kris ulland

Your Nutrition Partner

Despite what the European Hydration Institute claims, sodas and sports drinks filled with high fructose syrup, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, and caramel color linked to cancer are NOT good choices. Vani Hari blogs as the Food Babe. She is an American author, activist, and marketer who criticizes the food industry and she didn’t have to dig deeply to discover that the European Hydration Institute was created by Coco-Cola.

Water came in 10th on the EHI list of most hydrating beverages – after colas, diet colas and sports drinks.

Coca-Cola spent £4.86 million setting up the EHI. This group actually promotes the consumption of soda and sports drinks. Coca-Cola remains listed as a founding partner on EHI’s website. EHI’s Director, Jane Holdsworth, worked in marketing for the dairy industry and founded her own marketing consulting firm. She has worked for Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Kraft, and Pepsico – all Big Food clients.

The Big Food industry fools the public with unreliable paid-for science with studies that are actually thinly veiled marketing ploys. They are also really good at manipulating the media into reporting messages that support the processed food industry. Hence, all the news covered this report – unfortunately, without checking the credibility of the source.

Vani Hari did do the leg work and found out that Rhona Applebaum, former chief health and science officer for Coca-Cola, sits on the Board of Trustees for EHI. Rhona retired from Coke in 2015 after the New York Times and Associated Press exposed how Coke funded another front group (the Global Energy Balance Network) to fool people into believing sugary drinks don’t cause obesity.

The lead researcher in the hydration study Ron Maughan was an emeritus professor at Loughborough University, which received almost £1 million from Coca-Cola. He had worked hand in hand with the soda industry as well and currently sits as chairman on the EHI’s scientific advisory board.

Part of why I write this blog is to educate my readers by doing the research behind the news reports that I find suspect. I always look to see who is funding the report and go from there. Who is sitting on the board and what claims have they made in the past are good indicators of whether they are reputable.

A conflict of interest like the recent one I wrote about concerning eating red meat (10/09) is sometimes hard to discover as most academic journals require researchers to disclose any conflicts of interest in published studies. In the case of the red meat inquiry, the scientist no longer felt that he needed to report his conflict of interest because a couple of years had gone by.  The point is that if the science flips suddenly, you can assume that the journalist or the researcher is a paid consultant AND that Big Food or Big Agriculture is funding the project. The red meat controversy was particularly suspect in that the only viewpoint presented was that of the scientist who we subsequently find out had a conflict of interest. If everything is presented on one side of the issue, I am usually certain that I am not getting the whole story.

Another source that I like to use is Dr. Mercola. Google recently limited access to this source in order to protect people from “dangerous” medical advice. In other words, advice not from Big Pharma or Big Food or Big Agriculture. Traditionally, a provider of unique and high-quality content that matched what people were looking for would be at the top of search results. You would find near the top of nearly any health search results.

Wikipedia’s founder and anonymous editors are well-known to have extreme bias against natural health content and authors. Google also contributes heavily to funding Wikipedia, and Wikipedia is near the top of nearly all searches –  despite the anonymous aspect of contributors. Who better to trust than a bunch of unknown, unqualified contributors? Google is now manually lowering the ranking of undesirable content, largely based on Wikipedia’s assessment of the author or site.

All this to say, when you are at home googling the best thing to drink when you are thirsty and come across what looks like a reputable study that suggests you have a Coca Cola but your instincts tell you otherwise, have a tall glass of water instead.

The Journal of Clinical Investigation suggests 3 million fewer people in the U.S. would develop degenerative diseases if they improved hydration throughout life. In one part of the study, researchers analyzed data from 15,792 adults, using serum sodium concentration as a measure of hydration status and lifelong hydration. Humans with less-than-optimal hydration status had increased inflammation and other factors associated with degenerative diseases, including cognitive impairment, dementia, heart failure and chronic lung disease. High blood pressure and diabetes were also associated with hydration status.

Your body needs water for blood circulation, metabolism, regulation of body temperature and waste removal. If you’re dehydrated, even mildly, your mood and cognitive function may suffer. In a study of 25 women, those who suffered from 1.36% dehydration experienced worsened mood, irritability, headaches and lower concentration and perceived tasks to be more difficult.

The No. 1 risk factor for kidney stones is also not drinking enough water, and there is research showing that high fluid intake is linked to a lower risk of certain types of cancer, such as bladder and colorectal.

Even the risk of fatal coronary heart disease has been linked to water intake, with women who drank five or more glasses of water per day reducing their risk by 41% compared to women who drank less. Men reduced their risk by 54%. 

Other symptoms of mild dehydration include:

  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepiness or tiredness
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Muscle cramps

Be conscious of replenishing your body with pure water regularly, and definitely take a large drink if you’re feeling thirsty. Keep in mind that during strenuous physical activity, in hot climates and on long airplane flights, you may need more water than normal, so plan to keep your (reusable) water bottle handy.

If you can’t remember the last time you drank a glass of water, especially if you ordinarily reach for soda, energy drinks or fruit juice instead, make a point to switch your fluid of choice to pure water!


Cranberries are a member of the heather family and related to blueberries, bilberries, and lingonberries. The most commonly grown species is the North American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), but other types are found in nature.

Due to their very sharp and sour taste, cranberries are rarely eaten raw. In fact, they’re most often consumed as juice, which is normally sweetened and blended with other fruit juices. You can buy Just Cranberry juice. It is bitter but good mixed with sparkling water.

Other cranberry-based products include sauces, dried cranberries, and powders and extracts used in supplements. Cranberries are rich in various healthy vitamins and plant compounds, some of which have been shown to be effective against urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Fresh cranberries are nearly 90% water, but the rest is mostly carbs and fiber.

The main nutrients in 1 cup of raw, unsweetened cranberries are:

  • Calories: 46
  • Water: 87%
  • Protein: 0.4 grams
  • Carbs: 12.2 grams
  • Sugar: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 4.6 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams

The carbs in cranberries are mainly simple sugars, such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose. The rest is made up of insoluble fiber which pass through your gut almost intact. Cranberry juice contains virtually no fiber.

Cranberries are a rich source of several vitamins and minerals.

  • Vitamin C. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is one of the predominant antioxidants in cranberries. It is essential for the maintenance of your skin, muscles, and bone.
  • Manganese. Found in most foods, manganese is essential for growth, metabolism, and your body’s antioxidant system.
  • Vitamin E. A class of essential fat-soluble antioxidants.
  • Vitamin K1. Also known as phylloquinone, vitamin K1 is essential for blood clotting.
  • Copper. A trace element, often low in the Western diet. Inadequate copper intake may have adverse effects on heart health.

Cranberries are very high in antioxidants, particularly flavonol polyphenols. Many of these plant compounds are concentrated in the skin and are therefore not found in cranberry juice.

  • Quercetin. The most abundant antioxidant polyphenol in cranberries.
  • Myricetin. A major antioxidant polyphenol in cranberries.
  • Peonidin. Alongside cyanidin, peonidin is responsible for the rich red color of cranberries and some of their health effects. Cranberries are among the richest dietary sources of peonidin.
  • Ursolic acid. Concentrated in the skin, ursolic acid is a triterpene compound. It’s an ingredient in many traditional herbal medicines and has strong anti-inflammatory effects.
  • A-type proanthocyanidins. Also called condensed tannins, these polyphenols are believed to be effective against urinary tract infections.

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are often caused by the intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli), which attaches itself to the inner surface of your bladder and urinary tract. A-type proanthocyanidins prevent E. coli from attaching to the lining of your bladder and urinary tract, making cranberries a potential preventive measure against UTIs .

A number of human studies indicate that drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements may reduce the risk of UTIs in both children and adults.  Systematic reviews and meta-analyses support these findings, especially for women with recurrent UTIs.

Cranberry supplements which contain sufficient amounts of A-type proanthocyanidins may be a useful preventive strategy to prevent reoccurring UTIs. Keep in mind that cranberries are not effective for treating infections. They only reduce your risk of getting them in the first place.

Infection by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is considered a major cause of stomach cancer, stomach inflammation, and ulcers.   A-type proanthocyanidins which are plentiful in cranberries may cut your risk of stomach cancer by preventing H. pylori from attaching to the lining of your stomach.  One study in 189 adults suggested that drinking 2.1 cups of cranberry juice daily may significantly reduce H. pylori infections. Another study in 295 children found that daily consumption of cranberry juice for 3 weeks suppressed the growth of H. pylori in about 17% of those infected.

Cranberries contain various antioxidants that may be beneficial for heart health. In human studies, cranberry juice or extracts have proven beneficial for various heart disease risk factors. Cranberry products may help by:

  • increasing your levels of HDL (good) cholesterol
  • lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in people with diabetes
  • protecting LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidation
  • decreasing stiffness in blood vessels among people with heart disease
  • lowering blood pressure
  • decreasing blood levels of homocysteine, thus cutting your risk of inflammation in blood vessels

Most kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate, so if you are prone to developing kidney stones, excessive amounts of oxalate in your urine is one of the main risk factors and cranberries contain high levels of oxalates. For this reason, they are considered a risk factor for kidney stones when consumed in high amounts.

How to Buy

A fresh cranberry will be shiny and plump and have a deep red color; the deeper the color the more highly concentrated the beneficial compounds are. Truly fresh cranberries are quite firm to the touch and will bounce if you drop them. (Cranberry harvesters will actually bounce the berries against boards to sort the high quality from the low quality.) Shriveled berries or those with brown spots should be avoided.

You will most often see fresh cranberries tightly packed into 12-ounce bags, but if organic berries, you may find them packaged in pint containers. One 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries will yield about 3 cups whole or 2 1/2 cups chopped cranberries.

If you are looking for cranberries during their off-season, you will have to purchase them either dried, canned, or frozen. Dried cranberries are similar to raisins. They cannot substitute fresh cranberries in cranberry sauce but are an interesting addition to salads and other recipes. The best replacement for fresh cranberries is frozen, which are available year-round. The frozen berries can be put into recipes without thawing. Once thawed, however, they will be very soft and should be used immediately.


How to Store

Fresh cranberries will last for up to two months in a tightly-sealed glass jar in the refrigerator. As with all berries, if one starts getting soft and decaying, it will quickly spread to the rest. Be sure to sort out any discolored, pitted, soft, or shriveled fruits before refrigerating. The cranberries may look wet when you remove them from the refrigerator but the moisture doesn’t mean that they are spoiled. If you notice discoloration or the berries feel sticky or tough, however, then they are past their prime and should be tossed.

Cooked cranberries can last up to a month in a covered container in the refrigerator. If liquor or liqueur is added to the cooked mixture, it can last up to a year refrigerated.
Fresh whole berries may be washed, dried, spread out on a cookie sheet and frozen. After a couple of hours transfer cranberries to an airtight container. Frozen cranberries will keep up to one year at 0 F.

How to Cook

Cranberries are rarely eaten raw as they are quite hard and tart. Fresh cranberries can be used in:

  1. Smoothies. Toss frozen cranberries in with your favourite smoothie recipe, or with other berrries in a smoothie.
  2. Juice. Juice your cranberries, or buy plain unsweetened cranberry juice and mix it with sparkling water.
  3. Oatmeal. Add fresh berries to cooking oatmeal.
  4. Baked Goods. Adding cranberries to baked goods adds flavor and color
  5. Cooked Grains or Stuffing. Adding cranberries gives an interesting texture and color
  6. Cranberry Jam or Chutney. Make today’s Recipe of the Week!


Ginger Orange Cranberry Sauce

The Endless Meal

3 Cups


  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (1 – 12-ounce bag)
  • 1 1/2 cups of coconut sugar
  • 6 tablespoons grated ginger
  • The zest and juice from two large oranges


  1. Add all the ingredients to a medium-sized pot over high heat. Bring the pot to a boil then reduce the heat to medium. When the cranberries begin to break down, use the back of a wooden spoon to crush them.
  2. Simmering the cranberry sauce for 10 more minutes, or until it is slightly reduced. Note: the cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the cranberry sauce to cool before transferring it to a jar.



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