Nutrition News Bites- April 25th, 2011

by Rachel Perez

Friedman News

New Friedman Freeriders bike station encourages eco-friendly transportation

Last week the Friedman School Bike Club, known as the Friedman Freeriders, opened a bike station in the Jaharis student lounge.  Complete with floor pump, tire levers, patch kits, and a Boston area bicycle map, this shared toolbox is a handy repair resource for any cyclist.  The Friedman Freeriders will also feature a “Bike Maintenance 101” workshop and future group rides.

Food Policy 

Californiasproposed soda tax would raise $1.7 billion for kid health programs

A proposed bill in California would tax sweetened drinks, including sports drinks and iced tea. The revenue would go to the Children’s Health Promotion Fund to support statewide childhood-obesity prevention efforts, specifically funding school physical education classes, healthful cafeteria meals, and nutrition-awareness programs. Bob Achermann, spokesman for the California-Nevada Soft Drink Association in Sacramento, said targeting one industry to address obesity concerns is unfair, and suggests raising awareness of healthful habits, diet and exercise.

FTC files suit against acai berry websitestackles online health claims

Last week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asked federal courts to ban deceptive online claims featured on fake news websites that sell acai berry weight-loss products.  “Almost everything about these sites is fake.  The weight loss results, the so-called investigations, the reporters, and the consumer testimonials,” said David Vladeck of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Companies may be required to pay fines, and refund consumers who purchased the acai supplements.

CSA groups accept SNAPmaking local produce affordable to many

Out of the 100 community supported agriculture (CSA) groups in NYC, 22 accept SNAP/Food Stamps.  One example is West Harlem CSA, where members pay for weekly organic vegetable deliveries and help subsidize memberships for low-income families. “We’re working on all kinds of ways to get higher quality food into communities that might not have access to it, and we don’t want income to be a reason that people can’t join,” said Paula Lukats, who oversees most of the CSAs in New York.

Science 

StudySugar sweetened beverage consumption associated with higher risk for diabetes

An observational study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed 40,000 men for 20 years, and found that men who drank the most sugar-sweetened beverages – about one serving a day on average – were 16 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than men who never drank those beverages.  However once researchers took into account men’s weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol, those drinks were not related to diabetes risk.  Non-carbonated sugar-sweetened fruit drinks and diet sodas were not associated with increased risk, while drinking coffee every day was tied to a lower risk for the diabetes.

IOM releases nutrition guidelines for injured soldiers

A new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) says that soldiers with traumatic brain injuries need half their normal calorie intake and increased protein within 24 hours to reduce inflammation and increase chances of survival. The IOM asked the Department of Defense to research other nutrients and supplements – such as zinc, creatine, choline and n-3 fatty acids – that may benefit these victims.  Traumatic brain injury has affected more than 30,000 service members over the last decade, and accounts for nearly one-third of all injury-related deaths in the U.S.

Agriculture 

U.Smakes progress on Panama Free Trade Agreement

Last week the Obama administration announced a deal to advance the Panama Free Trade Agreement, an agreement for liberalized trade between the two countries.  Though the trade promotion was signed in June 2007, U.S. approval is pending due to labor and tax policies.  Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, says advancement is welcome news for America’s farmers and ranchers.  “Once implemented, the Panama FTA will level the playing field for U.S. farmers and ranchers by eliminating these tariffs.”

USDA to revamp National Farmers Market Directory

Last week USDA started updates to the National Farmers Market Directory, an official count of farmers markets across the nation.  The directory is set for release during National Farmers Market Week on August 7-13, and will be the first version to track markets with multiple locations and days of operation.  According to the USDA, farmers markets have increased from 1,755 in 1994 to 6,132 in 2010.

Food and Features 

Restaurants partner with farmers for tabletofarm movement.

Bloomburg Businessweek explores the emerging table-to-farm trend of restaurant composting.  “Municipal composting is coming.  Farm to table is good. Farm to table back to farm is even better,” comments Jeremy Brosowksy, owner of Compost Cab company in Washington D.C.

Celebrity BuzzRoyal wedding will feature appetizersmodest menu

What can the 650 guests at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding expect to eat on April 29, 2011?  Though not a five-course meal, Queen Elizabeth is planning a modest spread of Champagne, wedding cake, and canapes.  The decision may be driven by protocol, by Buckingham Palace kitchen logistics, and by concerns about how the public would view royals who feast during a time of lingering economic pain.

Rachel Perez is a second year Nutrition Communications student.  Feel free to email her at rachel.perez@tufts.edu with feedback or any nutrition nibbles you might find!

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