Reading List: Water & Weight Loss, Dining in the Dark and Diet Soda Risks

by in Food News, August 27, 2010


In this week’s nutrition news: The unique experience of dining in the dark, diet soda linked to pre-mature delivery and meet the woman who inspired Michael Pollan.

Drinking Water Helps Shed Pounds

Gulping down on water before meals has been shown to help folks lose weight. A new study divided obese men and women between the ages of 55 and 75 into two groups: one that followed a low-calorie, low-fat diet, and one that did the same with two cups of water before each meal. After 12 weeks, those who drank water before meals lost 15.5 pounds as compared with 11 pounds for those who skipped the water. The study proves it helps middle-aged folks lose weight; more research is needed to see if the same is true for the younger set. But if you find that water helps “fill you up” before a meal, I say go for it.

TELL US: Do you drink water before meals?

The Truth Behind Food Marketing
Where do many Americans get their nutrition information? The television!  More than 11 billion dollars is spent each year on food advertising, but  a new study found that if your diet consisted of advertised foods, you’d get 25 times the sugar and 20 times the fat needed.  Nutrition experts agree: The best way to place to look for nutrition info is on the side of the box.

Meet Michael Pollan’s Inspiration
The most amazing home garden I’ve ever visited belongs to Joan Dye Gussow, a pioneer of the eat-locally-think globally food movement. She truly lives by her philosophy, has written numerous books and teaches a Nutrition Ecology course at Teachers College, Columbia University (both Dana and I have taken the course). Her philosophy inspired Michael Pollan author of “In the Defense Of Food.” Recently, her historic garden was destroyed by flood waters  — she shared her inspirational story with the New York Times. It’s amazing read for any true localvore.

Diet Soda Linked With Pre-Term Delivery

Pregnant women have a laundry list of foods to avoid like deli meats, raw sprouts, soft cheese (like brie) and raw shellfish. A new study found that diet soda should be added to this list. A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found women who drank at least one diet soda per day were 38 percent more likely to have pre-term birth as compared to women who didn’t drink the stuff. Women who drank at least 4 diet sodas per day increased their risk to a whopping 78 percent! Is drinking diet soda really worth the risk?

Dining In The Dark
The concept: blind waiters serving diners in pitch black. This enables folks to use senses other than sight to really taste the food. Waiters read diners the  “menu” and select food categories like meats, fish, vegetarian or opt for a complete surprise (after warning the kitchen of any allergies). The entire experience is unique and helps awaken certain senses that we don’t always use. Similar restaurants exist in Zurich, Berlin, Paris, London, Moscow and Barcelona.  By the end of this year, the restaurant is set to open in New York City and hopefully I will get to experience this one-of-a-kind culinary adventure.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

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