Food Pharmacy

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Happy Easter!

After a few refreshing days in the countryside, where the days were filled with cliff walks, icy dips in the spring water, an Easter salad and discussions that were actually followed by excess time to allow reflection, we are now back at home. We just want to wish you a nice Easter weekend and we hope you too will have time to do whatever it is your heart desires. Our plans include things like, a booked massage and some down time with Netflix. Happy Easter!

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Food Pharmacy

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The Dutch Have Antibiotic Resistance Under Control

Antibiotic resistance is a growing issue, the current prognosis is that by 2050 it could be the cause of more deaths than cancer, even though the number of deaths from cancer is estimated to have tripled by then. Whoa!

Fortunately, there has been a lot of research in the area over the past decades and guidelines for treatment with antibiotics have changed. We know now that restrictive use is the key to success, but unfortunately, not all countries are equally capable of ensuring that doctors only recommend an antibiotic course when it is truly needed.

The Scandinavian countries are often raised as a role model, but they are not alone. One country that has the problem of antibiotic resistance under control is the Netherlands. UMC Utrecht reports that, if someone contracts a multi-resistant bacteria in the Netherlands, the risk of death is not greater than if they had contracted a bacteria which can currently be treated with antibiotics.

The fact that the Netherlands has antibiotic resistance under control is probably due to Dutch doctors, like many Scandinavian doctors, prescribing relatively few doses of antibiotics to their patients. And, when they write out a prescription, it is rarely the type of broad spectrum antibiotics that fight many different bacteria simultaneously, but rather forms that are directed towards a specific bacteria. This too helps to keep antibiotic resistance in check.

In contrast to many other countries, the laboratories in the Netherlands are also quick to analyze the bacteria, which means that people infected with resistant bacteria quickly get the right antibiotics. The Dutch are also proactive in preventing the spread of resistant bacteria. Patients seeking care in hospital need to, for example, inform the staff if they have sought care abroad and such cases are isolated until it is known if they are infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Go Netherlands!

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Food Pharmacy

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What Time of Year Are We Getting Vitamin D From the Sun?

You have probably heard that the body forms vitamin D when the sun shines on our skin. But did you know that it only works in the summer? In order for the body to be able to form vitamin D from the sun’s rays, the sun must be at least 45 degrees above the horizon. Which, if you find yourself living above the 37th parallel (37 degrees latitude), it tends not to for about half of the year during the winter months of November to March. This “Vitamin D winter” gets even longer the further north you live. Take Sweden for example, where vitamin D winter can start already in September and go through April.

However during the summer months or “Vitamin D season” it’s enough to be out in the sun for about 20 minutes in the mid-day to fully charge your vitamin D deposits. Of course this varies based on skin tone, cloud cover etc., but generally speaking it doesn’t take much. And also worth noting, there’s no point in overdoing it, being out longer doesn’t translate into generating more vitamin D – which means that there is no reason to be in the sun for so long that you burn yourself and cause skin damage.

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Food Pharmacy

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Chile’s black warning labels impact their obesity trend

This week we’ve been talking about Chile and the fight against obesity. Chile has started to label useless foods with big black labels. In an attempt to curb obesity rates, Chile introduced a new labeling system three years ago in hopes of putting the brakes on rampant healthcare costs. Chile is the second fattest population in South America, 74% of Chileans are overweight or obese and as for the children in their population – 50% of children under 10 are overweight.

All foods that contain more than a certain amount of sugar, salt, saturated fat and calories are simply labeled with black deterrent warning labels which inform the consumer that the product they are considering buying is too salty, sweet, greasy, or contains too many calories.

Guido Girardi, a Chilean senator, made the following statement, “We have created an alliance with the science world. We wanted the researchers and doctors on our side to be able to persuade Parliament to support our project despite enormous pressure from the international food giants who are a veritable mafia”.

When the black warning labels entered the food shelves in 2016, healthcare costs for obesity-related diseases were over $800 million (equivalent to 2.5 percent of the Chilean healthcare budget).

You may be wondering why we at Food Pharmacy our informing you about Chile’s labeling habits. Well, since the warning labels came into effect, an evaluation last year showed that 68% of the Chileans have changed their purchasing habits. So this got us wondering… perhaps it’s not enough, in the many countries with ever rising obesity rates(US, Sweden, UK, Australia), to create labeling systems which only promote good food. Perhaps labels that deter the public from making harmful choices could further assist in steering them in the right direction?

 

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