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: BMI Risk; Water and Weight; Allergy-Causing Additive?

by in Food News, July 22, 2016

Can water help you lose weight?
One way to lower your BMI may be to drink more water. A new study, published in the Annals of Family Medicine, has found a link between hydration and weight. Examining data from approximately 9,500 U.S. adults participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers at the University of Michigan found that 33 percent of participants were not properly hydrated, and that those who were not tended to have a higher body mass index than those who were. Time notes that the best way to tell if you are adequately hydrated is to gauge the color of your urine: If it’s dark, you need to drink more water or eat more hydrating foods — like fresh fruits and vegetables. If it’s light, you should be A-OK. More research is needed to understand the link between hydration and weight. “But,” study author Dr. Tammy Chang told Time, “staying hydrated is good for you no matter what.” Read more

Nutrition News: Kids and Vegetables, Losing Belly Fat, Probiotics and Weight Loss

by in Food News, July 15, 2016

This is a job for Veggie-Man!

As parents know, it can be tough to get kids to eat their greens. But a new study indicates that the methods marketers employ to sell junk food to kids can be used to compel them to eat fruits and vegetables. For the study, elementary-school kids were divvied into groups that either received no intervention, had banners featuring vegetable superheroes posted near their cafeteria salad bars, were shown (really rather cute) TV cartoons depicting those same veggie superhero characters, or were shown both the TV cartoons and the banners. The TV segments alone barely budged veggie consumption, but the banners increased it by 90.5 percent. And when kids were shown both the banners and the TV ads, their veggie intake shot up by 239.2 percent. “It’s possible to use marketing techniques to do some good things,” study author David R. Just, of Cornell University, told The New York Times. Read more

Nutrition News: FDA Cookie Dough Warning, Coffee Benefits, The Skinny on Pasta

by in Food News, July 8, 2016

Oh, no! No more dough?

Eating a furtive spoonful (or three) of raw cookie dough before you pop the baking sheet in the oven or letting your kids lick the bowl is one of life’s great pleasures, but alas, the killjoys at the FDA are strongly warning against it. “Eating raw dough or batter — whether it’s for bread, cookies, pizza or tortillas — could make you, and your kids, sick,” the FDA warned in a recent blog post, noting that the uncooked flour in the dough — no matter what brand it is — “can contain bacteria that cause disease.” Apparently there’s been an outbreak of a strain of E. coli linked to the flour in raw dough or batter. In fact, the FDA says, even letting kids play with raw dough or clay made with flour “could be a problem.” Sheesh. On the bright side: Less raw-cookie-dough sneaking means more actual cookies! Read more

Nutrition News: Workday Walking, Gut Speed, Meal Timing

by in Food News, July 1, 2016

Optimal meal timing? The jury is out.

We know what we eat is important, but does it matter when we eat it? A new research review has concluded that national dietary guidelines ought to provide us with stronger recommendations about optimal meal timing. “Whilst we have a much better understanding today of what we should be eating, we are still left with the question as to which meal should provide us with the most energy. Although the evidence suggests that eating more calories later in the evening is associated with obesity, we are still far from understanding whether our energy intake should be distributed equally across the day or whether breakfast should contribute the greatest proportion of energy, followed by lunch and dinner,” Dr. Gerda Pot, who was involved with the study at the King’s College London, said in a release. “There seems to be some truth in the saying ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper,’ however, this warrants further investigation.” Read more

Nutrition News: Diet and Diabetes, Workplace Wellness, Soda Tax

by in Food News, June 24, 2016

Veg out (if only a little)

The advice to eat your veggies is better than ever. Eating just a few more servings of healthful plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains) and slightly fewer servings of animal-based foods (meat, fish, eggs, dairy) every day can significantly reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes, a new study published in PLOS Medicine has found. Interestingly, while those who ate a plant-based diet with a modest amount of animal products lowered their Type 2 diabetes risk by 20 percent, the kind of plant-based foods they ate was key. Those who ate healthy plant-based foods saw a 34 percent drop in diabetes risk, while those who ate unhealthy plant-based foods (refined carbs, sugary foods, starchy veggies) actually slightly increased their Type 2 diabetes risk. “What we’re talking about is a moderate shift – replacing one or two servings of animal food a day with one or two plant-based foods,” senior author Frank Hu, a professor at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The New York Times. Read more

Nutrition News: Whole Grains, Diet and Metabolism, Sleep and Weight

by in Food News, June 17, 2016

The whole truth about whole grains

We know whole grains are good for us, but do they have the same health benefits if they are ground up and used, say, as an ingredient in smoothies or flour in cereals? The New York Times’ Well blog has taken that question to nutrition experts and the answer is, basically, yes. “Whole” grains, in which the bran, the germ and the endosperm are all left intact (as opposed to “refined” grains, where the bran and the germ are stripped away), are beneficial either way. Some grains lose a bit of their fiber when ground, but taste better that way, the experts say, whereas others, like flax seed, are more nutritious when ground, because the body can absorb them better. The most-important thing, dietitian Maria Elena Rodriguez tells the Times, is to make sure products have three or more grams of fiber per serving and are marked “whole grains.” Read more

Nutrition News: Good Fats, Sugar Addiction, Running Mistakes

by in Food News, June 10, 2016

Embrace good fats

Is it finally time to stop fearing all fats? The low-fat trend — already under fire — just took another hit from science. Researchers in Spain have concluded that all fats are not created equal – and that some will not lead to significant weight gain, regardless of calorie content. The study tracked 7,447 middle-aged men and women over five years and found that those who were put on a Mediterranean diet — with lots of fresh fruits, veggies and lean proteins, as well as olive oil and nuts — without calorie restrictions lost a bit more weight than those who were assigned a low-fat diet with no restrictions in their caloric intake. Read more

Nutrition News: Unhealthy Behavior, Evaporated Cane Juice and Vegan Diets

by in Food News, June 3, 2016

What’s in a name?

Sugar by any other name would still taste as sweet. “Evaporated cane juice” may sound a lot healthier than “sugar,” but the Food and Drug Administration has decided it’s really the same thing. The agency has just released guidelines advising food companies to avoid using the term “evaporated cane juice” on labels and instead use the term “sugar,” which it has concluded is more accurate. (The FDA says it’s OK to modify it — as in “organic cane sugar” — as long as the word “sugar” is somewhere in there, NPR’s The Salt reports.) Food blogger Marion Nestle hailed the decision, telling The Salt: “Sugar is sugar, no matter what it is called. Now the FDA needs to do this with all the other euphemisms.” Suh-weet! Read more

Nutrition News: Late Family Dinners, Healthy Lifestyle and Cancer, Divorced Men’s Diets

by in Food News, May 27, 2016

Late family dinners

Parents who are perpetually running behind schedule with the family dinner probably have a lot on their plates, but one thing they can worry less about is dooming their kids to obesity just because the evening meal is served late. While previous research has indicated that meal timing could boost the risk of being overweight or obese for children, a new U.K. study examining data from more than 1,600 kids, ages 4 to 18, found that the risk of being overweight or obese was no higher among kids who ate between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. than it was among those served supper earlier in the day. Study author Gerda Pot, a visiting lecturer at King’s College London, told HealthDay News that she and her colleagues had “expected to find an association between eating later and being more likely to be overweight” and so found the study results “surprising.” Read more

Nutrition News: Smoothies, Calorie Disclosure Rules, Diet and High School Sports

by in Food News, May 20, 2016

Smoothie operators

“Do I absorb more sugar and calories when I drink fruits and vegetables in a smoothie as opposed to just eating them whole?” The question was put to The New York Times’ Well blog this week, which consulted a dietitian representing the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and returned with an answer: Yes, “very likely.” Basically, the issue is one of “quantity,” the Times was told. You may well consume a lot in a short time when you drink a smoothie, without even realizing it. Plus, you may feel hungrier more quickly after you drink a smoothie than you would after eating whole fruit, because fiber, which slows down the sugar-to-blood-sugar conversion process, gets pulverized when the fruit is blended for smoothie consumption. And that’s just talking about smoothies you make at home, the Times notes. Store-bought smoothies often pack a big caloric punch along with added sugar, honey or other sweeteners — and may not even contain whole fruit at all.

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