This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, August 29, 2014

blueberries
In this week’s news: The produce aisle takes a page from the junk food playbook; breakfast proponents get a wake-up call; and new thinking on salt shakes things up.

Hey, Kids: Do Try This At Home
Parents encouraging kids to reach for fruits and vegetables may frequently find their efforts undermined by a barrage of marketing that lures young eaters toward chips, candy, sugared cereals and other less-than-healthy snacks. But some marketers and grocers, including Wal-Mart and Giant Eagle, are now ramping up the appeal of healthier snacks by deploying colorful, kid-centric junk-food-style packaging and signage in the produce aisles. The CEO of Giant Eagle told NPR that when she first heard about the kid-oriented produce-section snack stations, she thought, “This is a win-win.” Apple slice, anyone?

Lunch and Dinner Are Secretly Cheering
Breakfast has long been touted as the most important meal of the day, but two new studies have called its lofty status into question. One study determined that skipping breakfast for six weeks had no effect on participants’ cholesterol levels, resting metabolic rates and overall blood-sugar levels. The study found that those who skipped breakfast ate fewer calories, not more, over the course of the day, but they also burned fewer calories than those who ate breakfast, making it a wash. Another study of 300 participants also showed that eating or skipping breakfast didn’t make a difference in terms of weight gained or lost, leading researcher Emily Dhurandhar to conclude that breakfast “may be just another meal.”

Take That Sodium Advice with a Grain of Salt? 
Pass the salt; hold the guilt. Writing in the New York Times, Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, cautions that, while eating too much salt appears to be dangerous — leading to higher rates of heart attack, heart failure and strokes — numerous studies, including one recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, have shown that consuming too little salt may be even more risky. “When compared with those who consumed 3 to 6 grams per day, people who consumed less than 3 grams of sodium per day had an even higher risk of death or cardiovascular incidents than those who consumed more than 7 grams per day,” Carroll writes of the NEJM study. He recommends a moderate approach and says current sodium recommendations, which are quite low, may need a shakeup.

Amy Reiter also contributes to FN Dish.

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