Health briefs: Having too little vitamin D can hamper daily tasks

  • Updated: July 27, 2013 - 6:33 PM
hide

Yanpeng Hou of PepsiCo placed a bowl of tofu soup into a container of liquid nitrogen to freeze it for later testing in St. Helena, Calif., in an effort to give consumers the taste they want with less salt, fat and sugar.

Photo: Thor Swift • New York Times,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

too little vitamin d can hamper ability

A study has found that low vitamin D levels in people older than 55 are associated with an inability to perform ordinary tasks of daily life. Researchers at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam studied two groups of older people — one of 725 men and women ages 55 to 65, and another of 1,237 over 65 — to see whether they could walk up or down a 15-step staircase, dress and undress, stand from a sitting position, cut their toenails, walk outside unaided for five minutes, and use their own or public transportation. They found that in both groups, a vitamin D level below 20 nanograms per milliliter was associated with an increased number of disabilities compared with those with a normal level (above 30).

breakfast may boost heart health

It sounds like it might be a wise move to stock up on oatmeal and the like. In an article in the journal Circulation, researchers found that men who skipped breakfast had a 27 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease than men who ate their morning meal — though we imagine that big daily plates of bacon and pancakes with syrup are not the ideal. The researchers from Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital also found, using a large ongoing study of mostly white men, that those who ate late at night had a 55 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease.

chefs, scientists make food healthier

The chicken thighs, smoked for two hours, then soaked in buttermilk spiked with Crystal hot sauce and dredged in flour, turned a perfect golden brown, full of the promise of succulence and crunch, under the stern watch of Chef H. Alexander Talbot.

But not one, alas, went into a salivating mouth. Rather, it was rushed under a glass “udder” bristling with slender filaments and tended by technicians, who would soon analyze it at a PepsiCo lab in Illinois for the magic that gave it such flavor and crispiness.

Other creations, destined for the same lab, went into plastic-foam containers, part of a continuing effort to find new ways to improve the nutritional quality of the giant food company’s products without losing recognizable flavors. Prodded by consumers, regulators and politicians, major food companies are under extraordinary pressure to make healthier foods. That’s where chefs come in. “The challenge facing us and other big food companies today is not easy: to have a great-tasting product without as much salt, fat and sugar,” said Greg Yep, senior vice president for long-term research and development at PepsiCo. “Chefs have ways of tricking the taste buds that we can use in our products.”

Kristopher Plummer, better known as Chef Plum from his appearances on ABC’s “The Taste” and the Food Network, said, “It’s a real challenge not to use salt, fats and sugar. But that’s what makes this so interesting.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close