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.
All Posts In Food News
Pass the Cocktail Nuts
A recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine (and reported by the New York Times) looked at data from over 119,000 women and men in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Researchers found that study participants who ate nuts seven or more times a week had a 20% lower death rate than those who didn’t eat nuts over the same period of time. Even for those who only ate nuts less than once a week, the death rate was 11% lower. Participants ate a variety of nuts including pistachios, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pecans, pine nuts, peanuts, walnuts and macadamias.
Pass the Tofu Drumstick
Having a vegan feast is becoming more popular. According to the Department of Agriculture, Americans ate about 12% less meat in 2012 than in 2007. Instead of turkey and trimmings, some Thanksgiving cooks are making tofurkey (tofu shaped like turkey) or cooking portobello mushroom steaks with kale salad, pecan stuffing and mushroom gravy on the side.
Move Over, Kale Juice
The newest juice trend is all about Brussels sprouts. Yes, the love-or-loathe-it vegetable has found its way into juicers. Liquid veggie enthusiasts in the U.K. claim that the cruciferous veggie will follow super-star leafy greens like kale and spinach into green drinks everywhere.
News broke yesterday regarding new guidelines for prescribing statin medications. Doctors are being urged to use a revised set of criteria, established by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, to determine who should be prescribed cholesterol lowering medications.
Eating for Heart Health
The new guidelines also include recommendations for following a “healthy lifestyle” that entails exercising, not smoking and following a heart-healthy diet. In accordance with the American Heart Association paper, the American College of Cardiology recently released a Guideline on Lifestyle Management to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk. Here is a summary of the dietary guidelines they lay out to help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
After nearly 300 people became sick from salmonella in 18 states, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert. The culprit is raw chicken produced at three Foster Farms facilities in California. Luckily, proper handling of poultry can help prevent illness. To do so, make sure to follow these five food safety rules.
#1: Defrost Properly
Those days of defrosting on your counter top overnight are long gone. One bacterium can multiply to 1 billion over 10 hours—something you don’t want to fool around with. To properly defrost chicken, place it in the refrigerator on a tray the night before. If you have smaller pieces of chicken, you can defrost in the microwave (look for the “defrost” button), as long as you cook them immediately after.
#2: Store Chicken Properly
When placing raw chicken in the refrigerator, make sure it is wrapped and stored on a lower shelf. Only proper cooking can destroy the bacteria, so foods that will not be further cooked (like cheese, veggies or fruit) should be placed above the raw chicken so the chicken juices won’t drip on them.
#3: Skip the Rinsing
Could it be that Julia Child’s habit of rinsing chicken has stuck with us after all these years? A recent study conducted at Drexel University found that 90% of folks still do it! For the first time, in 2005, the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans included food safety, and they advise against rinsing chicken before cooking. The reason is that those chicken juices get all over the place—other dishes, the inside of the sink and the counter tops–creating a bacterial playground.
Health experts keep telling us to eat the rainbow, but according to one recent report, we should be eating more pale produce: Mushrooms, parsnips, onions, cauliflower and potatoes are surprisingly rich in fiber, magnesium and other nutrients. “A potato actually has more potassium than a banana,” says the paper’s author, Purdue University professor Connie Weaver. Another plus: Potatoes provide one of the best nutritional values per penny in the produce aisle—assuming, of course, that you don’t undo all of the good with a deep fryer.
(Photograph by Kang Kim)
More than 3 million Americans suffer from celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that makes them unable to digest gluten. The only way to treat the disease is to exclude gluten from the diet or else risk damage to the digestive system as well as nutrient deficiencies and other serious medical problems.
The new FDA rule mandates that products labeled “gluten-free” must contain no more than 20 parts per million of gluten. While many companies have already set this limit for themselves, the FDA rule, which food manufacturers must comply with by this time next year, will help ensure that companies using the term are adhering to the standard.