Positive changes

In addition to the websites of certain skeptics, I have several “altie” sites on my RSS reader. I find of material in both groups I disagree with, but I did note a NewsTarget survey in which a large majority of the responders had reported making positive lifestyle changes, including reading food labels before buying food.

I’d like to point out first of all that this survey does not _prove_ anything, so don’t get that idea. I’m sure there is a major selection bias here, as people who didn’t make any changes as a result of the Newstarget newsletter probably did not respond.

However, it has piqued my curiosity. I have a few questions:

* Is regularly following an alternative medicine website or newsletter (such as Newstarget) associated with positive lifestyle choices (eating organic, exercising so much per week, eating a more balanced diet)?
* If a person who does not make these choices subscribes to an alternative medicine newsletter, is that person likely to begin making one or more of those choices?

I find this interesting, because my family has essentially been forced into making some of these choices (and has chosen some of the other ones of our own volition). A few years ago, before our daughter started eating solids, she had a rather obnoxious dairy sensitivity and, in addition, reacted badly to Yellow #5 and Yellow #6. We learned to read the labels carefully on food. What we found was rather frightening:

* A large number of processed foods contain high fructose corn syrup
* Until recently, a great majority of the foods we looked at contained trans fats — hopefully recent awareness will bring that number way down
* I large number of foods, especially baked goods, contain dairy or dairy components (e.g. whey, lactose and related compounds, butter, etc.)
* I criminally large number of foods contain a coloring additive. Yellow #5 and Yellow #6 are common (and are bad offenders) as well as Red #40. Candy is _terrible_ for this.

Reading the labels was enough to scare us away from a lot of processed foods, and quite frankly drove our decision to buy mainly organic foods (we eat out, though, which means we still get some of the bad stuff).

At any rate, whether you are into alternative medicine or not, I recommend the habit of reading ingredient labels before purchasing foods. Or at least while you are eating purchased foods.

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