Reading List: Anti-Energy Drinks, Airport Food Safety & the Green Restaurant Trend by Toby Amidor in Food News, January 1, 2010
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In this week’s nutrition news: experts call for caffeine labels, green restaurants continue to grow in popularity and a look at calories in today’s home-cooked meals.
Experts Call for Caffeine Labels
These days, caffeine is in more than just coffee and cola. Energy drinks, chewing gum and potato chips (at least for a short while) all have the stimulant added. Some experts think it’s high time that consumers be clearly informed how much caffeine is their food — especially when studies have linked high caffeine consumption with increased blood pressure and heart rate. Would you like to know how much caffeine is in your food?
Airport Food Safety Questionable
Thousands of travelers go through airports during the holiday season. USA Today reviewed 800 restaurant reports for 10 major airports and found numerous critical safety violations — violations that can make you sick. The problems ranged from not keeping cold food at the proper temperatures to classic cases of cross-contamination, where raw meat touches ready-to-eat foods such as salad greens. And don’t forget about the rat droppings! If you’re planning on flying in the near future, think about bringing your own food. Be sure to check out our our healthy traveling tips.
Is Home Cooking the Calorie Culprit?
Many of my clients cook most of their meals at home. Often I find that they go heavy on the butter, oil and portion sizes. A Cornell University study from earlier this year showed that recipes from the newest version of The Joy of Cooking (where I helped write the Know Your Ingredients chapter) has significantly more calories from the original 1936 version. Convenience foods have also become popular in the home front — boxed versions of mac and cheese, microwavable dinners and chicken nuggets, to name a few. Some home-cooking habits may contribute to our growing waistlines — luckily, healthier recipes are available right here!
Green Restaurant Trend To Continue in 2010
According to the National Restaurant Association’s recent survey, environmentally-conscious restaurants will continue to be a hot trend next year. These restaurants not only buy their food from local farmers, they also practice sustainability by reducing food and paper wastes (i.e. paper towels) and recycle whatever they can. The Green Restaurant Association (GRA) is a national non-profit that rates the “greenness” of restaurants based on environmentally-friendly guidelines. Check them out and see if your favorite “green” restaurant made their ratings.
Coming Up: Anti-Energy Drinks
The anti-energy drink is hyped as the hottest food trend for 2010. What is it exactly? One popular anti-energy drink in California is Mary Jane’s Relaxing Soda, which is made from sugar and kava (a South Pacific root with supposed sedative properties). The FDA says consumers who have liver disease shouldn’t drink it before consulting their physicians. Even if they’re popular, be sure to do your homework and research what you’re drinking before gulping down any trendy “healthy” beverages.