In this week’s news: A sugar vs. fat face-off; the secret to avoiding holiday bulge (yes, exercise works); and more restaurants try (but don’t always succeed) to meet the demand for gluten-free.
The King of Cravings: Sugar or Fat?
Any milkshake fan knows the joys of sipping one of those cold and creamy treats. But a new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, set out to explore whether it’s the fat or the sugar that gets the brain’s pleasure centers to want more. Researchers — who looked at brain activity in 106 adolescents given chocolate milkshakes — determined that sugar beat out fat when it comes to cravings.
A Little Eggnog, A Little Treadmill Time
Just in time for the holidays, researchers have found another way to remind us to avoid the combo of eating more and exercising less. A small study of 26 men, published in the Journal of Physiology, found that just one week of unhealthy eating could negatively affect metabolism, but that the damage was lessened with regular exercise.
Is That Pizza Really Gluten-Free?
Restaurants are facing increasing pressure to comply with a recent FDA ruling on what foods can be labeled “gluten-free.” While the new standards are geared toward packaged foods, restaurants have been simultaneously making efforts to provide patrons with more gluten-free offerings. This can be especially difficult for chain restaurants in which the majority of menu items do contain gluten and the risk of cross-contamination is real.
You Are What You Eat — Or at Least Your Intestines Are
A new study in the journal Nature examines how dietary choices can affect intestinal health. Subjects in one group followed a diet heavy on meat and cheese, while subjects in a second group ate a diet of only plant-based foods. The meat and cheese group displayed a quick and dramatic shift in intestinal bacteria, which may correlate with detrimental health outcomes, but more research is needed before dietary recommendations can be made.
(Don’t) Pass the Raw Milk
While still illegal in some states, unpasteurized milk and other dairy products are growing in popularity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued a warning that pregnant women, infants and toddlers should steer clear of these foods due to the increased risk of food-borne illness. These populations are especially susceptible because their immune systems are less able to fight off potentially harmful bacteria.
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »