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How religious fervor and anti-regulation zealotry laid the groundwork for America’s $36 billion supplement industry

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Courtesy Conor Heffernan, University of Texas at Austin

Spend any time watching TV or scrolling through social media and you will inevitably see advertisements for pills, powders, and potions that promise to build muscle, lose body fat, improve your focus, and revitalize your youth.

Most of us have used them. At the last count, the National Center for Health Statistics found that over 50% of all adults in America had consumed a dietary supplement in the past 30 days. The center used data from 2017 and 2018, but recent surveys suggest that this number is closer to over 70%.

Globally, the dietary supplement industry is expected to be worth over $ 140 billion by 2020. In the United States alone, this is estimated to be around $ 36 billion, despite evidence that most of these supplements don’t work.

How did products with questionable benefits and expensive prices become mainstream? Diet supplements are not a new phenomenon. Their history dates back at least 150 years, and they have thrived in the United States thanks to false promises, fanatical followers, and weak regulation.

Make you want alternatives

Given the eccentric claims that supplement labels can adorn, it may not come as a surprise that some of the early supplement enthusiasts were religious figures. Their supplements weren’t pills, they were food alternatives.

Sylvester Graham, born in 1794, was an American Presbyterian who preached salvation through a vegetarian diet.

Part of Graham’s teaching focused on moderation and whole grain foods. Graham’s followers made graham bread, crackers, and flour and marketed them with the promise that these products would promote righteous living and eternal salvation.

Graham crackers, made from coarse wheat flour, were whipped as a healthy alternative to traditional bread. Transcendental Graphics / Getty Images

Although Graham did not officially endorse these products, his spiritual successor, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, an avid supporter of his family’s new grocery line. As a doctor, inventor, and businessman in one, Kellogg ran his own Michigan spa – the Battle Creek Sanitarium – in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although he didn’t make corn flakes – that was his brother Will – Kellogg was responsible for marketing flour, protein substitutes, cereal, and peanut butter. Like Graham products, Kellogg’s foods have been associated with improved health and virtue.

Graham crackers and granola may seem relatively harmless compared to some health and wellness products sold today, such as detox teas and vitamin-rich water. But they were still important in getting the still strong message behind most of the supplements we see today: this product will improve your health and life.

Fitness supplements are all the rage

In teaching this topic to students, I share a discovery that historians John Fair and Daniel Hall made while researching the history of protein powders.

Sometime in the 1940s, American nutritionist Paul Bragg turned to barbell maker Bob Hoffman.

At the time, Hoffman was making a small fortune selling his York barbell exercise equipment in the United States. Bragg had now firmly established himself as a leading expert on alternative nutrition. Sensing a potentially lucrative partnership, Bragg wrote to Hoffman with an idea.

Dr.  Paul Bragg viewed dietary supplements as a financial godsend as they had to be replenished over and over again.  Stuart William Macgladrie / Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Dr. Paul Bragg viewed dietary supplements as a financial godsend as they had to be replenished over and over again. Stuart William Macgladrie / Fairfax Media via Getty Images

In the letter, Bragg Hoffman shared the fundamental flaw in his York business: his products were durable. If someone bought a barbell set in the 1930s, it was likely they could still use it in the 1950s. Bragg recommended selling supplements that should be replaced every two weeks or monthly.

Hoffman decided to give up the partnership with Bragg, but soon realized the potential of the idea. In the 1950s, nutritionist and bodybuilding coach Irving Johnson began selling protein supplements in Hoffman’s Strength & Health Magazine. Johnson’s “Hi Protein” powder made from soy was a huge success.

Within a year, Hoffman banned Johnson from his magazine and began selling his own “Hi-Proteen” powder. Protein supplements grew in size and scope as an industry. Soy protein products were eventually replaced with milk protein powder in the 1960s. There were several other derivatives in the late 1990s, ranging from pea protein to collagen powders.

The size and scope of the other offerings grew over time. Vitamin and mineral supplements became popular in the 1950s. Energy drinks and energy boosters like creatine started flying off shelves in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Prohormones – which were supposed to be supposed to build muscle and were eventually banned – were introduced in the early 2000s. Profits skyrocketed every decade, as did creativity in product branding.

Unusual promises were the order of the day. Vitamin manufacturers promised cancer-curing products, protein powders promoted steroid-like effects, while pre-workout dietary supplements – often fortified with methamphetamines – offered limitless energy.

The government agencies did little to stop them.

The struggling FDA

It wasn’t because there was a lack of trying. The dietary supplement industry and federal agencies have long been playing a game of cat and mouse.

When Hoffman and others began selling nutritional supplements, they were technically subject to the guidelines of the Food and Drug Administration. But by the 1950s, the FDA was ill-equipped to regulate dietary supplements. However, some of the outlandish claims and unsanitary practices used by the manufacturers caught the attention of the regulator, which soon sought more scrutiny.

In the 1960s, Hoffman – who routinely claimed his products added pounds of muscle in no time – became a target for the FDA. The secret of his Hi-Proteen powder? A large mixing container in which he mixed Hershey’s chocolate powder with soy protein powder with an oar.

Hoffman was regularly censored but never stopped. During the 1960s and 1970s, the FDA regularly attacked manufacturers for their lax production methods and incredulous claims.

The problem was that the FDA was never able to fully regulate the industry.

From 1968 to 1970, Congress held several public hearings on the FDA’s plans to regulate nutritional supplements. Legislators, trade associations of dietary supplements, manufacturers and citizens discussed restrictions and bans on certain products, such as that the sale of dietary supplements with nutrients that make up more than 150% of the recommended daily intake is illegal.

Public and private outcry stopped such plans. The FDA was forced to agree to a light-touch regulation. In 1975 a court ruling allowed dietary supplements to be advertised as natural. A year later, the Rogers Proxmire Act banned the FDA from limiting vitamin and mineral amounts in dietary supplements.

The FDA reserved the right to pursue unsubstantiated or misleading claims, but this did little to hold back the industry. The number of products continued to grow.

Simply put, it became impossible to see what was going into the products. This also explains why so many supplements contain a statement that they are not FDA approved or recommended.

In the early 1990s, the FDA resumed its efforts to regulate the dietary supplement industry. In particular, the agency wanted to strengthen its own enforcement powers while making the advertising of therapeutic claims on dietary supplement labels illegal. Once again, private lobbying and public outrage diluted the agency’s powers.

In 1994, Congress passed the Health Education Act on Dietary Supplements, which completely changed the food landscape. Dietary supplements were now classified as food, not drugs or food additives. By classifying dietary supplements as food rather than medicine, the law reduced the burden of proof to back up the manufacturers’ claims.

The classification of dietary supplements as food allowed manufacturers to bypass the strict FDA regulations for drugs.  JW LTD / Getty Images

The classification of dietary supplements as food allowed manufacturers to bypass the strict FDA regulations for drugs. JW LTD / Getty Images

The legislation also expanded which products can be classified as dietary supplements – and therefore do not fall under the FDA’s area of ​​responsibility.

Nowadays, manufacturers are given the responsibility to self-regulate their potentially harmful products. This leaves manufacturers open to lawsuits, but can be a long and drawn-out process for consumers. In fact, nutritional supplements are put on the market before they are thoroughly tested. Many products are sold even though they contain prohibited substances.

A single promise wrapped in a pill

Since the mid-20th century, nutritional supplements have been advertised in a variety of ways in the United States. But given the differences in product, taste, and price, they have generally been marketed on the basis of a single promise: this product will in some ways make your life better.

Whether or not this is the case for the individual product – some supplements actually work, such as creatine – it has become problematic on a broader basis. Federal agencies in the US have been constantly prevented from properly monitoring the market. Private lobbying and public outrage that the government is trying to “take your vitamins away” has sparked malpractice and dangerous news.

A 2018 study found 776 cases of unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients added to dietary supplements between 2007 and 2016 in the United States. Many of these additives were relatively harmless. But some ingredients – from steroid compounds to banned weight loss drugs – weren’t.

Dietary supplements can promise a lot. But in reality most of them are articles of faith.

[Over 100,000 readers rely on The Conversation’s newsletter to understand the world. Sign up today.]

Conor Heffernan, Assistant Professor of Physical Culture and Sport Studies, University of Texas at Austin

This article was republished by The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News

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For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, theatre@parkland.edu or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at TKleparski@parkland.edu or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.

STEVICK CENTER ACTIVITIES

Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Bingo:

  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.

Bridge:

  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.

Euchar:

Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.

HOT LUNCH PROGRAM

The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.

Sunday:

  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.

Tuesday:

  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.

Tuesday:

  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.

Tuesday:

  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.

Friday:

  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at rsvpchampaign@gmail.com or 217-359-6500.

CURRENT NEEDS

Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at rsvpchampaign@gmail.com or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice

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By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?

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In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.

Summary

Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!

Summary

When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.

Summary

Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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