Nutrition News Bites – November 22nd

by Lindsey Toth

Researchers warn about health effects of energy drinks
U.S. physicians urge caution in the consumption of energy drinks and say federal regulation of the beverages is needed. The researchers cited a lack of evidence on the effects of the beverages, but said they may cause dehydration and may affect a user’s heart rate, blood pressure and mental state because of the high sugar and caffeine content.

Exercise has little long-term benefit as an antidepressant, data show
A meta-analysis of study data found little evidence that exercise has a long-term benefit for patients with depression and may have just a small short-term antidepressant effect. Researchers said, however, that patients still may benefit from exercise as a coping mechanism or as a way to reduce their increased risk of lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

Adults, children are not eating enough fruits and veggies
Most U.S. adults and children eat less than 2 cups of fruits and vegetables daily, compared with the 4 to 6 cups recommended by dietary guidelines, according to a report. Only 3% of all fruits and 15% of vegetables are consumed at restaurants, the report found.

Not everyone benefits from working out, study finds
People do not always respond as expected or even at all to working out, researchers found in a study of weight training and endurance exercise. Some people achieved small improvements, others became less fit and some had major positive gains. Experts said the data on such a wide variety of responses and individual differences could have huge implications.

FDA rules against alcohol-caffeine drinks
The FDA on Wednesday ruled that drinks that combine alcohol and caffeine violate safety rules and pose a potential public-health concern. The agency sent letters to manufacturers alerting them that the products are illegal and should be removed from the market. 

Child-nutrition bill could get a December vote in House
The House plans to take up the $4.5 billion child-nutrition bill in early December under a closed rule that will not allow amendments, advocates said. The bill, which already passed the Senate, would expand eligibility for school-meal programs, establish nutrition standards and give schools more money to serve healthy foods.

Guiltless Gluttony: Misleading Size Labels Lead to Overeating

A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that inconsistent portion sizes contribute to people’s uncertainty about the appropriate amount to eat.  The authors of the study found there was a biasing effect among size labels – when a large item was labeled “small,” they felt less guilty; the authors called this effect “guiltless gluttony.”

Study predicts future US snack trends

New model uses relationships between consumption, demographics, and other characteristics to forecast future US consumption trends. Major findings? Females snack more often than males, but consume less in volume over a two week period, and females also consume a higher volume of yogurt, veggies chips, cookies, chocolates, and meal-replacement snacks, whereas men eat more chips.  Households with children consume more salty snacks, salsa, and cookies.

How the food industry should act on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines

Sodium reduction, providing smaller portion sizes, and better portion labeling are key areas for food industry action in light of the upcoming Dietary Guidelines for Americas, according to the advisory committee chair.  Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) chair, Linda Van Horn, said that companies are aware that if they don’t find a way to reduce sodium without affecting consumer acceptance, their competitors will.

Even toddler girls pick up on the obsession with being thin
A study found that girls as young as age 3 can perceive the societal value of being thin, which researchers said is troubling because it could lead to a higher risk of eating disorders and depression. Study data also showed the girls had negative reactions to images of people who were fat.

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.

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