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Mix Things Up This Summer with Alcohol-Free From Time to Time

Just because we are a few days into August doesn’t mean that the summer is over. On the contrary! Sure, the days are getting shorter, but in August the water is usually warmer and it doesn’t require as much self-talk to get into the water beyond your knees.

During the vacay season one glass of rosé frequently turns into two. Even I am guilty of this pleasure. Fortunately, drinks with a lower alcohol content (or none at all) are quite popular right now and it’s about time. Mocktails served now a days are as good as the originals. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re giving something up when making the choice though like, replacing a glass of champagne with a splash of lukewarm juice or a kool-aid like alcohol-free red wine.

Body and health are good reasons to make the choice but another could be for the sake of children. Too many children grow up with someone near them who drinks too much. The Central Association for Alcohol and Drug Information, CAN, estimates that about 100,000 children in Sweden live with an adult who meets the criteria for alcohol abuse. According to the National Institute of Public Health’s calculations from 2008, it can be as many as 380,000 children.

Why do we drink? Well, when CAN did a survey on alcohol consumption in Sweden, it turns out that we usually drink alcohol because we like the feeling of “having a glass”. Another common motive among the respondents is that parties and other events become more fun with alcohol. Less than one in twenty drinks to forget about problems or not to feel left out.

Perhaps it’s time to question why we bare that perception of that the  party is more fun with a lot of alcohol. And, is it really? If you think about how many children are suffering from adult alcohol consumption, perhaps the fun doesn’t go all the way around the table.

Give it a try, why not give yourself and children a happier summer. Test a few alcohol-free alternatives, or skip the alcohol completely. Mix up a glass of Plato’s bubble or one of the Soki Choi’s kombucha drinks. No one will be disappointed!

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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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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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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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