labels, and emphasize organic produce. But then there's sugar. And as we've come to learn, added sugar and health don't mix.
We've known for a long time that sugar is not our friend, but for many people it's as hard to quit as an addictive drug. This is no coincidence. Refined sugar does cause addiction in the brain, making it seem impossible to control our cravings.
The statistics are alarming. The average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. Children eat 32. This massive addiction is growing, too. In fact, sugar and sugar substitutes are found in many more foods today than even 10 years ago. Around 1990, the average person ate about 70 pounds of sugar each year. In 1999, U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that number to be over 150 pounds, much of that from high-fructose corn syrup. Sugar has gone from being a special treat to a daily part of our diet. And the massive rise in diseases related to unhealthy blood sugar levels, from obesity and metabolic syndrome to diabetes and Alzheimer's, among others, certainly seems to mirror that increase. Is this a coincidence? Hardly.
Sugar and Insulin
Naturally occurring sugars found in fruits and vegetables are not a real concern. These foods have fiber, vitamins, minerals—the complete package that allows your body to process the sugars in a healthy way. Refined sugar, on the other hand, is basically a chemical extract, separated from all the healthy aspects of the original food, be it sugar cane or sugar beets, from which it was derived. 
Refined sugar has zero nutritional value, but it can sure wreak havoc on our bodies. First off, it spikes glucose (blood sugar) levels. Insulin, the hormone that tells cells to take in glucose, spikes as well. Increased insulin levels tell the body to form fat and release more cortisol, a stress hormone that damages immunity and increases inflammation. These increases can also lead to insulin resistance in cells, causing excess circulating glucose. And this triggers a cascade of harmful effects, fueling chronic inflammation and wreaking havoc through the body. Left unchecked, this process can directly lead to metabolic syndrome and, later on, to type 2 diabetes.
Glucose spikes are one of the reasons sugar is so hard to quit. The increased production of insulin, cortisol, and even adrenaline they cause has an addictive quality. The brief high is followed by a rapid drop. We want more sugar to sustain our energy after the glucose crash.
Sugar's Multiple Dangers
If the only worriesome effect of sugar were that it disrupts our glucose metabolism, that would be enough to warrant reducing our consumption, but it goes far beyond that.
Refined sugar also has a bad relationship with cardiovascular health. For example, one study showed that people with high sugar intakes had much lower levels of HDL good cholesterol, as well as high triglycerides. In addition, the chronic inflammation caused by increased cortisol has been linked to cancer, heart disease, and other conditions.
Sugar consumption also has a suppressive effect on the immune system that lasts for hours after ingestion. So if you have some sugar with each meal, you are effectively suppressing your immune system all day long.
Your Brain on Sugar
One of the scariest aspects of sugar toxicity is its relationship to cognitive health. One study, conducted by the Mayo Clinic, found that people over age 70 who ate lots of sugar dramatically increased their risk for cognitive impairment.
This is not an isolated finding. A UCLA study found that fructose damaged memory and learning. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that higher glucose levels are linked to dementia. Other studies have made similar findings. In fact, some researchers are even calling Alzheimer's disease type 3 diabetes.
As if that weren't enough, sugar can help unbalance the levels of good to bad bacteria in our guts, leading to chronic infections. Undesirable organisms like yeast and other fungi enjoy feeding on the sugar we've eaten and flourish when there's plenty to go around. These imbalances are also linked to allergies, ADD, skin conditions, hypertension, and manic depression.
Real-World Solutions
If you were to ask me how much refined sugar is allowable, I would say none. However, that's not a realistic goal for most people. The idea is to cut back on sugar and, when we do indulge, to maximize our body's ability to process it.
Try not to eat sweets by themselves. Instead, combine them with foods that are high in protein, healthy oils, or fiber. These help the body metabolize the sugar, and that can reduce glucose spikes. It's definitely better to have a piece of cake after a healthy meal than as a snack on its own.
Probiotics are also important because they digest sugars for their own fuel, so they can minimize glucose spikes after a sugary meal. By adding friendly probiotic bacteria to our diets in the form of fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt as well as supplements, we also improve nutrient absorption, glucose metabolism, and overall digestive health.
Natural Glucose Control
There are a number of botanicals that have been shown to help control glucose spikes and improve digestion. Lipoic acid raises insulin sensitivity and can also help lower blood pressure, and alginates, which are derived from brown kelp, slow down sugar absorption. Medicinal mushrooms have also been shown to control blood sugar. In fact, a couple of recent papers have indicated they might be useful in managing type 2 diabetes. The herb fenugreek has received attention from the research community for its ability to regulate blood sugar. American ginseng and holy basil leaf can be helpful, as well.
Look for a metabolic support supplement that includes these and other ingredients to balance glucose and insulin levels. Getting those levels in balance moderates cravings because reducing glucose spikes helps prevent the inevitable crashes that make us reach for more sweets. A balanced metabolic support formula is an excellent way to reduce the impacts of sugar and help lessen cravings.
While sugar can be classified as an addictive substance, there is a relative upside to this equation: The less sugar we consume, the less we want. This is a great advantage as we try to cut down. We eat less, crave less, and feel much better. Now, that's pretty sweet!