by Amy Reiter in Food News, August 19, 2016
by Amy Reiter in Food News, August 12, 2016
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.”
by Toby Amidor in Grocery Shopping, Trends, August 10, 2016
Where our diets go wrong
When it comes to the healthfulness of Americans’ diets, something’s not adding up. Even though more than 80 percent of us don’t eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables, many of us overdo it with refined grains and sugar, and 36 percent of us are obese, 75 percent of us claim our diets are healthy, NPR reports, citing a recent national poll it co-conducted. What gives? Experts tell NPR it could be a matter of portion size — that we’re overeating foods that are healthy when consumed in moderation. Another factor in the discrepancy might be that we’re eating foods — like sugar-loaded granola bars — that we think are healthy, perhaps because they are marketed to us that way, but that really are not so good for us. Read more
by Amy Reiter in Food News, August 5, 2016
The fruits and flowers of a macadamia tree
New nondairy beverages beyond soy and almond are popping up on market shelves left and right. Here are some of the lesser-known varieties you’ll want to add to your repertoire.
One cup of original macadamia milk contains 70 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 1 grams of protein and 6 grams of sugar. The calories and nutrients vary between brands, so be sure to check the nutrition facts panel. Many brands fortify their macadamia milk in order to up the nutrition. Look for macadamia milk with added vitamins A, B-12 and D.
Where to buy: Suncoast Gold and Milkadamia make original and unsweetened varieties.
Made with oats, oat bran and salt, oat milk has a creamy texture and helps you get the daily recommended amount of whole grains (though without all the fiber). As with many other milk-alternative beverages, oat milk beverage isn’t a suitable substitute for the recommended daily servings of dairy. It does naturally contain calcium and iron, but do look for fortified versions that also contain other nutrients, like vitamin D, riboflavin and vitamin A.
Where to buy: Pacific Foods and Living Harvest make organic plain and vanilla varieties. Read more
by Amy Reiter in Food News, July 29, 2016
Can’t eat just one …
We eat in hopes of satisfying our hunger, but some foods actually do the opposite, activating areas in our brain and gut that stir our desire for more. “The sight, smell, or taste of some food will trigger the cephalic food response,” Dr. Belinda Lennerz, an endocrinologist affiliated with Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, told Time. The news magazine’s website fingers nine foods that create, rather than curb, cravings. They are … processed carbs like 1) potato chips, 2) crackers and 3) bread; sugary foods like 4) cookies, 5) cake and 6) sweets; easy-to-swallow foods like 7) low-fat, single-serve yogurt; and 8) diet drinks and 9) artificially sweetened snack foods. Read more
by Sally Wadyka in Food News, July 23, 2016
Is the American government underwriting your weakness for junk food? A new study appears to confirm what health advocates have been saying for a while: that federally subsidized crops — corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, sorghum, milk and meat — are key ingredients in the foods that account for the most calories in the American diet, fueling the U.S. obesity crisis. At the very top of that list, The New York Times reports, are “grain-based desserts like cookies, doughnuts and granola bars.” Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that people who consumed the most federally subsidized foods were 37 percent more likely to be obese, the Times notes, and were “significantly more likely to have belly fat, abnormal cholesterol, and high levels of blood sugar and CRP, a marker of inflammation.” The study’s authors say they hope their findings help policy makers re-examine how they allocate subsidies. Read more
by Amy Reiter in Food News, July 22, 2016
You already know they’re good for you in all kinds of ways, but the latest research on fruits and vegetables has revealed some very surprising results. Apparently, eating more produce can actually increase your level of happiness over time. The newly released study, conducted at the University of Warwick, followed 12,000 people who kept food diaries and had their psychological well-being measured. What it found is that people got incrementally happier with every daily serving of fruit and vegetables they ate (up to eight portions a day). Why the connection between increased produce consumption and increased happiness? Researchers don’t know for sure, but one possible theory is that the abundance of antioxidants the fruits and vegetables provides leads to higher levels of carotenoids in the blood — and having higher levels of carotenoids has been linked to optimism. Read more
by Amy Reiter in Food News, July 15, 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
by Amy Reiter in Food News, July 8, 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
by Amy Reiter in Food News, July 1, 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
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