Reading List: Caffeine Hurts Your Heart, A Look at Cheap Food & A Pro Footballer Goes Veg

by in Food News, September 4, 2009

In this week’s nutrition headlines: A new (rather graphic) ad wants to keep you from pouring on the pounds, coffee and alcohol are linked to irregular heartbeats and there’s a new “veggie-filled” Goldfish snack on the market.

A Real Look at Cheap Food
This is a Time Magazine cover story you won’t want to miss — especially if you’re a Michael Pollan fan or like to know where your food comes from. The piece goes into hidden food costs, who is footing the bill and why some of our food is so cheap, both in price and quality. Interesting stuff!

New Product: Goldfish with Veggies
Occasionally, I buy the baked Goldfish snacks for my kids. Pepperidge Farm just debuted a new product, Goldfish Garden Cheddar snack crackers. I haven’t seen or tried them myself yet, but according to the company, these new fishies offer a one-third serving of real veggies and no trans fats. Wait, what? How can “real” veggies come from a packaged snack? Has anybody given these a try? I would love to hear about it.

Pouring Yourself a Tall Glass of Fat
Check out this ad campaign that’s trying to sway New Yorkers to lay off the sugary drinks. Slogans like “Don’t drink yourself fat” and “Are you pouring on the pounds?” are likely to turn some heads. This strong message is nothing compared to our nation’s shocking levels of obesity, however. Outside of Healthy Eats, I counsel obese children and teens, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of sugary drinks some kids guzzle each day. If this ad can help get the message across, I’m on board. What do you think?

Alcohol and Caffeine Linked to Increased Heartbeat
Speaking of popular beverages, if you drink more than 10 alcoholic drinks a week or four cups of coffee a day, you better watch out. A newly released British study concluded that having that much (or more) can increase your risk of an irregular heartbeat. The study followed a good number of British men and women (8,830 to be exact) and those that did down alcohol and coffee at those rates had a 80% higher chance of heart problems. What’s considered an “alcoholic drink”? A standard 5-ounce glass of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor or 12 ounces of beer.

A Pro Goes Veg
Football season is just around the corner, and you might be prepping your tailgating menu. Consider taking a page from Tony Gonzalez’s cookbook. The tight end has been following a mostly vegetarian diet for the last three years, which he credits for helping stay in shape. Of course, he does admit to eating organic chicken and fish once in a while, but it’s better than his previous diet of fast food, TV dinners, potato chips and soda!

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Comments (4)

  1. Tamara says:

    Re: the ad
    It didn't look that graphic to me. Maybe it's because I've never seen human fat before? It looks like something from a B-rate horror movie, you know?

    Re: the Time story
    It's funny they mentioned "The Jungle," because that's what I thought of when I read their first paragraph. That isn't a compliment–the age of yellow journalism should have been long dead. Yes, the food industry should be reformed. But I don't care for the obvious scare tactics.

    Re: the alcohol and caffeine
    One is a depressant, the other a stimulant. Obviously, they are going to affect how you function if you consume them regularly. It's not particularly shocking news, especially since a similar study was done years ago (

  2. Tamara says:

    More on the Times story: I just read to the second page where the author wrote, "The crop is heavily fertilized — both with chemicals like nitrogen and with subsidies from Washington." I could pick on the "our government is an evil corporation" bit, but it's the first part the rankles me.

    "Chemicals like nitrogen?" Maybe the author wants to take advantage of people who are easily confused between the element "nitrogen" and the scary headlines about "nitrates." Nitrogen has comprised 78% of the earth's natural atmosphere since long before humans invented fertilizer. It's what's taken up by plants for conversion into usable forms (for insignificant things like DNA and every protein on this planet).

    I expect that Times Magazine will soon be running articles on the horrifying dangers of dihydrogen oxide.

  3. Tanya says:

    Ha – love Tamara's comment. I must say though – I know there are people out there who can drink water 24×7 – but I suspect that's not true for the majority. If I allow my kids 1 glass of lemonade with dinner and water for the rest of the day – I'm not going to feel guilty and no one should.

  4. Ashlie says:

    While the media undoubtedly use scare tactics sometimes, it is important to remember that just because an element (Nitrogen) is natural, it isn't neccessarilly always good for you or the environment: Ozone (03) provides great UV protection in the upper atmosphere but at ground level it is smog and can cause lots of respiratory problems, sulfur dioxide provides a useful service at low concentrations at our soil, but it also causes acid rain, and Nitrogen based fertilizers are a lead cause of water pollution – through run-off they are washing downstream, many ending up in the Gulf of Mexico and contributing to the dead zone (they essentially rob the water of oxygen and nothing – fish or plant life – can survive).

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