Category Archives: healthy eating

Just in case we all need a reminder … the importance of your five a day

fruits-and-veggies_625x350_71443011288We spend a lot of time telling our kids to eat their vegetables. We also spend plenty of time making sure they consume healthy snacks and pushing the desirability of an apple over cheese crackers. And we pour hours into planning well balanced meals that will give our kids the healthiest start in life. It is still questionable, though, how much attention we pay to our own advice. wants everyone to think of this seriously … are we all making sure we consume our five a day? It’s an important question. And if you need a reminder of why this is so important, you may want to give this a read.

Increased consumption of fruits and non-starchy vegetables is inversely associated with weight change, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine. The longitudinal study, conducted by Monica Bertoia of Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues, shows differences by type of fruit or vegetable, suggesting that characteristics of these foods influence the strength of their association with weight change.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults and children should eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to help them achieve and maintain a healthy weight. In this study, Bertoia and colleagues examined associations between changes in the intake of specific fruits and vegetables recorded in dietary questionnaires and self-reported weight changes in 133,468 US men and women followed for up to 24 years in the Nurses’ Health Study, Health Professionals Follow-up Study and Nurses’ Health Study II. After adjusting for self-reported changes in other lifestyle factors such as smoking status and physical activity, an increased intake of fruits and of several vegetables was inversely associated with 4-y weight change (-0.53 lb (- 0.24 kg) for each extra daily serving of fruit, -0.25 lb (-0.11 kg) for vegetables). However, starchy vegetables, for example peas (1.13 lb; 95% CI 0.37 to 1.89 lb) and corn (2.04 lb; 95% CI 0.94 to 3.15 lb), were associated with weight gain.

These findings may not be generalizable–nearly all the participants were well-educated white adults, and the use of dietary questionnaires and self-reported weight measurement may have introduced measurement errors. However, study strengths include a very large sample size and long follow-up, with consistent results across three cohorts. The authors state, “our findings support benefits of increased fruit and vegetable consumption for preventing long-term weight gain and provide further food-specific guidance for the prevention of obesity, a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and many other health conditions.”

We’re all incredibly busy and we’re all under more stress than generations before us. The world is more complicated and demanding. While we all keep up, there are things that we sacrifice, consciously or unconsciously. Often those sacrifices are made in our diets. Eating on the run. Grabbing a sandwich for lunch. Making the quickest dinner possible. Let’s reevaluate our fruit and vegetable consumption and make a renewed effort to get the five a day we need to survive and thrive!

Preschoolers eat healthier food at daycare than they do at home

20131028_new_day_school_7321Sometimes the folks here at just have to shake our heads and think that we can all do so much better …

A recent study conducted by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has found that preschool age children are consuming more calories and fewer fruits, vegetables and milk outside of child care centers than what is recommended by the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

Based off of guidelines from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, children who attend full-time child care are to receive one-half to two-thirds of their daily nutritional needs while attending a child care facility, leaving about a third to one-half of their total calories to be consumed away from child care.

Kristen Copeland, MD, a researcher in the Division of General and Community Pediatrics and senior author of the study, and her team were interested in what children consume outside of child-care settings. They conducted the study on approximately 340 preschool-aged children from 30 randomly selected, licensed, full-time child-care centers in Hamilton County, OH.

“We found that after children left child-care centers, they weren’t eating enough fruits or vegetables, or drinking enough milk to meet dietary guidelines, and on average consumed more calories than recommended.”

In the study, which captured a single day of dietary intake, children attending full-time child care consumed an average of 685 calories between pick up from child care and bedtime. This amount was 140 calories more than the midrange of the recommendation for this timeframe 433-650 calories. Half of the children consumed more than 900 calories after child care.

During dinner and/or snack after child care, it is recommended that children eat 1/2-3/4 cup of fruit (e.g., 1/2-3/4 of a small apple), 1/2-3/4 cup of vegetables (e.g., 6-9 baby carrots) and 6 to 8 ounces of skim or low-fat (1 percent) milk to meet dietary recommendations.

The study found that that the majority of the calories that the children consumed at home came from sweet and salty snacks (for instance, pretzels, crackers, cookies, snack bars, doughnuts, candy), sugar-sweetened beverages, and whole milk or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk.

Dr. Copeland said that contrary to her team’s hypotheses, children from low-income families did not consume fewer fruits and vegetables than children from upper income families; children consumed insufficient fruits and vegetables across the board. Lower-income children were also not significantly more likely to be overweight than upper-income children. The only significant difference in diet was that children from low-income families consumed more sugar-sweetened beverages.

Excess calories consumed outside of the child-care centers were significantly associated with children being overweight. For every increase in 200 calories consumed away from the center, the child’s odds of being overweight increased by 20 percent.

Dr. Copeland says it is helpful for obesity prevention efforts to identify where children’s excess calorie consumption is occurring.

Feeding small children properly isn’t a complicated task. In fact, the recommendations are fairly simple – half cup of fruit, half cup of vegetables and a cup of milk (skim or low fat) will take care of their nutritional requirements when they get home from daycare. has to wonder whether or not there’s a “treat” mentality going on. Parents, who may be feeling guilty about sending their little ones to daycare are “treating” their kids when they get home with food. As adults we often do this ourselves. We’ve worked a long, hard day and feel that we deserve a “treat” when we get home so we break out the ice cream.

Let’s think long and hard about the nutrition decisions we make for the youngest among us … we should be doing our best to set them up for long, healthy lives.

Let’s kick off pumpkin season with Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Cheesecake Square Donuts

1415193587324Ready or not, it has arrived … pumpkin season 2015. That special time of year where you will be surrounded by pumpkin food products and beverages. Some will be more appealing than others. Some will contain more actual pumpkin than others. And some (like the following brand new donut offering from Dunkin) will be poor interpretations of the great fall vegetable.

This season, Dunkin offers us the Pumpkin Cheesecake Square Donut. One look at this carefully crafted donut and knew we were in trouble before we started. It’s a bit “brightly colored” for our taste … a big red flag regarding the content of the ingredient list. Let’s take a look at what’s going on inside this new pumpkin creation.

Nutrition Facts
Calories:                               340
Fat:                                        15 grams
Saturated Fat:                      6 grams
Sugar:                                   25 grams

The Pumpkin Cheesecake Square is a typical donut, which may strike some as surprising (since it’s a cheesecake donut). Somehow or another Dunkin managed to get great cheesecake flavor inside a donut without the excessive fat and calories related to actual cheesecake. Wonder how they did that? You’ll want to read the ingredient list.

Donut: Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Palm Oil, Yeast Donut Concentrate [Soy Flour, Salt, Pregelatinized Wheat Starch, Whey (Milk), Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Nonfat Milk, Gum Blend (Cellulose, Guar, Acacia, Carrageenan, Xanthan), Sodium Caseinate (Milk), Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Eggs, Soybean Oil, Soy Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Annatto and Turmeric (Colors)], Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Yeast, Mono and Diglycerides; Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling: Water, Sugar, Cream Cheese [Pasteurized Cultured Milk and Cream, Salt, Stabilizers (Xanthan, Carob Bean, and/or Guar Gums)], Pumpkin Puree, Dextrose, Modified Food Starch, Contains 2% or less of the following: Glucono Delta Lactone, Palm Oil, Cultured Grade A Nonfat Dry Milk Powder, Grade A Nonfat Dry Milk Powder, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Salt, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Fruit and Vegetable Juices for Color (made from carrot), Spices, Sorbic Acid (Preservative); Orange Icing: [White Icing: Sugar, Water, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Contains 2% or less of: Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Corn Starch, Sodium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Salt, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Citric Acid, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids, Agar, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Artificial Flavor; Orange Coloring: Orange Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Glycerin, Modified Food Starch, Sugar, Carrageenan Gum, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid; May Contain Blue 1, Blue 2, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 6, Yellow 5]; White Icing: Sugar, Water, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Contains 2% or less of: Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Corn Starch, Sodium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Salt, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Citric Acid, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids, Agar, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Artificial Flavor; Graham Crumb Topping: Unenriched Wheat Flour, Sugar, Water, Canola Oil, Brown Sugar, Grain Additive (Wheat Bran, Wheat Germ), Honey, Cinnamon, Natural Flavor, Baking Soda, Salt, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Tocopherol (Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Soybean Oil).

Our first instincts were absolutely correct. There’s A LOT of artificial food coloring in here. In addition the Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling doesn’t resemble any cheesecake recipes we’ve ever seen.

Pumpkin season leaves us with plenty to be suspicious of – and with good reason. Products like this go to great lengths to provide a flavor experience that consumers have come to relate with pumpkin. At least we can see that Dunkin did put actual pumpkin in this one. The rest of it, though, feels like they really needed to stretch things to come up with something we might like to eat. But that’s the problem – the further they go, the less we want to eat it. This one is on the avoid list.

Fast food you can eat … at least without the topping

Greek-Yogurt-ParfaitChick-Fil-A has introduced a Greek yogurt parfait that’s actually a reasonable choice for food-conscious consumers. Of course, you’d be doing yourself a favor by foregoing either the granola or chocolate cookie crumb topping, which leaves you with the yogurt topped with strawberries and blueberries.

Let’s take a quick peek at the new parfait in all its forms so you can make an informed decision the next time you find yourself on line at a Chick-Fil-A near you.
Nutrition Facts

Plain Parfait                                                              Cookie Crumb Topping                 Granola Topping
Calories:                     100                                        120                                                    160
Fat:                              3.5 grams                             5 grams                                            5 grams
Sugar:                         11 grams                              12 grams                                          14 grams

The differences between the plain parfait and either of the two toppings is relatively small and not something most would worry about. Now let’s explore the ingredient lists:

Greek Yogurt (cultured pasteurized milk, cream, live and active cultures [S thermophilus, L bulgaricus, L acidophilus, L. lactis], sugar, water, pectin, vanilla extract), strawberries, blueberries.

Granola (toasted oats [whole rolled oats, soybean oil, honey], soybean oil, sugar, honey, glycerated raisins [raisins, sunflower oil, glycerin], golden seedless raisins [raisins, sulfur dioxide added for freshness], glycerated cranberries [cranberries, sugar, glycerin, citric acid, safflower oil], pecans, almonds, walnuts, corn syrup, brown sugar, molasses, salt, natural flavors).

Oreo Cookie Crumbs (sugar, enriched four [wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate {vitamin B1}, riboflavin {vitamin B2}, folic acid], palm and/or high oleic canola and/or canola oil, and/or soybean oil, cocoa [processed with alkali], high fructose corn syrup, cornstarch, leavening (baking soda, and/or calcium phosphate), salt, soy lecithin [emulsifier], vanillin-an artificial flavor, chocolate)

While the number of controversial ingredients in either topping is small, can’t help but point out how fast food again takes a perfectly acceptable option and has to add to it in a way that makes it less acceptable. We don’t need the high fructose corn syrup in the cookie crumbs or the artificial and natural flavors in either topping. And we’re less likely to purchase this menu item because of those things.

Of course, we’d also like to point out that in order to consume a more natural, healthier option at a Chick-Fil-A, you’ll need to order yogurt – not chicken.

We’ve still got a long way to go …

Just when we were feeling better about school lunch …

150825125801_1_540x360There’s been plenty of controversy surrounding the new school lunch regulations. Overall, though, most people have felt that the changes were positive and that our children were being presented with healthier options. So was dismayed to find this new information that takes the wind out of the sails of the new program.

Less than a month before Congress votes on whether to reauthorize a controversial program mandating healthier school lunches, a new study confirms the suspicions of school officials — many students are putting the fruits and vegetables they’re now required to take straight into the trash, consuming fewer than they did before the law took effect.

The new study, published online in Public Health Reports on Aug. 25, is the first to use digital imaging to capture students’ lunch trays before and after they exited the lunch line.

It is also one of the first to compare fruit and vegetable consumption before and after the controversial legislation — the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 — was passed.

After passage of the legislation and the USDA mandates it put in place 2012, the study found that students put more fruits and vegetables on their trays, as required, but consumed fewer of them and increased waste by approximately 35 percent.

“The basic question we wanted to explore was: does requiring a child to select a fruit or vegetable actually correspond with consumption,” says Sarah Amin, Ph.D., a researcher in Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont and lead author on the study.

“The answer was clearly no,” she said. “It was heartbreaking to see so many students toss fruits like apples into the trash right after exiting the lunch line.”

Amin and her co-authors documented almost 500 tray observations over 10 visits to two elementary schools in the Northeast before implementation of the USDA guideline and almost twice as many observations afterwards.

Forty to 60 percent of the students at the schools qualified for free or reduced lunch, a marker for low socioeconomic status.

The research team used a digital imaging method that they validated three years ago in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to measure consumption.

The new methodology, which involved visual estimations and calculations based on digital photographs of trays as students reached the cashier and again after they passed the food disposal area, was faster and more accurate than conventional methodologies that simply weighed food waste.

“The beauty of this method is that you have the data to store and code to indicate what was selected, what was consumed, and what was wasted as opposed to weighed plate waste, where everything needs to be done on site,” said Amin, who hopes to develop an online training tutorial that could be used by schools across the country to measure consumption and waste.

In an earlier study published in the Journal of Child Nutrition and Management, Amin and colleagues looked at what types of fruits and vegetables children selected prior to the new guideline.

They found that children preferred processed fruits and vegetables such as the tomato paste on pizza or 100 percent fruit juice rather than whole varieties.

In addition to making sure those options are available, Amin and her colleagues offer these additional strategies in the paper for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption in school lunch programs:

• Cutting up vegetables and serving them with dip or mixing them in with other parts of the meal;
• Slicing fruits like oranges or apples, rather than serving them whole;
• Adopting promising strategies targeting school settings such as Farm-to-School programs and school gardens, which can encourage fruit and vegetable consumption in addition to what the cafeteria is providing
• Putting public health programs in place that encourage fruit and vegetable consumption in the home, which could carry over to school.

Once schools have fully acclimated to the guidelines, Amin thinks consumption will increase, especially for students who entered as kindergarteners under the new guidelines in 2012 and know no other way.

“An important message is that guidelines need to be supplemented with other strategies to enrich fruit and vegetable consumption. We can’t give up hope yet.”

Amin’s co-authors at the University of Vermont include research associate Bethany Yon and Rachel Johnson, the Robert L. Bickford Jr. Green and Gold Professor of Nutrition and Food Sciences, and Jennifer Taylor, a graduate student at UC-Davis.

There’s an old saying … “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” thinks we should all remember the truth behind that statement. But we also think that other strategies should be employed in the crusade to entice kids with healthier eating. There have been studies done that suggest that whole fruit isn’t as attractive as fruit that’s been cut up, appearing more “ready-to-eat.” That’s just one example of how this might be approached.

While we’re saddened to learn that kids are rejecting some of these efforts, we look forward to seeing solutions and hope that as the school lunch program moves forward, improvements will be made that work for the kids the program serves.

The negative effects of eating on the run … you may be gaining weight

Eatting on the goIf any one word were used to describe the current times we live in, it would probably be “busy.” We’re always running somewhere. To the gym, to a meeting, to work, to an event, to a school … we’re overscheduled, rushed and constantly on the go. As a result, most people aren’t sitting down to proper meals and are eating on the run. We’re trying to make sure that those grab and go meals are healthy, but according to new research it doesn’t make a huge difference in regard to weight control.

In a new study published in the Journal of Health Psychology, researchers from the University of Surrey have found dieters who eat ‘on the go’ may increase their food intake later in the day which could lead to weight gain and obesity. The findings from the study also showed that eating while walking around triggered more overeating compared to eating during other forms of distraction such as watching TV or having a conversation with a friend.

The team examined 60 females who were either dieters or non-dieters and gave them all a cereal bar to eat under three different conditions. The first group was asked to watch a five-minute clip of the sitcom ‘Friends’ while eating. The second group was asked to walk around the corridor while consuming the cereal bar, and the third group was simply asked to sit opposite a friend and have a conversation. After the experiment, participants completed a follow-up questionnaire and a taste test involving four different bowls of snacks, including chocolate, carrot sticks, grapes and crisps. How much they ate was measured after they left the room.

The results showed that dieters ate more snacks at the taste test if they had eaten the initial cereal bar whilst walking around and specifically they ate five times more chocolate.

“Eating on the go may make dieters overeat later on in the day,” said lead author Professor Jane Ogden from the University of Surrey.

“This may be because walking is a powerful form of distraction which disrupts our ability to process the impact eating has on our hunger. Or it may be because walking, even just around a corridor, can be regarded as a form of exercise which justifies overeating later on as a form of reward.”
“Even though walking had the most impact, any form of distraction, including eating at our desks can lead to weight gain. When we don’t fully concentrate on our meals and the process of taking in food, we fall into a trap of mindless eating where we don’t track or recognize the food that has just been consumed.” misses the days when we weren’t always running somewhere. The world is, however, a more complicated place with greater demands assigned to us all. We can’t turn back the clock. But we can make a conscientious effort to make time for healthy, balanced meals. Let’s learn to put busy to bed when it’s mealtime and give up mindless eating for good.

Healthier mayonnaise? Just Mayo from Hampton Creek bets you’ll think so

4795230377_d9bfb79b31So what’s in the jar of mayonnaise sitting in your refrigerator? We know it’s mayonnaise, but have you explored any further than that?

If it’s a jar from Kraft, this is how the ingredient list reads:

INGREDIENTS: Soybean Oil, Water, Eggs, Egg Yolks, Vinegar, contains less than 2% of Sugar, Salt,Lemon Juice Concentrate, Calcium Disodium EDTA as a Preservative, Dried Garlic, Dried Onions, Spice, Natural Flavor.

In a serving size of one tablespoon, you’ll find 90 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 5 mg of cholesterol and 90 mg. of sodium.

This information is pretty typical for the mainstream brands of mayo. The ingredients could certainly be better. They’re only using two controversial items and we’re fairly certain those could be replaced. And the nutrition facts are something most have learned to live with. Mayonnaise is a fat. It’s made from fats. So the nutrition facts fall in line.

Hampton Creek thinks we should have better mayonnaise. You may have seen it on your grocery shelf sitting in between Kraft and Hellmann’s. Just Mayo tells us that we’ll consume less sodium and cholesterol with this new brand AND we’ll be consuming better ingredients.

So let’s take a look at the nutrition facts for one tablespoon of Just Mayo.

Calories:                   90
Fat:                            10 grams
Saturated fat:          1 gram
Cholesterol:             0 mg
Sodium:                    80 mg

The tablespoon of Just Mayo is a little better in terms of nutrition facts than a tablespoon of Kraft Mayo. With .5 grams less saturated fat, 5 mg less cholesterol and 10 mg less sodium, we could say it’s a bit ahead of the game than its mainstream counterparts.

Non-GMO Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Filtered Water, White Vinegar, 2% or less of the following: Organic Sugar, Salt, Pea Protein, Spices, Modified Food Starch, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Fruit and Vegetable Juice (Color), Calcium Disodium EDTA (to preserve freshness).

No natural flavors. That’s a great thing. would have to question the Non-GMO statement regarding canola oil, as canola oil begins as a genetically modified product (there’s no such thing as a canola plant). This product still contains Calcium Disodium EDTA and that kind of ruins it for us.

If we have the time, we can make our own mayonnaise. If we don’t have the time, there are organic products that we like better than this one. It isn’t bad. And we get that they’ve identified a niche somewhere between mainstream brand mayo and organic mayo – something that’s better for you but doesn’t cost what organic products cost. Maybe that niche exists. But if it does, we think the consumers that are sitting inside that gap between products aren’t looking to see Calcium Disodium EDTA on the ingredient list.

Foods rich in Vitamin C can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and early death
has always believed that a long, healthy life can be achieved through a healthy, balanced diet. As we all strive for optimal health and well-being we take into consideration the latest information available on those foods we shouldn’t – and should – be consuming. Let’s face it, those recommendations can change from year to year and decade to decade. Trends and fads aside though, certain things have staying power – like the importance of fruits and vegetables in our diets. New research is now linking fruit and vegetable consumption with a whole new health benefit.

New research from the University of Copenhagen and Herlev and Gentofte Hospital shows that high vitamin C concentrations in the blood from the intake of fruit and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.

The study, which has just been published in the well known American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is based on the Copenhagen General Population Study.

As part of the study, the researchers had access to data about 100,000 Danes and their intake of fruit and vegetables as well as their DNA. “We can see that those with the highest intake of fruit and vegetables have a 15% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 20% lower risk of early death compared with those who very rarely eat fruit and vegetables. At the same time, we can see that the reduced risk is related to high vitamin C concentrations in the blood from the fruit and vegetables,” says Camilla Kobylecki, a medical doctor and PhD student at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital.

Among other things, vitamin C helps build connective tissue which supports and connects different types of tissues and organs in the body. Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant which protects cells and biological molecules from the damage which causes many diseases, including cardiovascular disease. The human body is not able to produce vitamin C, which means that we must get the vitamin from our diet.

“We know that fruit and vegetables are healthy, but now our research is pinpointing more precisely why this is so. Eating a lot of fruit and vegetables is a natural way of increasing vitamin C blood levels, which in the long term may contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death. You can get vitamin C supplements, but it is a good idea to get your vitamin C by eating a healthy diet, which will at the same time help you to develop a healthier lifestyle in the long term, for the general benefit of your health,” says Boerge Nordestgaard, a clinical professor at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, and a consultant at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital.

The researchers are now continuing their work to determine which other factors, combined with vitamin C, have an impact on cardiovascular disease and death.

Including foods rich in vitamin C in our diets isn’t a difficult proposition. There are so many options that are easy to incorporate each day. These significant findings are a great motivation for us all to expand our dietary universe and make sure we’re consuming our share of vitamin C foods. Let’s all live a longer, healthier life!

Giving up soda after 50

sodacanWe’re a very different society today than we were 30 years ago. We’re more active and more active as we age. We live longer. And we don’t quite think about age the same we that we used to. embraces the idea that we are able and willing to make the kind of changes that extend our lives and keep us healthier as we age. Our friends over at Huffington Post agree, and recently shared some important information that we think our community will find significant.

A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society of 749 adults age 65 or older showed that those who consumed diet soda daily over a 10-year period had double the gains in waist circumference than those who did not.

Increased belly fat and an increased waistline can be linked to many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, to name a few.

We think that when we switch from regular soda to diet soda we are doing a good thing by cutting out all those calories. Think again. Just because it’s calorie-free doesn’t mean it’s a healthy alternative.

In diet sodas as well as regular sodas, there are ingredients such as phosphoric acid and caffeine. Doesn’t phosphoric acid sound appetizing?

You may already know that phosphoric acid is great at removing rust. But since we do not typically harbor rust inside our bodies, let’s talk about what phosphoric acid really does when we consume it.

It can be responsible for removing calcium from our bones. That is the last thing we need, right? Especially for women over a certain age.

We also know that consuming excess caffeine can interfere with calcium absorption, so those two together can provide a double whammy for our bones.

Hopefully, everyone knows by now that we need to strength-train to make our bones stronger. But what if you eliminate sodas from your diet and strength train, too? We may certainly cut our risk for osteoporosis and unnecessary bone breaks as we age.

Many experts believe that if you are drinking a lot of soda, then you probably are not drinking milk or juices that may be fortified with calcium.

According to Better Homes and Gardens, there are seven super foods you can eat or drink that are rich in calcium: yogurt, milk, romano or Swiss cheese, tofu, spinach, broccoli, and orange juice fortified with calcium.

Try substituting some of the sodas you drink with milk or OJ.

Recommended calcium intake for women over 50 can differ, but should be around 1,200 milligrams per day. Other factors play into these numbers, such as estrogen loss.

For men over 50, recommended calcium intake is around 1,000 milligrams per day.

We’d like to remind everyone that the messages written in icing on millions of birthday cakes is really very true – 50 IS fabulous. Soda is not. We should all act accordingly.

False advertising lawsuit filed against Almond Breeze: shockingly few almonds in the almond milk

Almond-Breeze1People love their almond milk. It tastes great. It’s healthy for you. It’s dairy free. Depending on the brand you buy, it’s a natural product. Unfortunately there are more than a few brands that are riding the coattails of that “health halo” that has formed around the product itself. Just do things the way and check the labels of some of the popular brands and you might be surprised. Now a new difficulty has come to the forefront in the form of a false advertising law suit against Almond Breeze almond milk.

According to a class action lawsuit filed in New York this past May (and amended on July 14), these popular items are more full of lies than they are actual almonds.

A pair of brave citizens are squaring off against Blue Diamond Growers, the largest processor and marketer of almonds in the world (according to their company website) in civil court. The plaintiffs, Tracy Albert and Dimitrios Malaxianis, are claiming that Blue Diamond’s almond milk brand, Almond Breeze, has been fraudulently advertising itself as primarily containing almonds, when in actuality, it only contains about two percent.

According to the amended complaint, available to the public, Albert and Malaxianis were avid almond milk lovers — Albert even residing in California, where Blue Diamond helps produce a significant amount of the almonds grown in the U.S. every year. However, they became shocked when they learned that their Almond Breeze, according to nutritional information displayed by its UK counterpart, only contained two percent real almond. No such disclosure exists on the U.S. side of the almond milk aisle.

“Defendant is using its website to lead distributors, grocery stores, restaurants, consumers and other buyers and resellers of almond milk in the United States to believe that their almond milk branded products are primarily made from almonds,” read their complaint. “Said information from Defendant’s website has created a false perception amongst the public that Defendant’s almond milk labeled products are premium products that are healthy for you because they are primarily made from almonds.”

Regardless of the outcome, the civil case, filed in New York because of Malaxianis’s residency there, is coming at a time when almond milk has become incredibly popular. An article referenced by the complaint notes that sales of almond milk cleared over $700 million last year, with Blue Diamond the top dog (the original suit also named Whitewave Foods, which produces Silk, a brand that now includes almond milk). According to research they conducted online, the average amount of almond that should be found in almond milk is around 25 to 35 percent.

The two, fighting on behalf of themselves and “all other persons in the United States” who have ever purchased Almond Breeze, are claiming the company has committed unfair and deceptive business practices, false advertising, fraud, and unjust enrichment.

So it appears that Almond Breeze almond milk contains only 2% actual almonds. Of course, they needed to leave room in the product for the carrageenan and evaporated cane juice that are used to make Almond Breeze the tasty alternative to dairy milk so many consumers enjoy. Like we said, make sure you read the labels.