Nursing homes in Belfast, Maine, and the Waldo County General Hospital purchase local, fresh foods from vendors when possible or at least use Maine-grown products. The hospital also offers vegetarian menus to patients and participates in the Balance Menu Plan, which pledges to serve dairy without hormones, organic and local foods, and grass-fed and sustainable animal products.
A pilot program at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Brigham and Women's Hospital is comparing the long-term safety and efficacy of two methods of helping diabetics lose weight and reduce their medications. About half of participants will get weight-loss surgery and half will participate in a weight-loss program created for obese patients with diabetes.
About 30,000 people are expected to participate in the next Kickstart Vegan diet plan, created by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The 21-day program offers meal plans, daily e-mails and an iPhone application to help people ease into a vegan lifestyle.
Gluten-free foods are beneficial to people with celiac disease, but don't promote weight loss or boost nutrition, experts say. "Many packaged gluten-free products are even higher in carbs, sugar, fat and calories than their regular counterparts, and they tend to be lower in fiber, vitamins and iron," said a registered dietitian on the medical advisory board of the Celiac Disease Foundation.
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found caffeine may protect against arterial fibrillation rather than increase a person's risk for the cardiovascular event. Researchers using data from the Women's Health Study found coffee, tea, cola and chocolate were not significantly associated with AF and, in moderation, actually provided a small but significant protective effect.