Once upon a time, parents’ fears about advertising’s sneaky effects on their kids were more or less confined to TV ads. Nowadays food and drink companies are able to reach kids online in ways parents aren’t even aware of — and research indicates that exposure to these marketing efforts does influence kids’ consumption habits. Writing in the Washington Post, nutrition expert Casey Seidenberg ticks off a few of those methods. They include using “adver-games” featuring the products, directing kids to their products to retrieve “codes” and incentivizing them to invite their friends to play; using GPS tracking and notifications to push coupons and discounts to them on their phones based on their locations; using social media to track and reach them and encourage them to influence others in their peer network; and collecting and analyzing kids’ personal data via mobile apps to better target them and build loyalty. Creepy. Read more
All Posts In Food News
Nutrition News: Best Metabolism Booster; Sleep, Stress and Belly Fat; and Gardening and Kids’ Healthby Amy Reiter in Food News, September 30, 2016
Reaping What We Sow
Want to raise kids who are lifelong healthy eaters? Hand them a trowel, some seeds and a watering can, and point them to the garden. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Florida suggests that college kids who either gardened when they were kids or currently garden consumed more fruits and vegetables — 2.9 cups daily, on average, about a half-cup more — than those who did not. “We found that if your parents gardened but you did not, just watching them did not make a difference in how much fruits and vegetables you eat in college,” lead author Anne Mathews told HealthDay News. “Hands-on experience seems to matter.” Read more
Eating and reading
You want your kids to eat healthy for all sorts of reasons. Here’s a new one: It may make them better readers. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Jyvaskyla found that students’ reading skills showed greater improvement between first and third grade if they ate a diet composed primarily of vegetables and fruits (especially berries), along with fish, whole grains and unsaturated fats, and ate very few sugary treats and red meats, HealthDay News reports. “The associations of diet quality with reading skills were … independent of many confounding factors, such as socioeconomic status, physical activity, body adiposity [fat] and physical fitness,” study author Eero Haapala said in a study news release. But don’t worry too much if your kid is a picky eater — the study showed only a correlation, not cause and effect.
The hottest new trend in coffee couldn’t be farther from a cup of joe. It’s overflowing with nutrients, is gluten-free and helps to reduce food waste. Should you get your hands on some coffee flour?
What Is Coffee Flour?
Coffee flour is derived from the byproducts of coffee production. Coffee beans are encased within a small fruit. Once the beans are removed, the remaining fruit is typically discarded as waste. But now, this fruit pulp is getting salvaged, dried and ground into flour. Recommended uses include baking as well as incorporation into soups, sauces and beverages.
Coffee flour does not possess a strong coffee flavor but does have similarly deep and earthy characteristics. There is a floral undertone that resembles tea more than coffee. It also has a little bit of caffeine; according to Marx Pantry, each tablespoon of coffee flour contains roughly the same amount of caffeine as a third a cup of black coffee (they sell coffee flour for $9/pound).
A small amount of coffee flour contains a huge amount of nutrients. One tablespoon holds almost 10 percent of the daily recommended amount of potassium and nearly 13 percent of daily iron. This plant-based flour is also gluten-free and an excellent source of fiber. Similar to coffee, coffee flour is also rich in cell-protecting antioxidants. Read more
Certain kinds of algae are already commonplace in our diets. For example, your sushi rolls and musubi are wrapped in seaweed (a marine algae), the food additive carrageenan is derived from seaweed, and algae-derived Omega-3s are used in supplements for those who shun fish oil. But this humble sea plant suddenly seems poised for its superfood moment. “Algae is earth’s original superfood,” says Mark Brooks, senior vice president of food ingredients at TerraVia, makers of Thrive algae oil. “Before kale, chia, acai and quinoa, there was algae.”
There are plenty of good reasons to eat more algae, in terms of both nutrition and sustainability. On the sustainability front, algae, which can grow up to 30 times faster than corn, doesn’t require a lot of space to produce. “Algae doesn’t require fertile soil, fossil fuels, inorganic fertilizers or pesticides in order to grow,” says Mark R. Edwards, an agribusiness professor emeritus at Arizona State University. “Algae can deliver superior nutrition without pollution or waste.” Read more
You know how, sometimes, after you’ve completed a big, stressful, mentally taxing assignment — a college term paper, say, or a complex work project — you suddenly feel ravenous? That may be because your brain, depleted of energy after working hard, signals you to eat more calories in order to fuel further efforts (thus explaining the much-feared Freshman 15). However, exercise may subvert this mental-stress-induced craving for calories, a study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, noted in The New York Times, indicates, because it increases the amount of blood sugar and lactate in the blood and increases blood flow to the head. Worth a try.
Is Your Commute Making You Fat?
A new study of British commuters conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health has found that those with long, “non-active” work commutes — passive rides in trains, buses or cars – may suffer consequences including heightened stress, blood pressure and BMI and decreased time for healthy activities, such as cooking nutritious meals, exercising and getting adequate sleep. Almost 38 percent of those polled said their long commute meant they had less time to make healthy meals at home, and 29 percent said their commute compelled them to eat more fast food. Noting that the survey found, too, that workers were consuming an extra 767 calories per week due to their long commutes, Health.com suggests eating a healthy breakfast (prepared ahead of time, if necessary) before leaving the house. Read more
Granola: Snack at Your Own Risk
Americans think of granola as healthy, but the granola we buy in stores or, often, make at home is usually so loaded with sugar we may as well be eating a piece of cake, a handful of cookies or a doughnut. In some cases, that cup of granola we eat for breakfast may actually contain more sugar than some of those dessert items, The New York Times notes, which explains why the U.S. government’s dietary guidelines categorize granola as a “grain-based dessert.” Some nutritionists say you can manage a healthier workaround by buying unsweetened granola and preparing it without adding sugar, but others just advise avoiding it altogether. Read more
Healthy Eating: The Teen Scene
If you want to instill healthy-eating habits in your children, obsessing about your own weight around them is not a great idea; it may increase the risk that they will develop eating disorders or obesity during their adolescent years and beyond. That’s according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has released new guidelines on preventing obesity and eating disorders in adolescents. The AAP recommends that parents discourage their children from dieting, severely restricting their calorie intake or skipping meals. Parents should encourage healthy eating and physical activity; make family meals, where adults model healthy eating, a priority; refrain from “weight talk,” either about their own or their children’s weight, and instead focus on “healthful-eating behaviors”; steer clear of “weight teasing” and try to encourage a healthy body image overall; and be aware of bullying or extreme weight-loss efforts in overweight or obese teens. Overall, UPI notes, a focus on a healthy lifestyle, rather than a weight, is the way to go. Read more
Department of Advance Planning
Spontaneity has its charms, but if you want to make better food choices, you may want to plan ahead. When people experienced a delay between the time they ordered their food and the time they intended to eat it, they consistently made healthier, lower-calorie choices. And they generally weren’t even aware they were doing so, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have found. Eric M. VanEpps, who led the research, said it’s not just that people are less hungry when they order in advance and therefore order less; it’s also due to their “bias toward the present,” he said. “If a decision is going to be implemented immediately, we just care about the immediate consequences, and we discount the long-term costs and benefits,” he told The New York Times. “In the case of food, we care about what’s happening right now — like how tasty it is — but discount the long-term costs of an unhealthy meal.” However, when you order a meal ahead of time, he said, “you’re more evenly weighing the short-term and the long-term costs and benefits. You still care about the taste, but you’re more able to exert self control.”