A follow-up on B12. In a study published in Neurology, people with low levels of B12 were associated with doubling the risk of Alzheimer’s. And, the Rotterdam Study, which investigated 3,884 elderly men and women with depressive disorders, found that participants with vitamin B12 deficiency were nearly 70% more likely to experience depression than those with normal levels. More research is needed to understand the role of vitamin B12 in health, but it seems clear that you should aim to fill your B12 nutrition needs through foods and supplements. B12 is inexpensive and easily available in sublingual form (5000 mcg/day).

‘Juicing’ is hot right now-a flashback to the 70’s when diet shakes and liquid diets first entered our lexicon (yes, I’m that old). Today there are energy drinks, sports and meal replacement drinks, smoothies, etc., and some may be an effective way to increase your daily nutrient intake, but beware; some may be counterproductive. I was at Costco the other day and there was a crowd around the ‘Vita-Mix’. The Barker sounded convincing: “Get all of your servings of fruits and vegetables in a simple smoothie, once a day.” But, is it really true? Can you get the calories and vitamins/minerals in a glass, and can they help you lose weight? Here’s the scoop, according to an article in Environmental Nutrition, June, 2013. ┬áIt’s been well-documented that sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas and juices contribute to chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. A 2010 study published in Diabetes Care found that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks is strongly associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and weight gain. However, other beverages, such as smoothies and sports drinks, also add calories without contributing much to satiety. A 2008 review published in Obesity Reviews suggests that fluid calories are not recognized by the body in the same way solid foods are. Liquid calories do littles to suppress ghrelin-the body’s hunger-suppressing hormone, as effectively as solid foods are. This means you may feel hungry even after you’ve finished a high-calorie smoothie, juice, or milkshake. Typically, people consuming liquid calories do not compensate for those extra calories from reducing their intake from food, resulting in more calories consumed. This was the case in the Nurses’ Health Study, which followed over 50,000 women for eight years. The study found that women who reduced their intake of sugar-sweetened beverages cut their daily intake by an average of 319 calories. Other participants who increased their intake of such beverages from one per week to one or more per day ended up consuming an extra 358 calories each day. If you’re trying to lose weight, stick with water and other zero calorie beverages like tea or plain coffee. Instead of fruit juice, eat the piece of fruit instead. You’ll end up more satisfied and less likely to overeat throughout the day.

A note on my video production: I need to practice and learn a lot more about it-like getting a microphone. The ones I shot are barely audible.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.