All Posts By Amy Reiter

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire and Wine Spectator, among other print publications, as well as for websites including The Daily Beast, MSN, Babble, AOL/Huffington Post and Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer.

Nutrition News: Millennial Diets, Cage-Free Taco Bell, Green Tea and Metabolism

by in Food News, November 20, 2015

Green TeaDiet-Ditching Millennials

Ah, youth. Millennials are less concerned about calories and fat in the foods they eat than the population at large and are more inclined to use technology as a health and wellness tool, according to the International Food Information Council’s 2015 Food and Health Survey. The survey also found that millennials (born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s) are more likely to believe higher-protein foods may have unhealthy attributes, are more apt to use diet-related apps and online support groups, rely more heavily on the support of family and friends in their efforts to maintain a healthy diet, and tend to trust health and nutrition bloggers and to feel more optimistic about the healthful potential of food innovations and new inventions. “Millennials are a unique generation, and their approach to health and fitness is no exception,” Sarah Romotsky, R.D., director of health and wellness for the IFIC Foundation, told Food Business News.

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Nutrition News: FDA Sets Sugar Cap, Pros Offer Pantry Tips, Junk Food Gets an Out

by in Food News, November 13, 2015

Junk Food Is Not the Sole Culprit

While no one’s saying soda, candy and fast food are healthy, a new study suggests they alone cannot be blamed for the obesity epidemic. Cornell University Food and Brand Lab co-directors David Just, Ph.D., and Brian Wansink, Ph.D., analyzed the dietary habits of about 5,000 U.S. adults and found that, for 95 percent of the population, there was no link between the consumption of soda, candy and fast food and weight gain. “These are foods that are clearly bad for you and if you eat too much of them they will make you fat, but it doesn’t appear to be the main driver that is making people overweight and obese,” Just told HealthDay. The researchers said eating less and exercising more overall is the key to controlling weight, and they clarified that they are not endorsing a junk food diet, even in moderation. “These foods aren’t good for you,” Just said. “There is no good argument for soda in your diet.” Read more

Nutrition News: Cutting Sugar, Fast-Food TV Ad Consequences and November’s Best Vegetables

by in Food News, November 6, 2015

Hide the Leftover Halloween Candy

Cutting back on sugar consumption can dramatically improve the health of obese children in only 10 days, even when they remain at the same weight, a new study has found. Foods with added sugar were eliminated from the diets of the children who participated in the National Institutes of Health-backed study and replaced with other carbs to maintain calorie intake. The children’s weight was deliberately kept stable; nevertheless, all 43 children in the study showed improvements in blood pressure as well as cholesterol and blood sugar levels. “We can turn a child’s metabolic health around in 10 days without changing calories and without changing weight — just by taking the added sugars out of their diet,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Benioff Children’s Hospital of the University of California, San Francisco, told The New York Times. “From a clinical standpoint, from a health care standpoint, that’s very important.” Read more

Nutrition News: How Healthy Is Dried Fruit? Plus, Mediterranean Diet Under Fire; Antibiotics and Childhood Obesity

by in Food News, October 30, 2015

Dried fruit: yea or nay?

Is dried fruit good for you or something to be avoided? Time magazine put the question to nutrition experts and most agreed that dried fruits — raisins, figs, prunes, etc. — were great, healthy go-to snacks, albeit with a caveat or two. “Dried fruits are an excellent source of fiber and a concentrated source of antioxidants,” University of Scranton chemistry professor Joe Vinson said. Yet while dried fruits are convenient, portable, durable and often downright tasty, they also contain a lot of sugar, so it’s a good idea to keep portions small and check to make sure they don’t contain any added sugar. “When the native sugar of the fruit is combined with extra added sugar, you are now in the realm of candy,” David Katz, M.D., director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, told the magazine.   Read more

It’s Been a Bad Week for Hot Dog Lovers

by in Food News, October 26, 2015

First, a recent “genomic” analysis by the online food guide Clear Food determined that 14 percent of the 345 different hot dogs and sausages sold under 75 brands it examined contained either ingredients not listed on the label or had “hygienic” issues, in which a “non-harmful contaminant is introduced to the hot dog.” What’s more, 2 percent of the samples were found to contain human DNA. (Ew.)

Vegetarians get no bragging rights, though: Two-thirds of the vegetarian frankfurters tested contained human DNA, and 10 percent of all vegetarian products tested were found to contain meat — be it chicken in a vegetarian breakfast sausage or pork in a veggie hot dog.

Still, some major brands fared better than others: Butterball, McCormick, Eckrich and Hebrew National received especially high marks, as did some regional and specialty brands.

Now, on the heels of that alarming news, comes reason for frankfurter fans to feel even more fearful: Read more

Nutrition News: Fats and Carbs, Quinoa’s Many Benefits, Oprah and Weight Watchers

by in Food News, October 23, 2015


Quinoa: quite the healthy food

There’s been so much “superfood” hype around quinoa — is all the excitement justified? Time magazine asked five nutrition experts, and they overwhelmingly agreed that it was. The seed is high in fiber, iron and protein, provides essential amino acids, and is gluten-free. Generally eaten as a whole food, quinoa prevents the loss of nutrients. Plus, recent research suggests the proteins in quinoa may decrease cholesterol levels and lower oxidative-stress levels. Quin- … whoa. Read more

Nutrition News: Red Wine and Diabetes, 2016 Food Trends, Canned Fish or Fresh?

by in Food News, October 16, 2015

Red wine for diabetes?

A glass of red wine with dinner? For people with Type 2 diabetes, the answer may be yes. A new study conducted by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Israel, found that drinking a glass of red wine with dinner may be not only safe but perhaps even beneficial for those with diabetes. The study assigned 224 patients with Type 2 diabetes, none of whom were alcohol drinkers previously and all of whom followed a Mediterranean diet without calorie restrictions, to drink 5 ounces of either mineral water, white wine or red wine with their dinner — and followed them for two years. Those who drank red wine saw their HDL (“good”) cholesterol climb by 10 percent over those who drank only mineral water with dinner. White-wine drinkers did not see the same effect. The researchers say a broader follow-up study is necessary to confirm the initial results.

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Nutrition News: White Pasta Alternatives, Dietary Guidelines and Sustainability and Social Media’s Nutritional Impact

by in Food News, October 9, 2015

Beyond White Pasta

White pasta can spike blood sugar and lead to an increased risk of weight gain, Type 2 diabetes and other health issues. So look no further if you’re searching for a few healthy alternatives to white pasta, because U.S. News Health & Wellness reporter K. Aleisha Fetters has some suggestions: Why not try whole-wheat pasta, quinoa pasta, buckwheat noodles, sprouted-grain pasta, spelt pasta or brown-rice pasta instead? “Luckily, the more heat white pasta receives from critics, the more food manufacturers work to up their alternative-pasta game with whole grains, heart-healthy fiber, filling protein, and more vitamins and minerals than you’ll find in a salad,” she wrote. That is lucky!

Sustainability Beyond the Scope?

Should the new version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans factor in sustainability, considering not only Americans’ health and well-being but also that of our planet? A group of public health and sustainability experts argued last week in the journal Science that they should — echoing the recommendation made by a federal advisory committee of nutritionists in April. But lawmakers and administration officials apparently disagree. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced Tuesday that the updated dietary guidelines to be released in December will not consider environmental sustainability — which would have endorsed a diet with fewer animal-based foods. Some congressmen, who had argued that sustainability was outside the guidelines’ scope, cheered the decision on Wednesday.

Instagram for Breakfast

Parents may feel as if social media is consuming their teens’ lives, but it may also be affecting what those teens consume. A cross-sectional study of about 9,000 middle- and high-school students conducted by Canadian researchers and published in the British Journal of Nutrition concluded that the more time teens spent on social media sites — like Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter — the more likely they were to make poor nutritional choices, like not eating breakfast or drinking sugary beverages and energy drinks. Teens who used social networking sites for less than one hour a day had a 67 percent higher chance of drinking sugary beverages, while those who used them for just under two or five hours had a 90 percent and a 3.3-fold increase, respectively, in the odds of doing so, according to the researchers. Gulp.

Nutrition News: The Full-Fat Trend, Healthy Office Snacks, Coke Spending

by in Food News, October 2, 2015

Is full-fat on trend?

For years, we’ve all been urged to curtail our consumption of saturated fat, advice that affected our appetite for butter, meat and whole milk — or at least the amount of those foods we ate. But, a new report published by the Credit Suisse Research Institute has determined, Americans are rebelling against the old guidance, which has grown murkier, and eating more full-fat foods. Butter sales rose 14 percent in 2014 and an additional 6 percent in the first three months of 2015, while sales of whole milk climbed 11 percent and skim milk purchases plummeted 14 percent in the first six months of 2015. The authors suggest the trend may be part of larger shift toward natural – organic, unprocessed – foods. “Full-fat milk sounds a lot more natural to people than 2 percent or skim milk,” lead author Stefano Natella told The New York Times. “Cows don’t produce skim milk. You have to process it to take out the fat.” Read more

Nutrition News: Fast-Food Kids, Vegetable Supply, Plate Size Matters

by in Food News, September 25, 2015

Frightening fast-food facts
If you think America has been easing off its love affair with fast food, a new CDC report offers bracing news: On any given day, according to the study, more than one-third (34.3 percent) of all U.S. kids and teens (ages 2 to 19) scarf down some kind of fast food — a number that has remained relatively stable over the past 15 years, despite our cultural push for more healthful eating. And while almost 12 percent of kids and teens got fewer than 25 percent of their daily calories from fast food, nearly 11 percent of them got between 25 and 40 percent of those calories from it — and 12 percent of them gobbled up more than 40 percent of their daily calories from places that traffic largely (though of course not exclusively) in burgers, fries, sodas and the like. Gulp. Read more