Calls are growing for high sugar drinks to be taxed in the same way as cigarettes to curb rising obesity. Does the drinks industry’s resistance echo that of the tobacco industry denial in the 1960s? Jeremy Paxman spoke to James Quincey, president of Coca Cola Europe.
By: Nadia Haris
The sticky, sweet fruit of the palm tree, dates are a traditional food and are eaten for their natural sugar, carbohydrates, protein and nutrient content. They are a healthy snack choice and are a rich source of energy, vitamins and minerals. Originally a fruit that was harvested in Middle Eastern desert regions, dates of several different types are now grown throughout the world, including in California.
Your body requires essential vitamins for healthy body function. Dates help to provide several of these nutrients, including the B vitamins, which are important in energy production. The website Sweet Energy notes dates are high in riboflavin, thiamine, niacin and pantothenic acid.
Dates are packed with several essential minerals that are necessary for oxygen transport, energy production, developing and maintaining bone health and boosting the immune system. The website California Dates lists several minerals found in dates; they include iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, selenium, potassium and zinc.
All types of dates are high in dietary fiber; the website CalorieLab says that just one date contains 0.7 grams of fiber, fulfilling 3 percent of your daily recommended fiber intake. The Harvard School of Public Health advises that dietary fiber such as that found in dates binds to fats in the digestive tract and removes them from the body. This helps to reduce body fat and lower cholesterol levels. Dates and other fiber-dense foods also help to balance blood sugar levels, keeping energy levels more stable and helping you avoid excessive hunger pangs.
Calories and Sugar
Dates are a high calorie food; the website CalorieLab says that just one date, an 8.3-gram serving size, contains 23 calories. However, these are nutritious calories, and dates are still a healthy food. A date also contains about 5.3 grams of sugar. The American Diabetes Association says that dates should be eaten in moderation. Because of their high sugar content, dates have a medium glycemic index value, which means that they will raise blood sugar faster than other fruits.
Dates contain zero saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium or salt. This makes them a healthy choice to help maintain blood pressure and heart health, according to the website Sweet Energy. A diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
These fruits are also high in antioxidants, according to the website California Dates. Dates contain plant antioxidants called polyphenols, which help to remove free radical toxins from the body. This antioxidant activity may help to reduce the risk of some diseases.
By: Dave Kerpen
Today is National Coffee Day, but I’m celebrating differently than most–by telling you a little about my story.
Thirteen years ago today, I was the No. 1 sales rep in the country for Radio Disney. I was passionate, full of energy and drive, and committed to being as productive as I could each day. I was also hopelessly addicted to coffee. I began each morning with an extra large coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. Then at lunchtime I had a second large cup of coffee. On most days, I’d follow that up with a third large cup of coffee around 4 p.m. for the final sales push of the day.
By: Yvonne Maffei
I found a pretty remarkable video online that I think really articulates a lot of what I’ve been wanting to share for a very long time, all compiled into a 45-minute piece of staggering information about the connection between sugar with consumer wellness and how industry associations and food manufacturers place it in food products in quantities that are pretty surprising to most consumers.
Diabetes is one of the most rampant diseases of our time. According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, had diabetes. 
In fact, diabetes is growing at a fairly fast rate. A study completed by the CDC & Research Triangle Institute concluded that If recent trends in diabetes prevalence rates continue linearly over the next 50 years, future changes in the size and demographic characteristics of the U.S. population will lead to dramatic increases in the number of Americans with diagnosed diabetes. 
By: Khalil Marcus Lambert, Ph.D.
In his famous book, How to Eat to Live, the leader of the Nation of Islam (a conduit through which many African-Americans were introduced to Islam) emphatically states: “There is no way for us to learn the right way to eat in order to live a long life, except through the guidance and teachings of Allah.”
Although Elijah Muhammad’s Islamic creed diverted from traditional mainstream Islam, he understood well that the key to addressing the complete spiritual and mental vitality of his people was by placing an emphasis on their physical well-being, which he addressed through ancestral eating habits and social vices; undoubtedly a wholesome approach borrowed from the Qur’an and example of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him).
The Prophet Muhammad SAW placed great emphasis on physical matters in developing spiritual matters. In a famous hadith (saying of the Prophet)1 , the Messenger of Allah SAW observes a man praying the ritual salah (prayer) and says to the man, “Go back, for you have not prayed.” After the man’s return, the Prophet ﷺ says to him repeatedly, “Go back, for you have not prayed.” Because the man was not implementing the true mechanics of the prayer to the best of his ability, he was likely depriving himself of its complete spiritual and emotional benefit.
Arguably every religious ritual or habit put into practice by the Prophet SAW holds a deep spiritual benefit that is only uncovered through regular or meticulous application. However, many traditions have obvious physical and emotional benefits as well. Within the Islamic tradition are directives that uplift the whole life of the individual. Fasting is the perfect example.
Routine, periodic fasting has been shown to have a number of positive effects:
- contracted stomach (and satisfaction with less food);
- lower blood sugar and cholesterol;
- and even evidence for combating cancer.2
During a fast, energy is diverted away from the digestive system to concentrate on metabolic and immune functions. Master regulator hormones called glucocorticoids are released to aid the body in breaking down fat cells and forming glucose molecules for energy. Side effects of this can be the release of toxins trapped in fat cells and maintenance of normal blood pressure.3
Elijah Muhammad notes, “Fasting is a greater cure of our ills, both mental and physical, than all of the drugs of the earth combined into one bottle or a billion bottles.” These were wise words to many African American families predisposed to poor health conditions.
What many Muslims have not truly appreciated are the Islamic and faith-based practices that influence our body’s health. Many researchers have studied the effects of Ramadan, prayer, and other religious influences on individual health, yet population-based studies have been confounded by profound cultural and ethnic diversity. Thus, it is difficult to draw conclusions about health associations from a population with so many contributing variables. Still, intriguing questions remain about the overall health benefits of Islamic mandates.
For example, what are the health implications of the prohibition of alcohol, pork, sex before marriage, etc. on the Muslim community? How has the non-reductionist, holistic perspective on healing affected the health of Muslim populations? Can common characteristics be observed in the (epi)genetic profiles of Muslims?4