Health updates: Loneliness and veggie burgers

The following is new information regarding the affects of loneliness on blood pressure, plus veggie burgers to avoid.

The physical toll of loneliness

Loneliness does not just affect your mind; it can also cause problems with your blood pressure. Researchers surveyed 230 people aged 50 to 68. They were asked to rate their feelings about statements such as, “I lack companionship” and “My social relationships are superficial.” The participants were then monitored for five years. The Los Angeles Times reports that: “Researchers noted an association between feelings of loneliness and high blood pressure. People who ranked as feeling most lonely had blood pressure levels 14.4 points higher than those who felt the least lonely. Increases in systolic blood pressure were cumulative, so those who had higher levels of loneliness at the beginning of the study had greater blood pressure increases over the years.” Feelings of loneliness are incredibly common and, ironically, even as the physical distance between people has shrunk, emotional isolation is on the rise. One-quarter of Americans now say that they are frequently lonely, and this number is expected to rise in coming years.

Which veggie burgers are made with a neurotoxin?

The Cornucopia Institute reports that most nonorganic veggie burgers currently on the market are made with the chemical hexane — a neurotoxin. Makers of many soy-based burgers submerge the soybeans in hexane to separate the oil from the protein and reduce the amount of fat in the product. If a nonorganic burger contains soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate or texturized vegetable protein, it was likely made using hexane. Veggie burgers made with hexane include: Amy’s Kitchen, Boca Burger (conventional), Franklin Farms, Garden Burger, It’s All Good, Lightlife, Morningstar Farms, President’s Choice, Taste Above, Trader Joe’s and Yves Veggie Cuisine. Alternet notes that: “Products labeled ‘organic’ aren’t allowed to contain any hexane-derived ingredients, but that rule doesn’t apply to foods that are labeled ‘made with organic ingredients.’”


Sources: Los Angeles Times March 17, 2010, Psychology and Aging March 2010;25(1):132-41, Alternet April 13, 2010, The Cornucopia Institute May 18, 2009 and

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 3, June/July 2010.

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