All Posts In Food News

8 Food Trends to Expect in 2013

by in Food News, December 29, 2012

kale
Each year new diets, super foods and other food trends are splashed over the media and discussed by the water coolers. Sometimes these trends continue for a few years, others are out the door as quickly as they came in. Look for these hot trends in 2013.

#1: Cruciferous Greens
Members of the cabbage family such as kale, chard, turnip greens and mustard greens will start making regular appearances at restaurants. How about kale chips with your sandwich or burger?

#2: Cupcake-Dispensing ATMs
This ATM look-a-like dispenses freshly baked cupcakes 24/7. Other companies like Jamba Juice (JamboGo) and Seattle’s Best Coffee brands also have vending machines to buy their goodies.

#3: Crackdown on Food Claims
In 2012, many folks were surprised to learn that chocolate hazelnut spread wasn’t as healthy as the ads and product label promoted. A producer of Greek yogurt was also sued for using milk protein concentrate — an ingredient that isn’t acceptable by the FDA to be used in Greek yogurt –  in lieu of straining techniques used to make Greek yogurt. Consumers don’t want to be misled by food manufacturers and are raising their voices.

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Monk Fruit Sweeteners

by in Food News, November 26, 2012

monk fruit
Sugary goodness, but no calories in sight. Is the newest no-calorie sweetener made from the ancient Monk fruit too good to be true? Find out.

What is Monk Fruit?
This ancient Chinese fruit is also known as luo han guo. According to my go-to Chinese medicine expert (a close friend), traditionally this fruit is used for building immunity and fighting sugar cravings.

The Monk fruit is similar in size and shape to a lemon; its color is somewhere between Kelly and lime green, with pale green streaks. The inner pulp is used to create a super-sweet product that (in small portions) contains very little calories.

Manufactures of monk fruit sweeteners report that it’s 300 times sweeter than sugar, which allows it to be used in small quantities.

A few years back, the FDA gave some products derived from monk fruit the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) designation, which has allowed food companies to process and incorporate it into powders and extracts. This means you can find it on ingredient lists as well as standalone packets and canisters. This sweetener is relatively new on the scene; if you haven’t seen it in your local grocery store, you will soon.

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Food Day 2012

by in Food News, October 23, 2012

food day logo
The second annual Food Day is this Wednesday. Thousands of events are taking place around the country to help celebrate healthy, affordable and sustainable food. Here are some fun ways folks are celebrating and ideas on how you can celebrate Food Day in your neck of the woods.

About Food Day
Food Day takes place on October 24th each year. Food movement leaders, organizations, nutrition professionals, labor leaders, environmentalists, farmers, chefs, authors, cookbook writers, parents, kids and teachers have come together to unite their belief in a better food system. Food Day aims to fulfill six goals, which you can read about in a post I wrote about Food Day last year.

Events celebrating Food Day have been organized nationwide, but you can also create a local event at your school or library or at home with family and friends.

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Ordering Food Online Might Mean Consuming More Calories

by in Dining Out, Food News, October 18, 2012

pizza on a computer screen
Ordering food online is as easy as a click of a button. Plus you avoid the long lines and there’s no human interaction. But a recent study found that ordering your meals online isn’t so good for your waistline.

The Study
A 2012 study by Ryan McDevitt, an assistant professor at the University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business, examined the patterns of people who ordered food by phone or at the counter from a franchised pizza establishment compared with those who ordered online. They looked at over 160,000 orders made by over 56,000 unique customers over 4 years. The most notable differences between those who ordered online compared to those who ordered over the phone or in person included:

  • Customers ordering online spent $0.61 more (4%), on average, though they ordered fewer items. The increase in cost was due to increased toppings.
  • The items ordered online were 15% more complex and had 6.1% more calories.

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Nutrition News: Study Results Show Arsenic Levels in Rice

by in Food News, October 1, 2012

brown rice
By now you’ve probably heard about the recent findings of FDA and Consumer Reports investigations. Testing discovered alarmingly high amount of arsenic in rice and rice products. Tainted foods included infant cereals and formula, breakfast cereals, brown rice and even rice milk.

What is Arsenic?
This naturally existing element can be found in the air, soil and water supply in varying amounts. Consumption over time has been linked to certain types of cancer and deficits in neurological development.

It’s difficult to assess just how much arsenic is too much. Furthermore, it’s not well understood just how long the body holds on it – so it’s unclear how much can accumulate in the system over time.

The Environmental Protection Agency deems small amount of arsenic safe for consumption but recent reports have found the amounts found in rice to be beyond this “safe” dose.

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More Help for Healthy Eating on a Budget

by in Food News, September 25, 2012

shopping basket
We keep saying that healthy eating can and be budget friendly. Late last month, the folks that brought you the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) unveiled their newest consumer-friendly tool – the Good Food on a Tight Budget Guide, so there’s more help than ever for consumers who are trying to eat right but not spend more.

The List
This guide sets out to identify the most nutritious, economical and pollutant-free foods available. Looking at ingredient quality, price, nutrients, pesticide load and other factors helped to create a list of top 100 go-to foods.

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Nutrition News: Investigating Health Claims on Energy Drinks

by in Food News, September 24, 2012

energy drinks
Recent news reports have discussed how New York lawmakers are leaning into energy drink makers about the quality and safety of their products. Fan favorites like AMP, Monster and 5-Hour Energy are all under investigation. These energy-promising drinks continue to gain popularity with folks of all ages — but are they safe?

Energy Drinks 101
We’ve broken down the details on why energy drinks can be so dangerous in the recent post Energy Drinks: Good or Bad? (hint: they’re bad!). Lots of sugar, caffeine and other questionable ingredients are to blame.

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Convenience, Not Cost, Causes Weight Gain

by in Food News, September 11, 2012

fast food
When I heard the results of this recent study, I wasn’t too surprised. For years, I’ve been privately counseling folks who fall both above and below the poverty line. I’ve seen the patterns and am glad there is now statistical data to prove it. Cost has always been blamed for poor eating habits, but it’s the middle class folks who are most obese. They’re spending their hard earned money on fast food and other convenience cuisine.

The Stats
Findings for the 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found:

  • Thirty million (or 41%) of obese adults have an income at or above 250% of the poverty level and over 28 million (39%) of obese adults have incomes between 130%-350% of the poverty level while fifteen million adults (20%) of obese adults have an income below 130% of the poverty level.
  • For men, there was no significant difference between education level and the prevalence of obesity. For women, however, the prevalence of obesity increased as education level decreased.
  • Middle income folks eat at fast food joints most often while 80% of those with a low income cook at home at least 5 times a week.

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Food News: McDonald’s Opening Vegetarian-Only Locations

by in Food News, September 6, 2012
mcaloo tikki
McDonald's new Mcaloo Tikki will make its debut in India in 2013.

McDonald’s may best be known for its hamburgers, but the fast-food chain is changing out its trademark beef patties for the potato variety—well, in India at least. The fast-food chain is planning to open two new vegetarian-only restaurants in the predominately Hindu and Muslim country next year; menu items will include locally-inspired dishes like the Mcaloo Tikki, a burger made with a breaded potato and pea patty, special vegetable sauce, ketchup, red onion and two slices of tomato. The restaurant will also offer the McCurry Pan, a dish of curried broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms and red bell pepper that’s baked in a crust.

McDonald’s locations in India already don’t sell beef or pork, and the kitchens are separated into vegetarian and non-vegetarian sections. The new restaurants are set for locations in “northern Indian cities that are pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Sikhs,” according to Rajesh Kumar Maini, a spokesman for the company’s north and east Indian operations who was quoted in a recent article.

To learn more, read the full article.

What do you think about the chain’s vegetarian options? Is it a ploy to get customers in the door, or just a new localized offering?

Nutrition News: Is Eating Egg Yolks as Bad as Smoking?

by in Food News, September 5, 2012

egg yolk
By now you’ve probably heard about the study claiming eating egg yolks is as bad for your heart as smoking. We just had to weigh in on this!

We Heart Eggs
We’ve already discussed the benefits of eggs. Eating them (yolks and all) offers protein, heart healthy omega-3 fats, plus cell-protecting antioxidants like lutein. Read up on these previous posts:

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