Reading List: Zinc Dangers, Popular College Fare & Weekends Can Ruin Your Diet

by in Food News, December 25, 2009

In this week’s nutrition news: An Illinois prison is sued for serving soy, calorie listings on menu can help folks make better choices and the top 10 college meals.

Calorie Listings on Menus Really Do Help
Back in October one study concluded that calories posted at New York City restaurants didn’t affect how people ordered. A new study conducted at Yale University came back with different results. Researchers invited 303 adults to have dinner at a restaurant and divided them into three groups. One group didn’t have calories available for menu items, the second had calories listed and the third had calories listed along with recommendations for their total daily calories (a 2,000-calorie diet is the average recommendation). In the end, folks who had calories listed and the recommendations spelled out ate about 250 calories less than the other two groups. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more studies showing that displaying calories in restaurants is a good idea.

What You Eat on the Weekends Sabotages Your Diet
A study published in the fall tracked the eating habits of 600 folks and found that most people ate much more on weekends — 400 calories more, in fact — than they did on a typical weekday. That’s a 20% increase! It’s important to watch those weekend calories so they don’t ruin your efforts to follow a healthy-eating regimen.

Most Popular College Foods
When I was in college, frozen yogurt and deli-style turkey were the most exciting foods on the menu. These days, there’s much more variety. Sodexo, a food service company that provides dining services to more than 600 campuses nationwide, recently surveyed students to learn the most popular foods. Topping the list was apricot-glazed turkey, meatloaf with frizzle-fried onions and Vietnamese pho. Vegetarian fare also scored high with vegetarian lentil shepherd’s pie taking the fourth spot and vegetarian jambalaya coming in at seventh.

Sued for Serving Soy
Soy-enhanced chili mac, turkey patties with soy and soy-blend hot dogs are just some of the many soy-based items on the menu at an Illinois-based correctional facility. Now the Department of Corrections is being sued for overdoing it. The FDA’s recommendations for soy are 25 grams per day, but the prison was dishing out up to 100 grams of soy protein daily. The lawsuit claims that all this soy is harmful to inmates’ health– especially to those with allergies, sensitivities and thyroid issues. The corrections department says that the soy-enhanced foods help cut costs. What do you think?

The Dangers of Zinc
With the arrival of flu season, many folks are relying on zinc — in the form of supplements, lozenges and nasal spray — to help ward off viruses. Problem is that people are overdoing it. Many forget that zinc is also found in the protein-rich foods they’re eating. Too much zinc can lead to learning and memory problems and nerve damage. It’s always important to remember that more isn’t always better.

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