Natural Foods Merchandiser


Dairy-Laden Diet Linked to Parkinson's
Dairy products might do damage to the long-term health of men, but not of women.

In evaluating findings from a public health study that followed the eating patterns of more than 120,000 people, researchers discovered that men who ate the most dairy products had a higher chance of developing Parkinson's disease than those who ate the least. The biggest dairy eaters downed at least three servings per day, and the lowest ate fewer than one.

Parkinson's is a chronic disease that causes tremors, muscle rigidity and movement problems. The exact cause of the disease has eluded researchers, but recent studies have looked at a number of factors, including diet. Researchers cautioned that the disease is likely multi-factoral, and avoiding dairy products is not a silver bullet.

The findings were published in the December issue of the Annals of Neurology.

Sir Paul vs. Frankenfoods
Paul McCartney made his voice heard during the November elections in Oregon, lending assistance to the losing effort to pass the United States' first mandatory labeling law for foods that contain genetically modified ingredients.

Proposition 27 was defeated by a lopsided 71 percent "no" vote, but proponents said that was more reflective of the money poured in by opponents, such as Monsanto and DuPont. With backing from the food industry, the "no" campaign raised almost $6 million, overwhelming the $200,000 budget for the campaign to pass 27.

McCartney took time out from his North American tour to record a 30-second advertisement. "If it's labeled, then people have a choice as to what to buy," the former Beatle, longtime vegetarian and organic foods supporter said in the ad.

Produce Politics
Most Americans don't eat the five servings of fruits and vegetables per day recommended for optimum health, and California consumers from certain ethnic and income groups are getting even fewer.

The California Dietary Practices Survey, conducted last fall, evaluated results from polls taken from 1989 to 1999. For African-Americans, consumption dropped from a 1989 high of 4 servings per day to 3.2 servings in 1999. In 1989, lower-income Californians consumed 3.9 servings, but that number dropped to 3.1 by 1999. The lowest-income respondents consistently reported eating 3.4 servings of fruits and vegetables, compared with 4.5 servings for those with annual incomes greater than $50,000.

A number of factors were cited for the results. But among those surveyed, the most common response given was that fruits and vegetables are hard to find at fast food restaurants.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIV/number 2/p. 32

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