Nutrition News Bites – November 15th

by Lindsey Toth

Sebelius: New food labels will help shoppers make healthy choices

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told an obesity summit in Mississippi that consumers will find it easier to choose healthy foods when manufacturers begin putting easy-to-read nutrition labels on package fronts next year. The Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute are planning a $50 million education campaign in 2011 to raise consumer awareness about the labels.

Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds

On a “convenience store diet”, Kansas State University nutrition professor, Mark Haub, lost 27 pounds in two months. Haub limited himself to less than 1,800 calories per day, munching on Twinkies every three hours intead of meals, and adding variety with Hostess and Little Debbie snacks, Doritos chips, sugary cereals, and Oreos. In addition to the weight loss, Haub’s LDL dropped 20%, his HDL increased by 20%, and his triglycerides dropped 39%.

Study: Organic produce is not nutritionally superior

A study that compared organically grown carrots, potatoes and onions with conventionally grown ones found no statistical difference in the amount of certain polyphenols they contained. Scientists were seeking to determine whether soil conditions and growth systems would result in different amounts of flavonoids and phenolic acids, but commentators have noted that there are still reasons to choose organic foods.

Shoppers would welcome help with healthy food choices, survey finds

A survey found 69% of supermarket shoppers said they are interested in freshly prepared healthy meals; 64% would welcome programs suggesting healthier alternatives to the products they are buying; and more than 40% expressed interest in recipes, nutrition counseling, health screening services and other wellness programs.

Stress takes a toll on Americans’ eating habits, survey shows

A Harris Interactive survey of 1,134 Americans found that 76% of them cited money as a source of stress in 2010, compared with 71% last year. Respondents also said that stress had influenced their daily lives in the previous month, with 31% skipping meals, 40% overeating or eating unhealthy foods and 44% losing sleep.

College students get less exercise through the years

College students exercise less and gain weight as they advance in their studies, researchers found. Data showed freshmen walked an average of 684 minutes a week while seniors were more likely to take a bus and walked just 436 minutes a week.

Vending machine industry decries calorie labeling effort

The vending machine industry was up in arms Monday after learning that it stands to spend 14 million hours a year to comply with the law requiring calories to be listed next to food items in snack machines. The law requires vending machine operators with 20 or more machines to provide a sign in close proximity to disclose the calorie count of each food item.

School districts make food-program nutrition a priority

School districts nationwide are making nutrition a priority in their food programs by growing gardens, buying local produce and getting parents involved in meal planning. The nonprofit Wellness in the Schools program in New York City puts culinary-school graduates in public schools to make tasty, nutritious and appealing meals.

The science behind why we love ice cream

Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia have found that the salivary enzyme amylase could play a key role in determining the appeal of various textures of food. Researchers took DNA samples and found that people with higher numbers of gene copy, AMY1, reported that starch turned to liquid more quickly.

Study suggests over-diagnosis of food allergy in children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late last year that there has been an 18% rise in prevalence of food allergies among US children from 1997 to 2007. Depending on the reason for food avoidance, 84-93% of foods were restored to children’s diets following oral food challenges.

Lindsey Toth is currently finishing up her time in the joint Dietetic Internship/MS Nutrition and MS Nutrition Communications program. Boston’s beautiful scenery has turned Lindsey into an avid runner, and she just recently finished her first half marathon in September.  When Lindsey isn’t yogging, she is content sitting down with a close group of friends, baking some delicious treats, and watching a classic Disney movie.

The Friedman Sprout is a monthly student run newspaper that aims to serve the student population at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, prospective students, and alumni. Our mission is to report on newsworthy information that affects the Friedman community including nutrition research, food policy, internship and volunteer opportunities, as well as school events. Our editorial slant is that of sustainability in food and nutrition.

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