Everyone is buzzing about this power couple since their personal chef revealed what the NFL superstar quarterback and his supermodel wife eat from day to day. Is this “super” eating plan all it’s cracked up to be?
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School lunch success
School lunches get a bad health rap, but they may be getting better. A new study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, indicates that the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, a 2012 federal law that aims to nutritionally boost school lunches by making whole grains, vegetables and fruits more available and requiring students to select one fruit or vegetable portion per meal, has prompted kids to consume more essential nutrients and fewer calories. The study’s lead author, Donna B. Johnson, a professor at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health, told The New York Times that the study proves the policy has “improved the quality of meals served to millions of children every day” and that “kids are healthier because of it.” Read more
Craft beer clarity
Pretty soon, when you order a craft beer at a chain restaurant or brewpub, you’ll know a lot more about its nutritional value and calorie count than you do now. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed new regulations that would require craft breweries to list nutritional information on the beers offered at chain eateries, specifying a December 2016 deadline. Although the new rules may be costly for small brewers to implement, many have embraced the move toward greater transparency, ABC15, in Arizona, reports. “Craft brewers would love ingredients to be listed as well … because that’s really what separates us as ‘craft,’” Mike Lawinski, owner of Fate Brewing Company, in Boulder, Colo., told the station, “and a lot of the bigger breweries are using GMO ingredients and high-fructose ingredients.” Read more
Coke-funded obesity group goes belly-up
That didn’t take long. The Global Energy Balance Network, a nonprofit organization that played down the role of calories from food and beverages in the obesity epidemic (and which, a New York Times expose revealed in August, was funded by Coca-Cola), announced last week that it would shutter immediately “due to resource limitations.” In November, the University of Colorado, where the organization’s leader is a professor, said it would return a $1 million donation from Coca-Cola, while the University of South Carolina, where another of the group’s leaders is on the faculty, says it plans to keep a $500,000 donation from the beverage giant. The announcement came only days after Coke’s chief science and health officer, Rhona S. Applebaum, who helped orchestrate the Global Energy Balance Network’s establishment, announced her retirement.
A healthier Kiss
The thing about Hershey’s Kisses and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars is that they’re always reliably the same, right? Not this year. Hershey’s has announced that both of those candy staples will now be made with simple, recognizable ingredients and no artificial flavors. The formula change, starting with holiday Hershey’s Kisses, is part of the chocolate giant’s larger commitment to greater transparency about ingredients. “We started making our great-tasting chocolate in 1894 with ingredients you might find in your pantry, like cocoa, milk, sugar and vanilla, and we’re continuing that tradition today,” Mary-Ann Somers, Hershey’s vice president and general manager of U.S. confection, said in a press release. “People want to see ingredients that they know and are familiar with in their foods and we’re listening.” The holiday Kisses will also come in packs featuring a SmartLabel QR code that provides consumer access to information about nutrition and allergens. Read more
Ah, youth. Millennials are less concerned about calories and fat in the foods they eat than the population at large and are more inclined to use technology as a health and wellness tool, according to the International Food Information Council’s 2015 Food and Health Survey. The survey also found that millennials (born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s) are more likely to believe higher-protein foods may have unhealthy attributes, are more apt to use diet-related apps and online support groups, rely more heavily on the support of family and friends in their efforts to maintain a healthy diet, and tend to trust health and nutrition bloggers and to feel more optimistic about the healthful potential of food innovations and new inventions. “Millennials are a unique generation, and their approach to health and fitness is no exception,” Sarah Romotsky, R.D., director of health and wellness for the IFIC Foundation, told Food Business News.
Junk Food Is Not the Sole Culprit
While no one’s saying soda, candy and fast food are healthy, a new study suggests they alone cannot be blamed for the obesity epidemic. Cornell University Food and Brand Lab co-directors David Just, Ph.D., and Brian Wansink, Ph.D., analyzed the dietary habits of about 5,000 U.S. adults and found that, for 95 percent of the population, there was no link between the consumption of soda, candy and fast food and weight gain. “These are foods that are clearly bad for you and if you eat too much of them they will make you fat, but it doesn’t appear to be the main driver that is making people overweight and obese,” Just told HealthDay. The researchers said eating less and exercising more overall is the key to controlling weight, and they clarified that they are not endorsing a junk food diet, even in moderation. “These foods aren’t good for you,” Just said. “There is no good argument for soda in your diet.” Read more
Hide the Leftover Halloween Candy
Cutting back on sugar consumption can dramatically improve the health of obese children in only 10 days, even when they remain at the same weight, a new study has found. Foods with added sugar were eliminated from the diets of the children who participated in the National Institutes of Health-backed study and replaced with other carbs to maintain calorie intake. The children’s weight was deliberately kept stable; nevertheless, all 43 children in the study showed improvements in blood pressure as well as cholesterol and blood sugar levels. “We can turn a child’s metabolic health around in 10 days without changing calories and without changing weight — just by taking the added sugars out of their diet,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Benioff Children’s Hospital of the University of California, San Francisco, told The New York Times. “From a clinical standpoint, from a health care standpoint, that’s very important.” Read more
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.