April 13, 2012
By: J. D. Heyes
You already know that the McLarge burger you’re stuffing in your face isn’t healthy for you. What you may not know, however, is that all that fast food is doing more than just expanding your waistline – it could be giving you a serious case of depression as well.
A study of some 8,964 people found that eating junk and fast food has a negative effect on mental health.
Some of our American favorites – burgers, pizza, hot dogs – are on the list of fast or non-nutritional foods that contribute to a darker mood. In fact, the study found that people who eat those foods often were 51 percent more likely to become depressed, as evidenced by http://www.webmd.com, among other signs and symptoms.
Even small quantities are bad for you
The study also found that those most likely to over-indulge in such unhealthy fare were single, less physically active, smokers and those who worked more than 45 hours per week.
April 13, 2012
By CBS News
“This is what is wrong with chain restaurants. At first glace, you might think this is an American idea. Nope, this is available in the UK only. This should automatically warn you that Pizza Hut does not care about the food they serve or the health and well being of their customers. There is nothing wrong with the occasional pizza – homemade, whole wheat and organic.” –KTRN
Pizza with hot dogs baked into the crust exists now. Because in a world where people line up for KFC’s Double Down and Maple Bacon Sundaes from Burger King, why not?
Pizza Hut U.K. is the latest fast food franchise to hop aboard the extreme cuisine trend with their newest menu item, billed as “succulent hot dog sausage bursting from our famous stuffed crust with a FREE Mustard Drizzle.”
February 10, 2012
By Paula Rothstein
The National School Lunch Program announced its decision to raise nutrition standards for school children across the United States. This is the first implemented change to the program in 15 years. Led by First Lady Michelle Obama, the claimed goal of her “Let’s Move” campaign is to curb the rise in obesity in school-aged children. However, nothing contained in these changes would have any significant effect on obesity. In fact, some of the changes – such as the change from whole milk to skim milk and from butter to margarine – are arguably counter-productive.
When considered in total, the recommended changes are quite small for a problem that threatens the health of children and the complex trap of obesity. Unfortunately, the food industry has its fingerprints all over each of these new “nutrition” standards. For example, tomato paste on pizza is considered to be a vegetable while french fries remain a staple. Sure, there are more vegetables being introduced and that is all well and good, even a long-time coming, so kudos to Michelle Obama for her efforts.
It is clear, however, that the government still operates under the illusion that consuming fat makes you fat. Consider the recommendations dealing with dairy. The government’s premise is this: Dairy is good for children; however, the fat content is a problem. This is simply not true. Yet removing fat from a child’s diet is at the core of nearly every change in the new standards.
Setting aside the generally accepted idea in the natural health community that milk is an excellent source of nutrition for a baby calf, if humans are going to consume it, whole milk is the optimal choice. The reason is simple: Our bodies are less able to digest the protein or absorb calcium and vitamins A and D from milk without the fat contained therein.
As for the panel’s focus on saturated fats, science has now revealed these fats actually raise good cholesterol levels. And, seriously, are we actually going to transition children to margarine – which is one molecule away from being plastic – and call it a dietary improvement?
We live in a culture that depends on “fast food” style dining, sugar-laden soft drinks and fruit juices (instead of pure water), chemically processed foods, and dairy and meat that are full of antibiotics and growth hormones. Most often these meals are being consumed in front of a television set. At issue is the “more is always better than less” mentality that permeates our modern lives.
February 8, 2012
By: CBS News Staff
Americans get too much sodium, according to a new government report. That fact may not come as a shock to a fast food nation, but what’s surprising is where the sodium comes from.
Sodium overkill: Top 10 culprits in U.S. diet
For the report – released Feb. 7 – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiled a list of the top 10 sources of sodium in the U.S. diet. These 10 foods were found responsible for 44 percent of all sodium consumed, HealthPop reported.
But salty snacks, such as potato chips, were last on the list.
“Potato chips, pretzels, and popcorn – which we think of as the saltiest foods in our diet – are only No. 10,” said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.
If not salty snacks, then what was the biggest contributor of sodium? Bread and rolls – accounting for twice as much sodium as salty junk food.
Breads and rolls aren’t really saltier than many of the other foods, but people tend to eat a lot of them, said Mary Cogswell, a CDC senior scientist who co-authored the report.
Registered dietitian Amy Jamieson-Petonic, director of wellness coaching at Cleveland Clinic and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told HealthPop that she recommends opting for breads with “low sodium” on the label, and avoiding salty meats in sandwiches.
Salt is the main source of sodium for most people, and sodium increases the risk for high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Health officials say most Americans get too much salt, mostly from processed and restaurant foods – not added from the salt shaker.
Dietary guidelines recommend no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, equal to about a teaspoon of salt. Certain people, such as those with high blood pressure, should eat even less. But average sodium consumption in the U.S. is around 3,300 milligrams, the CDC study found. Only 1 in 10 Americans meet the teaspoon guideline.
“It’s possible to eat a whole bunch of sodium without it seeming salty,” John Hayes, an assistant professor of food science at Penn State, said.
Other items on the list include soups, pizza, cold cuts and cured meats, and pasta dishes.
The amount of sodium in food types can vary. For example, a slice of white bread can have between 80 and 230 milligrams of sodium. A cup of canned chicken noodle soup has between 100 and 940 milligram. A small 1 ounce bag of potato chips ranges from 50 to 200 milligrams.
The new CDC report is based on surveys of more than 7,200 people in 2007 and 2008, including nearly 3,000 children. Participants were surveyed twice, each time answering detailed questions about what they had eaten over the previous day.
What should people do to cut their sodium intake?
“Cooking fresh food at home is the best way to lower sodium,” Samantha Heller, a dietitian and clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., told HealthDay.
November 21, 2011
By Ethan A. Huff
“I remember as a kid how cool it was to buy my school lunch every day. This is probably why I was the fat class clown. Little did I know my classmates who brown bagged it were the real cool kids.” –Chris Davis KTRN
In an absurd attempt to fight back at federal regulations that greatly limit the amount of junk food that can be served as part of government-funded school lunch programs, Congress has proposed a new spending bill that classifies pizza as a “vegetable.” Reports indicate that the bill would allow for just two tablespoons of tomato paste to be considered a serving of vegetables.
Recommendations made by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine back in 2009 for reforming subsidized school lunch programs include reducing the use of starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn to just two days a week, cutting sodium use, and promoting the use of whole grains. But the new Congressional bill, which is alleged to be a product of the frozen food industry lobby, seeks to undo these changes.
Proponents of the bill in Congress say it will “prevent overly burdensome and costly regulations and provide greater flexibility for local school districts to improve the nutritional quality of meals.” But opponents insist that the legislation is a thinly-veiled attempt at satisfying the demands of special interest groups rather than promoting better nutrition for public school children.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a group that supports the Obama Administration’s initial lunchroom reform measures, has expressed vehement opposition to the Congressional bill. CSPI’s Nutrition Policy Director Margo G. Wootan recently wrote that the legislation, if passed, “may go down in nutritional history as a bigger blunder than when the Reagan Administration tried (but failed) to credit ketchup as a vegetable in the school lunch program.”
Today, special guest hosts, Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff, explain why toy companies are marketing breastfeeding to young girls. Plus, find out how your pizza toppings can say a lot more about you than you think!
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By Steven Stern
When President Harry Truman signed the National School Lunch Act into law in 1946, he probably didn’t imagine that American schools would one day be serving chicken fingers, frozen French fries and soggy pizza.
While nutrition activists are trying to get healthier foods into our schools, we wondered what school lunch looks like in other countries — places where ketchup has never been considered a vegetable.
The Finnish educational system is often considered one of the best in the world and serving healthy school lunches is a major priority. Government regulations demand that meals are “tasty, colorful and well-balanced.” Since the late 1990s, guidelines have specified serving proportions: vegetables, cooked and raw, must cover half the plate (carrot and beet salads are popular), with proteins and starch taking up one-quarter plate each. The majority of the nation’s schools offer a vegetarian option every day. The national specialty hernekeitto, a green pea soup often flavored with smoked pork, is usually served on Thursdays in a nod to Finnish tradition.
Most Aussie kids bring their lunch from home. And most of the time, that lunch is a sandwich of cheese and Vegemite, the jam-like, salty yeast-based spread that’s been a staple since 1922. The Vegemite sandwich gets a shout-out in Men At Work’s classic antipodean anthem “Down Under.”
The sustainable food crowd loves Italy, and with good reason. The majority of Italian schools serve lunches made from organic ingredients, mostly grown nearby. The daily meal at la mensa della scuola — the school canteen –is usually centered around pasta or risotto, with salad served as a separate course. Meat shows up on the menu only a couple times a week, and in small portions. But it’s not all about nutritionally correct eating for Italian children; merendine, aka snacks, are big parts of most children’s days. Bread spread with chocolatey Nutella is a classic between-meal sweet and Italy’s kids are almost as addicted to packaged candies and cakes as their American counterparts. Italy actually has a higher proportion of overweight children than the U.S.
People who went to school in Kenya usually have strong feelings about githeri; they’re either totally nostalgic or extremely sick of it. A mixture of beans and dried corn, the dish is traditionally associated with the Kikuyu tribe, but it has become the standard school lunch throughout the country. Every day, school children line up with their plastic bowls as servings are ladled out from huge pots.
Most school cafeterias in Korea use sectioned metal trays and there’s a standard way of filling them up. The two biggest sections are for rice, usually served with pickled vegetable kimchi and soup. Smaller compartments — there’s usually three of them — hold side dishes of vegetables and fish. As for the beverage, kids are given little plastic bottles of sweet yogurt drink, hugely popular in Korea.
For many kids in Barbados, the best part of school is the morning snack of milk and biscuits — known as cookies to us Americans — provided free in all schools since the 1930s. The locally produced Wibisco brand biscuits have nourished generations of children. In 1963, the government began a hot lunch program, with meals, beans and rice, mostly, delivered by van to schools around the island.
The school day for most students in Brazil starts at 7 a.m. and runs till noon. To stave off hunger pangs during the morning hours, kids will munch on snacks like queijadinhas, which are muffins made from cheese and coconut. While many children eat lunch at home after school, the Brazilian government has sponsored a nationwide school lunch program since 1955, offering hot, healthy meals to underprivileged students.
You don’t think the French would serve their children sloppy joes, do you? School lunches are taken just as seriously as meals for adults. In fact, kids are served pretty much the same things adults eat. A week’s menu in a restaurant scolaire — the canteen of a French school — might include veal scallops Marengo, hake with lemon sauce, and lamb with paprika. Fresh bread and salad are, of course, included at every meal and fruit and yogurt are the usual desserts. The only thing the kids don’t get is wine.
In Japan, school lunch known as kyuushoku is an important part of every child’s daily schedule. Meals are eaten in the classroom; after the tables are cleared, the student assigned as that day’s lunch monitor serves everyone. Rice and fish make up the bulk of the menu, but some days students are treated to the kind of East-West comfort food that Japanese kids especially love: dishes like korokke, which are fried potato croquettes or omurice, an omelet filled with a ketchupy rice and chicken mixture.
School lunch in Zambia is nshima. Actually, pretty much everyone’s lunch in Zambia is nshima — breakfast and dinner too. The starchy dish of white cornmeal cooked to a thick, sticky dough is the staple food of the entire population. It’s eaten with your hands and dipped into relishes made from greens, dried sardines called kapenta, or stewed soy protein.
Denmark and Norway
Scandinavian school children usually bring their own lunches to school. The standard is homemade or store-bought smørrebrød, which are open-faced sandwiches of cheese, liver spread or salami on dense dark rye bread.
Multicultural Singapore is famous for its street food. Residents flock to huge outdoor food courts and buy their meals from the various hawker stands. In most schools, kids get to do the same. The canteen or “tuckshop” in a Singapore school is often a collection of different stalls rented out to private cooks. Students choose between noodle soups, curries with rice and so-called “Western” food. One typical Western lunch that kids particularly love is chicken chop, which is boneless chicken covered with thick gravy, served with either spaghetti or beans and coleslaw.
March 1st, 2011
What you eat plays a big role in whether you’re getting the nutrients you need to build strong bones. What might surprise you, though, is that your diet can also play a role in sapping bone strength. Some foods actually leach the minerals right out of the bone, or they block the bone’s ability to regrow. Here, the six biggest bone-sappers:
Salt saps calcium from the bones, weakening them over time. For every 2,300 milligrams of sodium you take in, you lose about 40 milligrams of calcium, dietitians say. One study compared postmenopausal women who ate a high-salt diet with those who didn’t, and the ones who ate a lot of salt lost more bone minerals. Our American diet is unusually salt-heavy; most of us ingest double the 2,300 milligrams of salt we should get in a day, according to the 2005 federal dietary guidelines.
What to do: The quickest, most efficient way to cut salt intake is to avoid processed foods. Research shows that most Americans get 75 percent of their sodium not from table salt but from processed food. Key foods to avoid include processed and deli meats, frozen meals, canned soup, pizza, fast food such as burgers and fries, and canned vegetables.
2. Soft drinks
Soft drinks pose a double-whammy danger to bones. The fizziness in carbonated drinks often comes from phosphoric acid, which ups the rate at which calcium is excreted in the urine. Meanwhile, of course, soft drinks fill you up and satisfy your thirst without providing any of the nutrients you might get from milk or juice.
What to do: When you’re tempted to reach for a cola, instead try milk, calcium- and vitamin D-fortified orange juice, or a fruit smoothie made with yogurt. Or just drink water when you’re thirsty, and eat a diet high in bone-building nutrients.
The numbers for caffeine aren’t as bad as for salt, but caffeine’s action is similar, leaching calcium from bones. For every 100 milligrams of caffeine (the amount in a small to medium-sized cup of coffee), you lose 6 milligrams of calcium. That’s not a lot, but it can become a problem if you tend to substitute caffeine- containing drinks like iced tea and coffee for beverages that are healthy for bones, like milk and fortified juice.
What to do: Limit yourself to one or two cups of coffee in the morning, then switch to other drinks that don’t have caffeine’s bone-sapping action. Adding milk to your coffee helps to offset the problem, of course.
4. Vitamin A
In the case of vitamin A, recent research is proving that you really can get too much of a good thing. Found in eggs, full-fat dairy, liver, and vitamin-fortified foods, vitamin A is important for vision and the immune system. But the American diet is naturally high in vitamin A, and most multivitamins also contain vitamin A. So it’s possible to get much more than the recommended allotment of 5,000 IUs (international units) a day — which many experts think is too high anyway.
Postmenopausal women, in particular, seem to be susceptible to vitamin A overload. Studies show that women whose intake was higher than 5,000 IUs had more than double the fracture rate of women whose intake was less than 1,600 IUs a day.
What to do: Switch to low-fat or nonfat dairy products only, and eat egg whites rather than whole eggs (all the vitamin A is in the yolk). Also check your multivitamin, and if it’s high in vitamin A, switch to one that isn’t.
Think of alcohol as a calcium-blocker; it prevents the bone-building minerals you eat from being absorbed. And heavy drinking disrupts the bone remodeling process by preventing osteoblasts, the bone-building cells, from doing their job. So not only do bones become weaker, but when you do suffer a fracture, alcohol can interfere with healing.
What to do: Limit your drinking to one drink a day, whether that’s wine, beer, or hard alcohol.
6. Hydrogenated oils
Recent studies have found that the process of hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oil into the solid oils used in commercial baking, destroys the vitamin K naturally found in the oils. Vitamin K is essential for strong bones, and vegetable oils such as canola and olive oil are the second-best dietary source of this key nutrient, after green leafy vegetables. However, the amounts of vitamin K we’re talking about are tiny here — one tablespoon of canola oil has 20 micrograms of K, and one tablespoon of olive oil has 6 micrograms, as compared with 120 micrograms in a serving of spinach.
What to do: If you’re eating your greens, you don’t need to worry about this too much. If you’re a big lover of baked goods like muffins and cookies, bake at home using canola oil when possible, and read labels to avoid hydrogenated oils.
Today, Kevin exposes the fraud that is Domino’s Pizza!
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February 3rd, 2011
By: Marissa Brassfield
Hot on the heels of the lawsuit over the Taco Bell “meat” filling is the latest fake-food branding move: the DiGiorno Pizza and Boneless “Wyngz” combo. The prepackaged combination mixes DiGiorno pizza with chocolate-chip cookies or what they call boneless “Wyngz.” Know why they can’t call them boneless wings? Because they don’t actually contain wing meat, and therefore can’t be labeled as such. The DiGiorno Wyngz are actually white meat chicken fritters made in the style of typical buffalo chicken wings.
On January 14, DiGiorno posted this promo to its Facebook page:
Here’s a sneak peek just for you. Starting Monday, our new Pizza & Boneless Wyngz and Pizza & Cookies combos will begin arriving on store shelves across the country. Be on the lookout for our delicious new combinations and be sure to tell us what you think!
Predictably, the response was nothing but positive. Commenter Chris Horcasitas wrote, “I already do the pizza-and-cookies thing every Tuesday evening. It’s nice now to get it all in one box.” Another commenter, Tara Sissy Dargan, wrote, “This is perfect for my family. Pizza and buffalo wing night is weekly for us!” Many commenters clamored for coupons to try the new product.
In the eyes of its target market, the DiGiorno Pizza and Boneless Wyngz combo is a killer one-two punch that combines two favorite foods. For health-conscious folks, however, it’s just the latest example of how food companies put profits ahead of producing nutritious products — and how American consumers continue to eat it all up.