Monday, February 21, 2011
Turns out calorie information posted at fast food chains may not affect the way we order after all...
The International Journal of Obesity recently published findings by New York University researchers showing although most parents and older children in low-income populations notice calorie counts posted in fast-food restaurants, they still order as they would have before the labeling. These findings come at a time when the federal government is writing guidelines to require restaurants with 20 or more locations to post calorie information. The federal government guidelines follow moves made by several US cities and states.
Could this be a case of shock-and-awe gone awry? Or perhaps a case of individuals not realizing the implications of the information they are reading (e.g., that Big Mac you are about to eat has more than a quarter of your daily calories and that is before you add the fries and Coke)? Or maybe not caring... Or are these results specific to this geographic low income population? Sadly, other studies have generated similar results. The bottom line here is just posting calorie information is only a first step in helping Americans improve the way we eat. Menu labeling needs to be combined with other efforts, such as education in schools, to help us improve our diets and thus our health.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
One diet technique out there is to eat a larger breakfast in the hopes that you will be be more satiated and thus eat fewer calories throughout the rest of the day. This is one I have been known to rely on personally...okay and I have even carried the theory over into lunch, but leave it to the Germans to set me straight. This German study reveals that a large breakfast just adds to the overall calorie intake. In academic speak "Acute feeding experiments demonstrated that high breakfast energy leads to greater overall intake supported by cross-sectional data of a free-living population." AKA if you think getting the full breakfast skillet with a side of pancakes and bacon is going to put you on the path to skinny, you are way off.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
new nutrition standards for school meals. The standards will add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat foods. The school meal program in the US originated in 1947 with meals being distributed as a way to counteract malnutrition in addition to acting as a market for surplus agricultural products. It doesn't take too large of a leap to figure out that over time, the needs of big business have taken precidence over those of the students. But now the USDA is taking steps in the right direction. Today's school lunches some closer to resembling fast food than they do to the meals your mom used to make, that is unless you mom fed you straight from the closest fast food chain. With many kids consuming a majority of their daily calories at school, the new standards will help to get American kids back on the right health track. The standards limit levels of saturated fat, sodium, calories and trans fats. The changes are based on the recommendations released in October 2009 by the National Academies' Institute of Medicine (IOM). The standards aren't perfect (limits on sugars aren't addressed and flavored milks are still allowed), but they are a start!
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Next time you go to see a horror film, the snack you choose might be scarier than what is on the screen
Leave it to the folks at the Center for Science in the Public Interest to rain on our parade once again. Actually I mean they are providing helpful health information that is for our benefit, although sometimes the truth hurts. New lab tests show the bad guy is not in fact on the screen, he is the movie popcorn we are mindlessly throwing back. Tests at one major movie chain show a medium popcorn with a soda compares to three McDonald's Quarter Pounders...wait for it: with 12 pats of butter. Whoa! That is 1,610 calories and three days’ worth—60 grams—of saturated fat. Guess I will be steering clear from now on. So sad. This does not mean that you have permission to grab that family size box of Milk Duds instead. What are the alternatives? Ask to hold the salt and butter if it is not already applied upon your arrival at the counter, snack at home before you hit the theater, or you can always risk admonishment by security and bring your own snack, but please no celery, almonds, or carrots. I'm sure the person next to you would like to hear the film.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
CNN article breaks down six popular ways of eating and gives you the scoop on how they could be affecting your skin. Bottom line: fruits and veggies, plant based protein sources, red wine (in moderation), healthy grains and oils help to give you an edge.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Have you ever wondered about the sex lives of ducks, anchovy, whales, or even bedbugs? The mystery is over
The Sundance Channel and Isabella Rosselini (did you know Ingrid Bergman is her mother?) have teamed up to give us Green Porno and Seduce Me. Creative, educational and a sort of PG-13 naughty view into the sex lives of animals. I'm not sure we'll be seeing these award winning sex-ed videos in classrooms anytime soon, however now in the privacy of your own home, you too can take in some hot Anchovy mating action...
Binge drinking? STDs? While this might be the outcome of your office holiday party taken to a new level...
... it is also the latest health report card American women are getting. Why is it that with all the access we have to health information, in many ways we are less healthy all the time? The American public is eating worse and behaving more badly than ever, even as we gain more and more access to health information and innovations in health. Trust me, I do enjoy some bad behavior, but all things in moderation! This recent The New York Times article highlights the ways in which women are not making the grade.
The kicker here is that with a few changes in diet and lifestyle, we could be scoring much better. Most of the areas in which we are deficient - STDs, diabetes, obesity, lack of physical activity - are entirely avoidable. Even without an entire lifestyle overhaul, we could do much better. Small changes in diet and lifestyle make a big difference. Plus, I don't know about you, but I would prefer less medical intervention in my life, not more. Who wants all their cash going to health insurers and drug companies anyway? It is still okay to dance with a lampshade on your head on occasion as long as we are not talking everyday of the week. I'm going to eat a salad and go for a walk...