Category Archives: Healthy Diet

Because a Whopper just wasn’t enough …

4CheeseWhopper-DetailBurger King has introduced the Four Cheese Whopper. For anyone who’s wondering about this new extra cheesy Whopper, what we can tell you right now is that it doesn’t actually contain four cheeses. Instead, consumers will find a three cheese blend, American Cheese and cheddar sauce between the bun.

So if the term “four cheese” conjures up images of asiago, havarti, white cheddar and fontina in your mind, this sandwich will certainly fall short of your expectations. FoodFacts.com finds the terms three cheese blend and cheddar sauce highly suspect. But without the presence of an ingredient list, can you blame us?

What we do have right now are the nutrition facts. And here they are, in all their not-so-glorious detail:

Calories:                     850
Fat:                             57 grams
Saturated Fat:           21 grams
Cholesterol:              115 mg
Sodium:                    1160 mg

How does the Four Cheese Whopper stack up against a regular Whopper with Cheese?

We’re sure you’ve assumed that it’s worse. And you’re right — it is. 120 additional calories, 13 more grams of fat and 30 additional mg of cholesterol. It does contain slightly less sodium than the Whopper with Cheese.

While we don’t have access to the ingredients, we can tell you that the ingredients in the Whopper with Cheese certainly leave a lot to be desired. It features 120 ingredients and only one type of cheese. Ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, sorbitol, sodium benzoate and propylene glycol are featured in the ingredient list. And there’s artificial color in the cheese. So we’re assuming that the ingredient list for the Four Cheese Whopper (essentially a Whopper with extra cheese) will feature a similar ingredient list. And that three cheese blend and that cheddar sauce — we’re fairly certain that those will contain controversial ingredients as well.

In short, we didn’t like the Whopper with Cheese. Now we can multiply that by four.

http://www.bk.com/menu-item/four-cheese-whopper

Watching your waistline takes on new meaning

heart-diseaseWhile we know that obesity elevates the risk of cardiovascular disease, we may not be aware of how a growing waistline effects health. Abdominal obesity — sometimes benignly referred to as belly fat or midriff bulge — might not appear to be a tremendous concern. Being overweight isn’t necessarily associated with obesity. But extra weight gathering in your midsection may not actually be harmless as some might think.

Sudden cardiac death, or SCD for short, occurs without warning, and is caused by a sudden unexpected loss of heart function, which rapidly reduces blood flow around the body, including to the brain. It is distinct from a heart attack, and kills around 300,000 people in the USA every year.

Obesity has long been associated with various unfavourable changes in cardiovascular health, including SCD. But researchers wanted to find out if a persistent midriff bulge may carry a greater risk of SCD than general obesity as the evidence suggests this body fat distribution may be more dangerous.

They therefore studied almost 15,000 middle aged men and women (45-64 years of age), all of whom were taking part in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study.

ARIC has been tracking the causes of artery narrowing in middle aged Americans since 1987.
All the participants (55% women; 26% African American) underwent a detailed health assessment in 1987-9, and then again in 1990-92, 1993-5, 1996-8, and 2011-13. This included measurements of weight, height, waist circumference, and the waist to hip ratio.

During the monitoring period, which averaged 12.5 years, 253 SCDs occurred. Those affected were in their mid-fifties, on average; one in three was female; and four out of 10 were of African American heritage.
Unsurprisingly, those who died suddenly tended to have a higher prevalence of known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

They also had a higher BMI (body mass index), larger waist circumference, and a larger waist to hip ratio–an indicator of central obesity–than those who did not sustain an SCD.

The risk of SCD was associated with general obesity, but only in non-smokers. And of the measures of obesity–BMI, waist circumference, and waist to hip ratio–waist to hip ratio was the most strongly associated with SCD risk after taking account of other influential factors.
Those with the highest waist to hip ratio had double the risk of SCD of those with a normal ratio.

And unlike BMI and waist circumference, the association between waist to hip ratio was independent of existing coronary heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure and other known risk factors.

This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, added to which the precise mechanisms for the association between SCD and central obesity are not known, say the researchers.

But fat around the midriff is thought to be more critical than fat stored elsewhere in the body, because of its influence on inflammation.

Even though this study is observational in nature, it certainly points to links between excess abdominal weight and heart health. FoodFacts.com wants us all to remain aware that even without the presence of technical obesity, carrying too much weight in your midsection may have detrimental health effects. Watch your waistline … not because a smaller waist measurement helps you look better, but because you’ll stay healthier longer without belly fat.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141210204626.htm

Looking for a quick meal? Ramen noodles are not the answer.

1343012.largeCollege kids and young adults out on their own for the first time and trying to stick to a tight budget have long sung the praises of ramen noodles for a quick, cheap and tasty meal. While others look questioningly on the idea of a block of dried noodles as being even remotely appetizing, others think fondly of ramen and the memories of youth they may invoke. FoodFacts.com has always counted ourselves among the first group, finding it difficult to think of ramen in any redeemable manner. There seems to be a good reason for that.

It has been found that instant noodles (Ramen) may increase your risk of metabolic changes linked to heart disease and stroke.

In the study, women in South Korea who consumed more of the precooked blocks of dried noodles were more likely to have “metabolic syndrome” regardless of what else they ate, or how much they exercised, the researchers found. People with metabolic syndrome may have high blood pressure or high blood sugar levels, and face an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

“Although instant noodle is a convenient and delicious food, there could be an increased risk for metabolic syndrome given [the food's] high sodium, unhealthy saturated fat and glycemic loads,” said study co-author Hyun Shin, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

Harvard analyzed the health and diet of nearly 11,000 adults in South Korea between ages 19 to 64. The participants reported what they ate, and the researchers categorized each participant’s diet as centered on either traditional healthy food or fast food, as well as how many times weekly they ate instant noodles. Women who ate instant noodles twice a week or more had a higher risk of metabolic syndrome than those who ate ramen less, or not at all, regardless of whether their diet style fell into the traditional or fast-food category. The researchers found the association even among young women who were leaner and reported doing more physical activity.

Shin and his colleagues at Baylor University and Harvard analyzed the health and diet of nearly 11,000 adults in South Korea between ages 19 to 64. The participants reported what they ate, and the researchers categorized each participant’s diet as centered on either traditional healthy food or fast food, as well as how many times weekly they ate instant noodles.

Women who ate instant noodles twice a week or more had a higher risk of metabolic syndrome than those who ate ramen less, or not at all, regardless of whether their diet style fell into the traditional or fast-food category. The researchers found the association even among young women who were leaner and reported doing more physical activity.

As for men, Shin and his colleagues guessed that biological differences between the genders, like the effect of sex hormones and metabolism, might account for the lack of an apparent association among males between eating instant noodles and developing metabolic syndrome.

The study was conducted in South Korea, an area known to have the largest ramen consumption group in the world, where people consumed 3.4 billion packages of instant noodles in 2010.

But the findings could apply to people in North American too, said Lisa Young, a nutritionist and professor at New York University who was not involved in the study. “We [in the States] don’t eat it as much, but the ramen noodles are being sold, so this could apply to anywhere they’re sold, and they’re sold almost everywhere.”

“Instant noodles are high in fat, high in salt, high in calories and they’re processed – all those factors could contribute to some of the health problems [the researchers] addressed,” Young said. “That doesn’t mean that every single person is going to respond the same way, but the piece to keep in mind is that it’s not a healthy product, and it is a processed food.”

But Young said there might be ways to dampen the dangers of eating instant noodles without swearing off of them altogether. “Number one, don’t eat it every day,” Young told Live Science. “Number two, portion control,” she said, and recommended that people eat a small amount of instant noodles and mix them with vegetables and other healthier, nonprocessed foods.

Above all, however, Young said a little bit of preparation could help people avoid processed instant noodles altogether. “You can easily make noodles, homemade pasta, ground-rice pasta and veggies” at home, with a little bit of planning, she said.

Preparing pasta from scratch is hardly a time consuming process. It’s also fairly inexpensive and easily available. If we had to choose a convenient, quick meal that doesn’t require any special cooking skills, we’d probably go with pasta. We can even find an organic pasta sauce that isn’t expensive to pair with that pasta that requires no cooking skills at all. There are several pluses to the alternative. No controversial ingredients. Less salt. Less fat. And if you know anyone who is still including ramen noodles in their weekly menus, you might want to mention that the pasta they prepare at home easily and quickly will taste a heck of a lot better too!

http://www.franchiseherald.com/articles/16300/20141130/instant-noodles-can-hurt-your-heart-study-says-consumption-increases-chances-of-heart-disease.htm#ixzz3M1aBE8Tx

Panera Bread brings back the Steak & White Cheddar Panini

panera_horiz_logoWe know that Panera Bread has plenty of fans. There’s plenty of variety on the menu. The food is tasty. And people feel as though a meal from Panera is a better choice than a meal from McDonalds. The chain carries its own “health halo” — the food is fresher, it tastes like actual food and so Panera has been deemed a better option than average fast food.

In some ways fans are right — Panera Bread isn’t McDonald’s. But to be honest, it’s not that far away from it. And the reintroduction of the Steak & White Cheddar Panini proves the point.

Let’s take a look at the sandwich and find out what’s really going on in there.

The nutrition facts apply to a whole sandwich. Remember that at Panera, you can order a half sandwich as part of a combo with pasta, salad or soup. If you simply order the sandwich, though, it will come full size. Let’s get to those facts:

Calories:                     960
Fat:                             36 grams
Sodium:                     1860 mg.

Wow. That’s just too much of everything! After eating this sandwich, you’ve only got another 540 mg to consume for the rest of the day. And you’ll be spending 960 calories out of your average 2000 calorie a day diet on one sandwich.

Here are the ingredients:

French baguette (unbleached enriched wheat flour [flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], water, salt, natural base [calcium diphosphate, malted barley flour, dextrose, distilled monoglycerides, rye flour, sunflower lecithin, wheat flour, enzymes, ascorbic acid], yeast [yeast, sorbitan monostearate, ascorbic acid]), beef sirloin tip (beef sirloin, seasoning [spice, dehydrated garlic, sea salt, canola oil]), white cheddar cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, microbial enzymes), caramelized red onions (red onions, balsamic vinaigrette [water, soybean oil, sugar, balsamic vinegar, distilled vinegar, contains less than 2% of salt, spices, xanthan gum, dehydrated garlic, natural flavors]), horseradish sauce (soybean oil, water, prepared horseradish [horseradish, vinegar, salt], egg yolks, distilled vinegar, corn starch- modified, salt, sugar, xanthan gum, natural flavors including mustard oil).

So it’s not McDonald’s. The ingredient list is a far cry from the Big Mac. But there are still far too many items in the list — and we’re not fans of natural flavor. Especially when all those ingredients cost 960 calories and come with three quarters of our daily sodium.

We can think of better lunch options. And while we understand that many find Panera Bread to be a solution to the fast food dilemma, FoodFacts.com just can’t get on board.

https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/menu-categories/sandwiches-panini.html#steak-white-cheddar-panini

Keeping artificial food colors away from your holiday baking

LL13foodcolor_croppedWe’re in a most colorful season! We’ve decked the halls of our homes with red, green, gold and silver. Our windows and lawns are adorned with multi-colored lights. The holidays are upon us with every shade of every festive color we can think of! Often, though, those colors extend to our holiday baking. Holiday cakes and cookies can involve not only the shapes and images of the season, but its colors as well. Sugar cookies shaped like Santa, gingerbread men and women with red lips and blue eyes, red velvet cake, yule logs, green tree cakes … the list can be endless and very imaginative.

But can we do this without the use of, say, Yellow No. 5, Red No. 40, Green No. 3 and other artificial colors? Can we opt for natural color that might also add nutritional value to our baking and cooking?

“You can certainly use freeze-dried fruit, beet juice and spices like saffron and turmeric to create color in baking,” says Susan Reid, a chef and baking expert who teaches and develops recipes for King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vt.

And there is plenty of nutritional value in the foods and spices Reid lists:

●Freeze-dried berries such as strawberries and blueberries contain antioxidant phytochemicals, vitamins and folic acid.
● Beets are full of vitamins and minerals.
● Turmeric— well, the list is long but may include cancer- and heart-disease-prevention properties as well as the treatment of a range of digestive issues and even depression.
● Saffron contains vitamins and other important nutrients, and there are indications that it can help prevent and treat everything from depression to high cholesterol.

So not only do these colorful fruits and spices seem to cover our needs for red, blue, orange and yellow in our holiday favorites, they also seem to help our general health.

But how about the all-important green?

“You’re not going to get a really intense green with natural food color. It will be more muted,” Reid says.

If you can live with a more muted, forestlike green, there are a few ways to go.

For example, says Liz Lipski, director of academic development for nutrition and integrative health at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, you can use spirulina, wheat grass juice or spinach powder to achieve a muted green:

● Spirulina is a blue-green algae full of protein, vitamins and minerals.
● Wheat grass includes amino acids, vitamins and iron.
● Spinach contains calcium, vitamins and folate.

Just be careful not to use too much. “If you use enough to make it bright green, it will affect the flavor,” Lipski says.

Indeed, you could get great yellows with onion — but onion cake doesn’t sound too appealing. Or you could grind down marigolds (which are edible), but that would affect the taste, too.

“It would be pretty hard to disguise the flavor,” Reid says.

In other words, if you want to use natural — and, as it turns out, nutritious — food coloring, you have to change your expectations a bit, say Reid and Lipski. Maybe learn to accept less intense colors and focus instead on flavor and nutrition, Lipski suggests.

“But especially with kids — how do we acclimate them to less color?” Lipski asks. She is the author of “Digestive Health for Children” and a proponent of moving away from the use of artificial food colors that contain petroleum and are often either banned or require warning labels in Europe.

But even if you can persuade the kiddos — and others — to accept forest-green Christmas cookies over their neon counterparts, there is still the challenge of getting the recipes right. You will become part chemist, part baker.

If, for example, you add liquid, you will have to adjust the entire recipe or you might end up with a soupy mess.

Of course, if you want to make it easy on yourself but still would prefer natural over artificial, King Arthur Flour sells natural food coloring by the bottle and the sprinkle; and Whole Foods sells items from Colorgarden.net and Indiatree.com, says Joel Singer, Whole Foods Markets’ Mid-Atlantic associate bakery coordinator.

Singer, who agrees with Lipski and Reid that natural food coloring — even the store-bought variety — tends to be less strong, says “it is best used in an icing application than the cake itself.”

Whole Foods’ own bakeries use colors derived from beets (red), annatto root (orange) and spinach (green), Singer says.

But let’s go back to home-baking with a touch of chemistry in the mix.

For example, Lipski says, if you are making red velvet cake you could swap out the red food coloring for pureed beets.

FoodFacts.com wants to add that there are recipes all over the internet that will help you become that kitchen chemist. And if you’re not keen on chemistry, you can also find more than a few brands of natural food coloring that you can use the same way you would the artificial type. The colors are different and can be affected by the other ingredients in your recipes, but most brands provide guidance on what you can expect.

We’ll gladly trade the brightly colored cookies for softer hues. While we love our colorful holidays, our health will benefit from the trade off!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/replace-artificial-food-coloring-with-natural-options/2014/11/11/e4bae6ee-6071-11e4-91f7-5d89b5e8c251_story.html

Going green can reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes (we mean your leafy greens!)

greensWe’re all trying to be green! We’re making efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, choosing brown bags over plastic, using recycled everything as much as we can. New research we found today though is encouraging us to go green with our vegetables too — to reduce risks to the environment, but to reduce risks to our health!

Three new studies reveal that a chemical called nitrate – found in green vegetables including spinach, lettuce and celery – may aid heart health and reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes.

The three studies were conducted by researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Southampton – both in the UK.

In the first study, co-led by Dr. Andrew Murray from the University of Cambridge and published in The FASEB Journal, researchers found that eating more vegetables rich in nitrate may reduce production of a hormone made by the liver and kidneys, called erythropoietin. This hormone regulates the number of red blood cells in the body.

The team explains that at high altitudes or in cardiovascular diseases, the body is subject to a shortage of oxygen. In order to get more oxygen around the body, erythropoietin increases its production of blood cells.

However, high numbers of blood cells can cause the blood to become too thick. This means that the body’s organs and tissues may be starved of oxygen because the blood is unable to flow through small blood vessels to get to them.

But the findings from the team indicate that eating more nitrate-rich vegetables could thin the blood by lowering the number of red blood cells produced, which could have important implications for health. Dr. Murray says:

“Here we show that nitrate from the diet can help regulate the delivery of oxygen to cells and tissues and its use, matching oxygen supply and demand. This ensures cells and tissues in the body have enough oxygen to function without needing to overproduce red blood cells, which can make the blood too thick and compromise health.

Lowering the blood’s thickness without compromising oxygen delivery may also help prevent blood clots, reducing the risk of a stroke or heart attack.”

In addition, the researchers note that their findings could lead to the discovery of better ways to deliver oxygen to cells, which may help the recovery of patients in intensive care units.

Dr. Murray led the second study, which was recently published in The Journal of Physiology.
In this research, the team exposed rats to high altitudes in order to trigger increased production of red blood cells.

They found that rats fed a diet with nitrate – the equivalent to humans adding slightly more green vegetables to their diets – were better protected against an array of heart and circulatory conditions than rats fed a nitrate-free diet.

This is because nitrate increases production of a compound that widens the blood vessels, according to the researchers, improving blood flow. What is more, the researchers found that nitrate protects proteins in heart cells that are crucial for heart health.

“Nitrate supplementation may thus be of benefit to individuals exposed to hypobaric hypoxia at altitude or in patients with diseases characterized by tissue hypoxia and energetic impairment, such as heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or in the critically ill,” the team says.

In the third study – published in the journal Diabetes and led by Lee Roberts from the University of Cambridge – the team found that nitrate subjects “bad” white fat cells to a process called “browning,” which converts them into beige cells.

The researchers explain that beige cells are similar to “good” brown fat cells, which burn fat in order to generate heat. Increased levels of brown fat have been associated with reduced risk of obesity and diabetes, therefore the team hypothesizes that incorporating nitrate into the diet could protect against these conditions.

Commenting on the findings of all three studies, Dr. Murray says:

“There have been a great many findings demonstrating a role for nitrate in reducing blood pressure and regulating the body’s metabolism.

These studies represent three further ways in which simple changes in the diet can modify people’s risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity as well as potentially alleviating symptoms of existing cardiovascular conditions to achieve an overall healthier life.”

FoodFacts.com wants to emphasize the idea of simple dietary changes improving health and quality of life. This particular change is especially simple. There are so many green vegetables to choose from, we can easily enjoy a few different options every day. Salads, broccoli, spinach, kale, chard, mustard greens, collard greens, cabbage … the list goes on. Greens offer variety and texture to our meals, not to mention great flavor.

So the next time you’re thinking about the benefits of going green — don’t forget the health benefits of eating green as well!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286515.php

Have a healthier Thanksgiving! Common sense ideas that DON’T involve avoiding your favorite holiday foods

shutterstock_224254609-676x450In every corner of America, Thanksgiving will see families and friends sitting down to a marvelous and overindulgent feast. Thursday will involve turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables and pies. The preparation of these favorites rarely, if ever, takes into consideration calories, fat, sodium or sugar. It’s a fact, we expect to indulge over the holidays. We even look forward to it.

But, how can we allow ourselves to enjoy that indulgence without the traditional late day “food coma” or the possible weight gain that can easily accompany a meal that some experts have estimated contains an average of 4500 calories?

Here are a few ideas that can help you through your Thanksgiving feast while still maintaining some reasonable standards.

1. Drink Water Through Out the Day
The holidays might make you forget about the most basic need of your body: hydration. Be sure to sip water through out the day to stay hydrated. In addition to staying hydrated, you won’t be as hungry in the face of all those holiday treats.

2. Switch to Sea Salt (And Use Less of It)
The white table salt commonly used at home is the result of many refining processes that leaves us with “dead salt” laden with chemical additives. You can add more healthy minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium to your diet instantly by making the switch to sea salt.

3. Load Up On Cranberries, Not Sugar
These little red berries have some of the highest antioxidant levels in berries, and their bright anthocyanin pigments may also act as antioxidants. For a healthier cranberry sauce, try adding a cup of orange juice and a cup of honey instead of sugar.

4. Skip the Turkey Skin
If you are eating turkey, be choosy about what parts you consume. A single serving of white, skinless turkey (about a size of a deck of cards) has about 160 calories and 4 grams of fat, whereas dark turkey breast meat with skin contains twice the amount of fat and 70 more calories.

5. Stick to Whole Grains
Scientists have found that a diet consisting mainly of whole grains can help lower blood pressure and may help with weight control. Whole grains may also help decrease the risk of heart disease. Yet more than 40 percent of Americans do not consume any whole grains in their diet, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. Instead of loading up on white breads and rice, opt for whole-grain products such as brown or wild rice and whole wheat bread.

6. Don’t Forget Your Greens
You may be excited about the turkey, potatoes and gravy, but don’t forget to have some fresh, colorful salads on the table. In general, Americans consume less vegetables than the recommended five servings per day, so give your family the option of a fresh salad with at least three colors (orange, green and red) for an abundant dose of antioxidants and vitamins.

7. Ditch the Dairy Dessert
Ice cream may seem like a necessary companion to pumpkin pie, but it might not be the best option after an already decadent feast. According to FDA’s standards, ice cream must contain at least 10 percent (mostly milk) fat content. Eliminate the fat and cholesterol in your dessert and reduce unpleasant side effects of dairy (such as skin irritation and upset stomach) by switching to organic soy, rice, or coconut ice cream.

8. Listen To Your Stomach
Finally, a simple but effective rule of thumb for festive eating: know when your stomach is full. When your brain starts justifying eating one more bite because it “tastes so good,” it’s time to put the fork down.

A few small suggestions that might leave you feeling much better on Friday morning! FoodFacts.com wants to point out that no one is suggesting that you forego the candied yams or your favorite stuffing. Instead, you can skip the turkey skin, use less salt and drink more water and you can help yourself avoid the 4500 calorie price tag that might be attached to your Thanksgiving feast!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1095683-8-easy-ways-to-a-healthy-thanksgiving/

Hungry high schoolers are up in arms about new school nutrition requirements

B1DJ8eSIQAE-vLpThe new school nutrition requirements have been rolled out in schools across the country. While the requirements have met with a positive response from most, it is beginning to appear that not all school lunches are created equally under the new standards.

The school lunch program First Lady Michelle Obama championed, the one she claimed would provide “more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, and less fat and sodium and set sensible calorie limits” is instead leaving some students hungry. And they aren’t being quiet about it.

There are students and parents who are fed up and have posted pics of the skimpy meals being dished out at schools on Twitter.

Now one school in Wisconsin is taking it a step further. D.C. Everest High School senior Meghan Hellrood organized “pack-a-bag” day, where students brought in their own lunches to boycott the cafeteria’s lunches, which she says consist of “small portions of very processed foods.”

Meghan told Fox News that students “are sometimes given a box of raisins as the fruit portion.” She contends that the choices aren’t any healthier overall, and that:

“[Athletes] are not performing as well as they could, and people’s test scores are going down because they’re hungry throughout the day.”

Students at the school “came together to make bagged lunches for kids who can’t afford to bring their own lunch every day, and they have received donations from the community.”

Bringing a lunch from home is one way to get around the inadequate school lunches, as long as the government or unions stays out of lunch bags. There have been incidents in North Carolina and Illinois where students’ packed lunches have been confiscated by school officials who claim they don’t meet nutritional guidelines.

A quick internet search and a thorough read of comments on various reports will tell you right away that not all school districts are serving the new lunches the same way. There do seem to be some “interpretations” of the new standards that don’t look like filling lunches for growing teenagers. Students in other school districts are very satisfied with the meals being served in cafeterias. The problems that are being reported don’t seem to be about the fruit and vegetable requirements. They are, instead, about the size of the portions which in some areas have been reduced pretty drastically. In addition, reports from some athletes who participate in heavy workouts and training who need more calories are explaining that they aren’t being permitted extra food to meet their caloric needs. High schoolers and parents are speaking up and trying to effect some needed changes in those districts that are in question.

FoodFacts.com is absoutely in favor of getting healthier, more nutritious foods onto our kids lunch trays. We’re not quite sure why there seems to be portion size differences between school districts. But we do think, that like with so many other things, a one-size-fits-all definition may not be the way to go here. It’s been pointed out that for many children here in the U.S., school lunch may, in fact, be their only meal of the day. Athletes have a different calorie profile than non-athletes. And honestly, for any growing teenager, some of the meals pictured aren’t going to keep them satisfied throughout the day. So if that more nutritious lunch isn’t going to help them feel full, they are going to look to add calories in other ways, most likely by eating junk food the first chance they get outside of school. And that’s not great either. The USDA would be well served by taking an individual look at the districts that are complaining and perhaps providing some education regarding compliance with the new standards in ways that will keep more high schoolers more satisfied so that they have the fuel they need to learn and stay as active as possible throughout their days.

http://www.ijreview.com/2014/11/202894-school-lunch-boycott/

What girls eat today could influence their risk of breast cancer tomorrow

mailThere are many women for whom breast cancer is part of their family tree. Heredity can play an important role in the development of this devastating disease. But there are other women with no family history of breast cancer who are diagnosed every year having no idea how this could have happened to them.

But new research from the Harvard School of Public Health shows that what some of those women ate years ago as a teenager may have played a role.

“We know from lots of other data that that period of life is a critical period,” said Dr. Walter Willett, chair of the Nutrition Department at the Harvard School of Public Health. “And the one thing that has been seen most clearly is consumption of red meat — both fresh meat and processed meat — during adolescence is related to higher risk of breast cancer.”

Researcher Maryam Farvid reviewed the data from nearly 45,000 women. She said girls don’t have to become vegetarians.

“If you just go from having red meat once a day to once a week, you can eliminate most of the risk,” Farvid said.

Researchers recommend choosing other forms of protein like nuts, beans, poultry and fish.

“That is the one thing that parents can steer their children towards to reduce their risk of breast cancer in the long run,” Willett said.

As for weight gain, research shows women increase their risk when they add pounds after menopause.

But as teenagers, it’s complicated.

“We actually see that the leaner girls have a higher risk of breast cancer later in life,” Willet said. “It’s quite a puzzle. It’s opposite to what everyone expected.”

Figuring out these connections between diet and risk could be key to preventing breast cancer in the next generation.

But one large-scale nutrition study — funded by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation — will take time.

The Growing Up Today Study has been tracking thousands of kids closely since 1996, but the oldest ones just turned 30.

“The participants have not really been old enough to start developing breast cancer yet, but within a decade or two, they will be.”

FoodFacts.com knows that everyone in our community works hard to make sure that their children are consuming nutritious, balanced diets. When it comes to breast cancer, nutritional awareness should take a front row seat in the educational process that can help us lower not only our own risk, but our daughters’ as well.

Read more:http://www.wcvb.com/health/leaner-girls-have-higher-risk-of-developing-breast-cancer-later-researchers-say/29014540#ixzz3HIapYaWu

We finally found the needle in the haystack — a real pumpkin product!

organicslide3Since the fall season began, FoodFacts.com has been on a bit of a mission. We’ve all been inundated with absolutely everything pumpkin this year. Pumpkin is in everything — or so fast food chains and food manufacturers are trying to tell us. But, for the most part, there’s really no actual pumpkin, or “pumpkin spice” in the lattes, coffees, donuts, puddings, waffles, toaster pastries or the other plethora of products we’re being offered.

We’ve located very few of these fall-flavored products that contain the ingredient they’re named for. And honestly, of those few we have located, the ingredient lists made us shy away from them anyway.

What’s a pumpkin lover to do?

Maybe you want to try Cedar’s Pumpkin Spice Hommos. If you enjoy hommos and the flavors of fall, this product really does have it all.

Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size: 2 tablespoons

Calories:              60
Fat:                      3.5 grams
Sodium:              55 mg
Sugar:                 3 grams

Ingredients: Fresh Steamed Chickpeas, Pumpkin, Water, Sunflower Oil, Sesame Tahini, Garlic, Sea Salt, Sugar, Citric Acid, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cumin, Guar Gum.

Pumpkin. Nutmeg. No controversial ingredients. Enviable nutrition facts. We haven’t found a pumpkin product that has this much to talk about all season long!

So, if you’ve been searching for the needle in the pumpkin haystack the same way we have here at FoodFacts.com, you may want to head out to the grocery store to give Cedar’s Pumpkin Spice Hommos a try. It’s great to be able to share some news about a pumpkin product you can feel good about!

http://www.cedarsfoods.com/products/hommus/all-natural-hommus-8-oz-16-oz/pumpkin-spice/