Nutrition News Bites – December 23rd, 2010

Study: Healthy eating varies by generation
Research from NPD Group indicates that all adults in the U.S. generally understand the basic concepts of healthy eating, yet younger Americans have the least healthful diets and adults 55 and older eat the most healthfully, due in part to medical conditions. The study author said food manufacturers should concentrate on “connecting the dots” for consumers between product benefits and healthful eating.

Overeating affects the brain’s reward response, study says
A study found that overweight and obese people had less activity in the caudate nucleus of the brain when drinking a milkshake than did normal-weight people. The researchers said overeating may actually cause a change in the brain’s reward response to tasty foods over time.

Study: Cranberry juice may not help prevent urinary tract infections
A study of college-age women who previously had a urinary tract infection found that those who drank cranberry juice daily for six months had a 20% rate of recurrence, compared with 14% for the placebo group.

Obama signs $4.5B child-nutrition bill into law
President Barack Obama on Monday signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 at an elementary school in Washington, D.C. The $4.5 billion law is part of the Obama administration’s initiative to fight obesity among children. “At a very basic level, this act is about doing what’s right for our children,” Obama said.

Food Channel predicts 2011 food trends
The Food Channel teamed with Mintel and other researchers on a list of food predictions for 2011. The 10 trends on the list include chefs in schools, rooftop gardens, social media for information and coupons, and the growing popularity of canning food.

Study: Soda tax would have little weight-loss effect, but big revenue
Researchers calculated the effect of taxing carbonated and noncarbonated drinks and found that a hypothetical 40% tax would cut an average of only 12.5 calories daily and 1.3 pounds annually per person. However, a 40% tax would yield an estimated annual revenue of about $2.5 billion, which could be used to fund weight-control and obesity programs.
EPA drops saccharin from its hazards list

Saccharin has been removed from the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of hazardous substances, the agency reported. Tagged as a potential cancer-causing agent in the 1980s, the artificial sweetener was cleared in the late 1990s but never removed from the EPA list.

U.S. investigates efficacy of herbal supplements
The U.S. government is spending millions of dollars on research to determine the health benefits of herbal supplements. People spent more than $5 billion on these products in 2009, but the NIH’s Marguerite Klein said evidence is lacking on whether many of them are safe and effective.

‘Thrifty gene’ may be to blame for obesity in certain instances
Beyond obvious causes of obesity like overeating, scientists may have found a gene that also plays a role, one that helped our ancestors survive famines.  Mice bred to lack this gene, known as CRTC3, can eat a high fat diet without gaining weight, while normal mice on the same diet grow plump, researchers found.

Sun, vitamin D together offer breast cancer protection
French study data on 67,721 women showed that those living in sunny climates who also had high dietary or supplemental intakes of vitamin D reduced their risk of breast cancer by up to 45%. The combination seems to be most effective, researchers said, because data showed dietary and supplemental intake of vitamin D alone did not provide a protective benefit.

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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