Nutrition News Bites – Week of December 13th, 2010

Healthy dining tops chefs’ list of 2011 trends
Sustainability, nutrition and healthy dining once again flavor an annual list of chefs’ predictions for the top menu trends of 2011. Locally sourced meats and seafood ranked No. 1, followed by local produce, sustainability and nutritious meals for children.

FDA advisers endorse obesity pill Contrave
A panel of FDA advisers has endorsed the approval of Orexigen Therapeutics’ weight-loss pill Contrave, concluding that the drug’s benefits outweigh potential risks. The experts said a larger clinical trial to evaluate Contrave’s cardiovascular risk can be done after the drug is approved. The agency is expected to hand down a decision early next year.

Vilsack touts “Let’s Move” campaign to mayors
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is touting how cities can implement first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to fight obesity in ways that won’t cost a lot of money. He suggested that mayors set up Food Policy Councils to review access to healthy foods in their communities.

Chicago-area chefs face barriers in efforts for better school lunches
A group of Chicago-area chefs who say they are determined to make public school fare healthier has hit several roadblocks, including budgetary constraints, food-service contracts, a lack of cooking facilities and district rules. However, the group, called Pilot Light, says it will continue to brainstorm and attempt to implement ideas, such as starting a garden at one pilot school.

A look back at 2010 food stories
The top food trends and stories in 2010, according to TheAtlantic.com, included White House initiatives to improve diets, the advent of genetically modified salmon and the continued status elevation of food trucks. Foraging, food safety and nose-to-tail eating were also big news in 2010, Daniel Fromson writes.

Evidence does not support vitamin D instead of flu shots
Physicians are prescribing doses of vitamin D to help patients ward off respiratory infections, and some even suggest it could be a substitute for a flu shot. Study data show vitamin D boosts the immune system, but scientists said there is not enough evidence that it will prevent a cold or the flu.

Gender can affect approach to diet, exercise
Men and women have different approaches to diet and exercise, with men more likely to focus on creating a challenge to reach their goals while women are more apt to focus on a number on the scale, according to this article. Experts say establishing specific performance goals can boost motivation and help people achieve weight goals.

Updated food guidelines to be released this month
Some say the federal government’s dietary guidelines, which are updated every five years, won’t change American eating habits, with one expert noting they will be “consistent with [USDA’s] mantra that there is no such thing as a good food or a bad food,” and another calling for specific guidance that spells out which foods are better than others.

Specific omega-3 fatty acids reduce depression, data show
Study data suggest that people with depression can benefit from omega-3 fatty acids, but only when specific ones are taken in the right combination. Researchers who analyzed results of 15 clinical trials found that docosahexaenoic acid alone did not offer benefits, but DHA combined with a high dose of eicosapentenoic acid improved symptoms.

Sleep is an important ingredient in a successful diet
Getting enough sleep is an important part of dieting, according to Ohio State University Medical Center dietitian Shirley Kindrick. She said that people who are tired are not going to want to exercise, and that when the body is sleep deprived hormonal changes occur that lead to cravings for carbohydrates.

General Mills again cuts sugar in cereals for children
General Mills said all 11 of its cereals marketed to children, including Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs, will have 10 grams of sugar or less per serving starting with Dec. 31 shipments. The company dropped sugar levels in those cereals to 11 grams a year ago, and plans to eventually get the sugar amount to single-digit grams per serving in an effort to combat childhood obesity.

Report: U.S. is not meeting goals in women’s health
The U.S. met three out of 26 goals for women’s health in 2010, and no state overall was able to get a satisfactory grade in health measures for women, according to a report from the National Women’s Law Center and Oregon Health Sciences University. The report showed high rates of women who are uninsured, diabetic, obese or binge drinkers, as well as an increased number of women with chlamydia.

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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