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Have a Bite, It's Natural, Chris Sorensen, Maclean's, May 2012
Consumer demand for natural ingredients is leading to significant changes in the operations of some food companies. Also, increased attention to the ethical treatment of animals is changing the foods that are offered in popular restaurants and the nature of how some farmers raise their animals.
Behind the Brand: McDonald's, Peter Salisbury, Ecologist.com, June 2011
McDonald's is taking strides to improve its image by offering healthier options in the United States and has changed its operations to more ethical and ecofriendly practices in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. McDonald's UK has made great strides to ensure no GM foods are sold at its restaurants.
Go On: Eat Your Heart Out, Bruce Horovitz, USA Today, June 2012
With increased access to information, viral videos, and documentaries of food production in the United States, consumers are experiencing a new emotion related to food: fear. Products that are grown naturally, ethically, and safely are at increasing demand. U.S. consumers' emotional attachment to food is leading the food industry to change the way it produces and markets food.
Fresh Fruit, Hold the Insulin, Scientific American's Board of Editors, Scientific American, May 2012
The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (i.e., "Farm Bill") is up for renewal. This ignites conversation about the impact of the federal government's degree of financial backing for industrial growers of commodity crops in relation to the lesser support of fruit and vegetable production. This editorial report discusses the outcome of the Farm Bill on the U.S. food supply and, secondarily, its food intake.
The New Healthy, Amy Winterfeld, State Legislatures, January 2012
Lawmakers of state governments are creating initiatives that support the USDA's latest nutrition education campaign, My Plate. Legislative support for improving access to locally grown fruits and vegetables, seafood, and dairy is becoming more prevalent at the state level. These efforts serve to improve not only the health of the states' people, but also their economies.
Nutrigenomics: Not Ready for Prime Time, Steven Novella, Science Based Medicine, January 2, 2013
Why can one person consume a diet high in refined sugar and solid fats reach 100 years of age disease-free, yet another person—who follows the same diet and lifestyle— may die of complications from cardiovascular disease by age 50 years? Some people say that the field of nutrigenomics will allow doctors to prescribe a particular diet based on a person's genes. However, Yale neurologist Steven P. Novella acknowledges that the research about gene/nutrients is promising but warns that it will take decades to the science to be refined.
Cause + Effect, Elisabeth A. Sullivan, Marketing News, March 2012
Sara Bleich and colleagues investigated how consumer behavior is impacted by the way calorie information is presented. Bleich et al. tested three ways of presenting calorie information, a calorie count, percentage of daily intake, and physical activity equivalent. Information presented as physical activity equivalents had the most impact on purchasing behavior among low-income black adolescents in Baltimore, Maryland.
Can Social Media Produce Wellness Results?, Michelle V. Rafter, Workforce Management, June 2012
A recent trend in corporate wellness programs is the use of social media platforms to support employees adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors. Social media programs can provide a venue for participants to journal, create fitness challenges, and offer support to fellow participants. It provides social support and motivating factors such as accountability and friendly competition.
Tea's Good for the Heart: Studies Show a Few Cups a Day Keep Heart Disease at Bay, Lori Zanteson, Today's Dietitian, March 2013
Green tea has been the rave for several years. Does it really provide greater heart-health benefits than oolong and black teas or are all teas the same? This article describes the differences between white, green, black, oolong and herbal teas and highlights recent studies about the benefits various teas have on heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
FDA to Investigate Added Caffeine, Michael R. Taylor, FDA Consumer Health Information, May 2013
Caffeine, once found only in beverages, is being added to chewing gum, jelly beans, marshmallows, sunflower seeds, and other snack foods.. Is this going a bit too far? The FDA, whose role is to protect the health of Americans, is concerned about the influence caffeine can have on children and adolescents.
The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food, Michael Moss, The New York Times, February 20, 2013
Do you remember the slogan "Bet you can't eat just one"? Food scientists at the potato chip giant spent hours determining the exact amount of salt to use on their chips to make people crave more—and it worked! The same is true when it comes to the amount of sugar (and other flavoring) required to make us addicted to spaghetti sauce, soft drinks, breakfast pastries, and other foods with hidden sugar. This selection provides the history behind many of America's favorite junk foods.
The State of Family Nutrition and Physical Activity: Are We Making Progress? American Dietetic Association (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) and American Dietetic Association Foundation, 2011
The American Dietetic Association, along with its Foundation, published this thorough report of the state of childhood/family nutrition and physical activity.
The Impact of Teachers and Families on Young Children's Eating Behaviors, Erin K. Eliassen, Young Children, March 2011
This article addresses how children's taste perception, food preferences, and eating behaviors are shaped by the role models that surround them. Practical advice is given on how to encourage positive eating behaviors in children.
Do Organics Promote Children's Health?, Carol Ann Brannon, Today's Dietitian, December 2011
Pregnant women and young children are at higher risk for the adverse effects of chemicals used in conventional agricultural practices. Research is supportive of a possible connection between chemicals in foods and attention, cognition, behavior, and sensory issues in children.
Ultimate Food Fight Erupts as Feds Recook School Lunch Rules, Nirvi Shah, Edweek.org, April 2011
The recent passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act has prompted the USDA to modify the standards for the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs. The new standards for breakfast and lunches served in school cafeterias are addressed in this article.
Junk Food-Free Vending Machines Go to School, Nick Leiber, Bloomberg Businessweek, January 2011
When policies were tightened to address the junk food available to kids in vending machines, thousands of vending companies fled the school vending market, leaving room for new concepts in healthy vending options. Small companies, many of them start-ups, are going into the vending business to provide healthy food and beverage items sold in vending machines at U.S. schools.
The School Lunch Wars, Kristen Hinman, The Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2011
The quality of meals offered in U.S. schools has become highly scrutinized in the past few years. This article describes the history of the School Lunch Program and offers personal stories of food service professionals attempting to make a difference.
Feeding the Kiddie: A Brief History of the Children's Menu, Michele Humes, Slate, August 7, 2013
Do children's menus in America influence what kids eat, or do restaurants plan their kids meals to satisfy young palates? The standard kids' menu consists of chicken fingers, fries, and mac–n-cheese. It's logical why these foods are chosen, but if restaurants raised the bar on food quality and included grilled fish, asparagus, and brown rice, would American children opt for these foods?
The Use of Caffeine in Energy Drinks, Amelia Arria et al., The New York Times, March 19, 2013
Caffeinated energy drinks are popular among children, teens, and college students. This selection is a letter written by 18 medical doctors, researchers, and public health officials urging FDA's commissioner to restrict the amount of caffeine in energy drinks and to require manufacturers to list caffeine content on the products.
Vitamin K2: A Little-Known Nutrient Can Make a Big Difference in Heart and Bone Health, Aglaée Jacob, Today's Dietitian, June 2013
Vitamin K does more than function in coagulation, especially vitamin K-2 (menaquinon) the form of the vitamin that is produced by bacteria in the gut. (K-1 [phylloquinone] is derived from plants). Recent research focuses on vitamin K-2 and its roles in bone and heart health.
Paranoia about Fats Is Driven by Junk Science, Jill Richardson, AlterNet, May 23, 2013
Over the last century, Americans have become increasingly confused about fat. Early Americans ate real butter, lard, and whole fat milk; in the 1960s, we were told to stay away from any saturated fat, and were encouraged to use shortening and margarine made from vegetable oils. Nutritionists taught us that saturated (animal) fat is bad while unsaturated (vegetable) fat is good. But was this advice based on sound research? Jill Richardson traces the ever-changing recommendations about dietary fat and recommends the right balance—of omega-3 to omega-6.
Antioxidants: More Is Not Always Better, Consumer Reports, March 13, 2013
Antioxidants are powerful nutrients and can work for or against you, depending on the amount you consume. Do we need to eat pomegranates, blueberries, and kale to get our daily dose of antioxidants or are supplements just as good? Are all antioxidants vitamins—or are all vitamins antioxidants? These and other questions are discussed in this selection.
Friend or Foe?, Graham Lawton, New Scientist, December 2011
Sodium restriction is one of the most prominent public health messages in the US. The USDA's most recent dietary guidelines have further reduced the recommendation of sodium intake. A proposed next step is to address the amount of sodium in the processed foods, which is the main source of sodium in the US diet.
Nutrition for Optimum Athletic Performance: The Right Fuel Can Be the Difference, Ellen Coleman, Today's Dietitian, March 2011
More Americans are increasing their activity level to meet or exceed the exercise recommendations published in the Dietary Guidelines. As a result, more people are exercising at the level of "athlete" rather than occasional exerciser. This article addresses how to properly fuel and hydrate for optimal athletic conditioning.
We Will Be What We Eat, Meryl Davids Landau, US News & World Report, February 2010
If the U.S. population continues to eat the "typical American diet," our country will see higher risk for and prevalence of osteoporosis, heart disease, hypertension, insulin resistance, dementia, arthritis, and certain cancers. This article addresses how foods and diet play a role in these diseases.
Insulin Resistance, Rita Carey Rubin, Today's Dietitian, July 2013
Insulin resistance appears to play a role in the development of diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). While much remains to be discovered about the exact causes of the condition, this selection reviews the current theory and research regarding the condition's etiology and major risk factors as well as the role it may play in the development of diabetes and CVD.
Sugar Belly: How Much Is Too Much Sugar?, Bonnie Liebman, Nutrition Action Health Letter, April 2012
Research supports the link between consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of type two diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, gout, and weight gain. Added fructose has been tied to increased levels of triglycerides in the blood, decreased fat oxidation, increased LDL cholesterol, increased uric acid in the blood, and an increase in visceral fat.
A Diabetes Cliffhanger, Maryn McKenna, Scientific American, February 2012
The incidence of type one diabetes has been increasing at rates of 3 to 5 percent per year. This article reviews competing hypothesis that attempt to explain the rise in type one diabetes; the hygiene hypothesis and overload hypothesis.
Nutrition and Immunity: Balancing Diet and Immune Function, Susan S. Percival, Nutrition Today, January/February 2011
Proper nutrition and balanced nutrient intake is required for our immune system to function optimally. This article describes the complex immune response and how nutrient deficiencies impair our immune system.
How to Save Your Brain, Nikhil Swaminathan, Psychology Today, January/February 2012
Scientific evidence supports the link between healthy lifestyle behaviors and delaying or preventing the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Antioxidants, consistent intake of a variety of nutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids all play an important part in preserving brain health.
Soothe the Fire in Your Belly, Consumer Reports on Health, July 2012
More than 50 million people in the United States experience heartburn at least once per month. What a person eats can contribute to the unpleasant symptoms of this condition. Often people get temporary relief from over-the-counter medications. However, if the condition persists, it may mean that a more serious chronic condition is occurring.
When the Liver Gets Fatty, Harvard Health Letter, January 2011
Obesity and diabetes can cause excessive fat deposits in the liver. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease affects an estimated 70 to 90 percent of obese people with type two diabetes. This article describes nonalcoholic liver disease, its diagnosis, and possible treatments.
Some of My Best Friends Are Germs, Michal Pollan, The New York Times, May 13, 2013
Michal Pollan describes his experiences as a participant in the "American Gut" project, a national initiative to identify the number and strains of bacterial species that reside in a person's gut. He describes the benefits of bacteria (also known as probiotics) and how a diet based on unprocessed or lightly cooked plant foods serve as a food (prebiotic) for the bacteria.
How to Fix the Obesity Crisis, David H. Freedman, Scientific American, February 2011
The cause of our obesity crisis is multifactorial, as are the solutions to the problem. This article describes possible solutions to decrease the prevalence of obesity, including behavior-focused interventions and changes in public policy.
Obesity Rates in U.S. Appear to Be Finally Leveling Off, Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times, January 17, 2012
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) indicates that the prevalence of obesity in the United States remains unchanged compared to the 2005–2006 data. More than 78 million Americans are obese (BMI >30) and an additional one-third of the population is overweight.
The Hungry Brain, Dan Hurley, Discover, June 2011
The reward mechanism and pleasure sensation of consuming energy-dense food is wired in our brain as a primal method of survival and a way to make us feel good. This article describes the physiology of how the brain impacts our food choices.
The Subtle Knife, Samantha Murphy, New Scientist, May 2012
Weight loss after bariatric surgery has been contributed to the smaller size of the stomach and/or malaborption. This article discusses additional factors that lead to weight loss such as altered taste perceptions, diminished hunger cues, and altered relationship with food.
Eating Disorders in an Obesogenic Environment, Joyce A. Corsica and Megan M. Hood, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, July 2011
Although most national attention on nutrition and optimal health revolves around the obesity epidemic, a sector of the U.S. population suffers with voluntary food restriction and inadequate nutrient intake. This article addresses how people with eating disorders are impacted by our obesogenic environment.
My Anorexic 9-Year-Old, Kristi Belcamino, Salon, August 6, 2013
We typically think of anorexia nervosa as a disease of teenage girls or young women. Kristi Belcamino describes the heartbreak she experienced after she realizes her 9-year-old daughter was anorexic; she outlines the medical intervention her daughter received and the support given to her by the nurse, teachers, and nutrition staff at her daughter's school.
Prescription Medications for the Treatment of Obesity, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, March/July 2013
Currently, there are only a few FDA-approved drugs to help Americans shed unwanted pounds—and most have adverse side effects. This article provides information about these products, how each type works, and describes what is meant by "off-label" drugs.
What's Behind New Findings That It's Healthy to Be Overweight? Jill Richardson, AlterNet, January 17, 2013
Results of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that overweight people live longer than people with "healthy" weights and that even moderate obesity is not that bad. So why are Americans obsessed with being labeled "overweight" and what has fueled this obsession? Could it be the multi-billion dollar weight-loss industry?
The Scoop on Chocolate: Is Chocolate Really Healthy?, Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today, March/April 2011
Can it be true? Something that tastes so good can also be beneficial to our health? This article summarizes the research that supports chocolate as a heart-healthy brain food. The history of chocolate as a health food is also described.
Beyond the Buzz: Is What You've Heard True . . . or Just New? Stephanie Scarmo, Nutrition Action Healthletter, July 2013
Should you drink chocolate milk after your daily jog? Does skipping breakfast make you fat? If you cut out all wheat, will those extra pounds melt away? We are bombarded with an overload nutrition information and it's hard to know what to believe. This article provides the truth about some of the latest nutrition hot topics.
Brain Boosters: Some Nutritional Supplements Provide Real Food for Thought, Janet Raloff, Science News, February 26, 2011
Caffeine, caffeine derivatives, glucose, ginkgo biloba, Chinese ginseng, and cocoa flavanols are on the "mental menu" as improving brain function. Many products are available that boast of improved energy and mental clarity to combat fatigue.
Is the Popular Paleo Diet a Bunch of Baloney?, Jill Richardson, AlterNet, March 22, 2013
Dr. Loren Cordain, founder of the Paleo Diet, claims that it's "the healthiest diet that mimics the diets of our caveman ancestors." Paleo includes meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Jill Richardson questions if people who follow a grain-free paleo diet really eat like the Stone Age ancestors; she uses the well-documented diet of the Kumeyaay tribe in Mexico to describe the probable foods consumed by cavemen. She points out the benefits paleo eating—for the dieter as well as for businesses that generate profit from the sells of books, diet plans, and memberships.
The Future of Food: Five Frontiers, Elizabeth Weingarten, Slate, June 2012
Advances in food technology are leading to radically different methods of producing and preserving food. Principles of genetic engineering, vertical farms, lab-grown meats, bacteriophages, and nanotechnology provide ways to increase production with less burden, enhance food safety, and keep foods fresh longer. These principles are shaping the future of food.
Genetic Engineering for Good, Erik Vance, Utne.com, January/February 2011
Genetically modifying our food crops is a controversial topic, however, there are benefits to altering crops to increase the world's food supply to meet the demand of its growing population.
Engineering the Future of Food, Josh Schonwald, The Futurist, May/June 2012
Genetically altered food has elicited fear and pockets of global opposition. Often the positive aspects of GM foods do not make it to mainstream media. This article explores the possibilities of GM foods. With the technical advances of genetically modified foods, food can be made to look and taste different, grown more easily, stay fresh longer, and possibly improve health.
Food Fight, Brendan Borrell, Scientific American, April 2011
This article describes the work and career of Roger Beachy, a renowned expert on genetically modified crops who now heads the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the USDA.
The Organic Foods Debate: Are They Healthier Than Conventional?, Judith C. Thalheimer, Today's Dietitian, July 2013
Many consumers believe organics are healthier than conventional options, as some studies show certain organics contain more nutrients and less pesticide residues. One negative aspect of organic foods is that they do cost more than conventionally grown products. The question most consumers ask is if the benefits of organic foods justify the higher cost?
Food That Lasts Forever, Deborah Blum, Time, March 2012
Would you eat a barbequed chicken sandwich that was prepared four years ago or a pork chop that is six years old? Advancing technology in food preservation, most notably high-pressure processing, is stretching the concept longer shelf life. The use of water-absorbing ingredients and edible polymers are also being used to create convenience foods that will not be soggy in the years that the food is on the shelf.
Inside the Meat Lab, Jeffrey Bartholet, Scientific American, June 2011
How would the world's food supply and agriculture change if we could harvest meat in a petri dish? Several labs are working to perfect techniques to grow beef, chicken, and lamb tissue in a chemistry lab.
Antibiotic Resistance: Wasting a Precious Life Saver, David Shardt, Nutrition Action Healthletter, May 2013
As the amount of antibiotics given to cattle, poultry, and pigs increases, more bacteria are becoming resistant to them. Why are animals given antibiotics? What causes certain bacteria to resist the antibiotics? How are they spread through the food chain? In addition to answers for these questions, this selection explains how consumers can lower the odds of contracting food poisoning from resistant bacteria.
Arsenic in Your Juice, Consumer Reports, January 2012
Recent reports of high levels of arsenic and lead in juice have consumers concerned about the safety of drinking juice, especially by children. Although there is a federally enforced limit on the amount of arsenic and lead in drinking water, no limits exist for juices. Chronic low-level consumption of arsenic has been linked to slower cognitive development, various cancers, high blood pressure, diabetes, and infertility.
Food Fears: Which Ones Should You Worry About?, David Schardt, Nutrition Action Healthletter, March 2013
Reports in the media make many of us afraid to eat certain foods. This article answers the following questions: Is farmed salmon contaminated?, Should we wash bagged leafy greens before eating? Does microwave popcorn damage you lungs? Do raw bean sprouts make you sick? Is ground beef safe to eat? Does arsenic in rice cause cancer?
The Food Crisis and the Deregulation of Agriculture, Bill Winders, The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Fall/Winter 2011
The international food supply is a complex global process that is impacted by unpredictable weather, government regulation, tariffs on trade, economics, and technology. Although we may scoff at paying $6 for a gallon of milk or $4 for a quart of orange juice, the populations that feel the most effect of rising food costs are the poorer areas of developing countries.
Behind the Label: How Fair Are Organic and Fairtrade Bananas?, Tom Levitt, Ecologist, May 2012
This article describes the lives of two men who are trying to survive by working in the organic and Fairtrade banana industry in the Dominican Republic. One perspective is from a banana farm owner and the other is from an illegal immigrant laborer. The story portrays realities of the organic and Fairtrade banana industry that are often neglected.
Rising Prices on the Menu: Higher Food Prices May Be Here to Stay, Thomas Helbling and Shaun Roache, Finance and Government, March 2011
The price of food is impacted by many different factors. Policies and laws affecting agriculture, government subsidies, imports/exports, and global food supply are factors that impact the price and supply of food.
Food Stamps for Good Food, Melanie Mason, The Nation, March 2011
This article depicts the realities of feeding a family on food acquired with the help of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It describes the history and prevalence of the use of SNAP, the program formally known as food stamps.
Address Health Disparities in American Indians, Elaine Kovacs and Melissa Ip, Today's Dietitians, June 2011
Obesity, diabetes, and food insecurity are prevalent in Native American communities. This article addresses these disparities and provides guidance and possible solutions.