Nutrition

Harvard Health Ad Watch: Mitochondria do a lot for you — what can you do for them?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Mitochondria are the power stations in our cells that convert nutrients into energy, and research suggests that they play a key role in aging and immune function. Ads for a line of supplements claim that the product renews or replenishes mitochondria –– but is there any scientific proof of this?

Zero weight loss from zero calorie drinks? Say it ain’t so

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Trying to cut back on calories by drinking diet soda or flavored sparkling water may not help with weight loss, and some research suggest it may actually lead to weight gain. But why, and what are the alternatives?

4 essential nutrients — are you getting enough?

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

The latest update to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans states that many people are not getting enough of four essential nutrients: calcium, potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D. But how much of these nutrients should you aim for and what are some good sources for them?

Heavy metals in baby food? What parents should know and do

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Worrisome levels of arsenic, lead, and other elements called heavy metals that can harm the developing brain are found in some commercial baby foods, according to a recent report. Here’s what parents should know and can do to protect young children.

Will eating more chilis help you live longer?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A new report suggests eating chili peppers regularly could lower the risk of dying of cancer or cardiovascular disease. One theory attributes such health benefits to capsaicin, an antioxidant that brings the heat. But just how strong are these findings?

21 spices for healthy holiday foods

The holiday season is probably the hardest time of year to resist rich, indulgent foods, but too many salty, fatty, sugary choices can harm your health. Instead, try adding natural flavor to holiday foods with herbs and spices, many of which contain substances that have a beneficial effect on health.

Quarantine snacking fixer-upper

Eating more than you should since the start of the pandemic, especially unhealthy, highly processed snack foods? If you’re looking for advice on how to break your snacking habits and form new, better habits with healthier snacks, try these tips.

Intermittent fasting: Does a new study show downsides — or not?

Growing evidence shows that intermittent fasting leads to significant weight loss. A recent study contradicted these findings, but the way this study was designed and implemented raises some questions about its conclusions.

Whole grains or no grains? Food labels can be misleading

Food labels contain useful information about the nutritional value of the product, but a recent study found that consumers are more likely to be swayed by potentially misleading language on the front of a package than they are to pay attention to the information contained in the Nutrition Facts panel. Knowing how to interpret this information can help consumers make healthier choices.

Food insecurity, COVID-19, and eating disorders

The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on disparities in health care and socioeconomic status, and drove food insecurity to an all-time high, particularly in communities most affected by the virus. Research shows links between food insecurity and eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia.