While studying for a master’s degree, Eve Turow started noticing something interesting happening among her friends and classmates. “Everyone was always talking about food,” she recalls. That simple observation spawned a four-year research project and eventually the book A Taste of Generation Yum (Pronoun, 2015). In it Turow examines why millennials (also known as Generation Y) — the 80 million people born between 1980 and 2000 — have traded in the bright-orange mac and cheese of their childhood for craft beers, artisanal cheeses and organic, free-range everything.
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We all love when pumpkin is back in season and products abound to deliver the best of that favorite flavor, but what’s the next kind of seasonal produce making headlines? Sweet potatoes. Products are popping up all over this month welcoming sweet potatoes as the new star of healthy snacks.
Nutrition News: How Healthy Is Dried Fruit? Plus, Mediterranean Diet Under Fire; Antibiotics and Childhood Obesityby Amy Reiter 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
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
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
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.
Nutrition News: White Pasta Alternatives, Dietary Guidelines and Sustainability and Social Media’s Nutritional Impactby Amy Reiter 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.
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
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