Dr. Ayala's Blog

The latest science of healthy food and healthy living

Dr. Ayala

Dr. Ayala
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
V.P. Product Development
Herbal Water
I’m a physician (Pediatrics and Medical Genetics), artist, and mother of 3 school age active kids. I recently co-founded Herbal Water Inc. (www.herbalwater.com) with my husband, Albert. I am a serious home cook, and love to entertain. My expertise is vegetarian food (I have been a vegetarian all my life). I strongly believe that eating healthy and enjoying good food go hand in hand. My main interests are science, nutrition and art, and I am overall a very curious person that tries to learn something new every day. Dr. Ayala (Ayala Laufer-Cahana M.D.)


Dr. Ayala's Links

NOVEMBER 28, 2012 7:45AM

Caffeine, coffee and type 2 diabetes


A new study of caffeinated drinks and type 2 diabetes caught my eye. I’m always on the lookout for studies on coffee, because – let’s admit it – I love coffee, and like many other coffee aficionados, I fear that someday this adored pleasure will be found a gu/

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NOVEMBER 21, 2012 8:58AM

13 lies dieters tell themselves

Screen Shot 2012-11-17 at 9.49.22 AM

The worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves. Before the holiday season eating extravaganza is upon us here are a few common diet lies -- and how your better angel would react if he were awake.

Feel free to add your own in the comment section.


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NOVEMBER 7, 2012 9:46AM

Day-after-the-elections soup


After Superstorm Sandy (I hope you all have power, and are safe and warm!) and a stormy election season, I thought it would be nice to share a comforting, earthy soup.

Root vegetables become magical when they meet the high heat of the oven. They develop caramelized and mellow flavors,… Read full post »

OCTOBER 31, 2012 12:34PM

Pediatricians advise on organic food


Do you consult your pediatrician about food? Nutrition evaluation is part of what doctors are supposed to cover in well-child visits, and I’m sure many pediatricians are asked for advice concerning food choices in general, and organic foods in particular.

To that end, the American Acade… Read full post »



In a recent opinion piece in the New York Times Mark Bittman dreams about an improved front-of-package food label. “Right now, the labels required on food give us loads of information, much of it useful. What they don’t do is tell us whether something is/… Read full post »

OCTOBER 10, 2012 10:39AM

Do choices make you happy or just fat?


When I was a young university student I used to stop by the open-air market for fresh fruit and veggies and take my time selecting what I thought would be the absolute best produce in the pile.

“You’ll never find a husband,” one vendor said to me.

Happy to say… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 3, 2012 9:23AM

Study debunks exercise as a weight-loss solution


Physical activity is incredibly important for our health.  Exercise improves almost all aspects of physical and mental health, and people who are physically active are also usually thinner.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that exercise will make you shed extra fat.

The makers oRead full post »


You’d think that some things are beyond dispute, that some issues are so obvious that proof and studies are hardly necessary.

When two thirds of the population is overweight or obese and much of this population is consuming 250-300 calories a day in sugary drinks -- calories t/… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 19, 2012 11:27AM

Who should be living gluten-free?


According to a new study about one in 140 people in the US have celiac disease.  This is about 1.8 million people who should adopt a gluten-free diet to be healthy.

According to this study, published in The American Journal of Gastroenterolgy,about 1.6 million people in th/… Read full post »


Suddenly, humble kale is the star veggie, and it’s well deserved stardom: Kale tastes wonderful when properly prepared and is a nutritional powerhouse.

This salad combines my two favorite kale preparations: raw, very thinly sliced (see technique below), and baked to a crisp (o… Read full post »


What makes a food healthy? The definition of healthy food and nutritious food is absolutely essential in order to answer the question: “is organic food healthier”.

But a new widely publicized study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine this wee/… Read full post »

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that New York's attorney general is investigating whether the booming multibillion-dollar energy-drink industry is deceiving consumers with misstatements about the ingredients and health value of its products.

The energy drink market is fast g… Read full post »

Self-described experimental journalist A. J. Jacobs has done a few extraordinary things in the pursuit of self improvement: He read the Encyclopedia Britannica cover to cover to protect his slipping IQ, and then went on to try to improve his spiritual life by living by the/
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Habits tend to cluster.  People who exercise will often also watch their weight, consider the nutrition label, avoid smoking and get enough sleep. On the other end, unhealthy behaviors bunch together, too, and many of us have a long list of practices their doctor would like them to changRead full post »


Americans eat a lot of sugar – 15 percent of daily calories areRead full post »

It has been many a pediatrician’s nightmare prediction: rising obesity rates are likely to cause an increase in type 2 diabetes in teens, in much the same way these two conditions are linked in adults.

And this fear has come to pass. Type 2 diabetes, unheard of in kids justRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 16, 2012 9:28AM

Study proves school nutrition standards work


School meals are far from perfectly nutritious, even after the long awaited and very welcome changes put in place earlier this year.

The good news is that under the new guidelines kids will hopefully double their fruit and veggie intake, will be served more whole grains, all milk willRead full post »


Much of our eating is mindless and automatic. That’s why environmental changes can lead us to overeat. Many argue that what’s at the root of the obesity epidemic is the transformation in our environment, which gradually changed into an obesity-promoting one.

Proximity andRead full post »


A happy day, I think, is one in which some time is spent outdoors.

Dog owners take their dogs out daily, and pediatricians suggest we extend the same kindness to our kids.Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 25, 2012 7:45AM

Can we blame our habits for making us fat?


We’d like to think we’re free to make choices about our everyday life.

But studies show that almost half of the actions people take each day aren’t actually a result of decisions – they’re driven by habit alone.

Habits are so strong and so ingrained that theyRead full post »

The mommysphere was abuzz over Dara-Lynn Weiss' Vogue article that detailed her effort to get her 7-year-old daughter to lose weight.

Criticism of Weiss spread like wildfire, especially after Katie J. M. Baker posted her scorn in Jezebel and described Weiss’ self-reported intense regimenRead full post »

Nutritional labels have been around for well over a decade, and the familiar panel — which provides some key nutrition information, an ingredient list and nutrition declarations — enables more informed food decisions.

Do people make good use of the information? The first step is for peopRead full post »

Fruit and vegetables 009

I used to chuckle when I heard moms urge their daughters to eat tomatoes for rosy cheeks. Old wives' tale, so, I thought, and by that logic would I turn greener with kale? I was a little less sure of my dismissiveness when my own palms turned an orangey tint… Read full post »

hot peppers

A new chili pepper was recently crowned the hottest of the hot. It’s called the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and has a measured spiciness of 2,000,000 Scoville heat units, which brings it to the level of law enforcement grade pepper spray.  Care for a bite?

Hot peppers and weight lossRead full post »

We’ve developed a national sweet tooth problem. Enjoying sweet foods is the most natural, inborn tendency – it used to get us excited about mother’s milk and ripe fruit -- but our level of added sugar consumption has reached such absurd heights that it’s clear that these mountRead full post »