Monday, May 19th, 2014
Connecticut legislators have sent to the governor a measure that would prohibit public schools from offering chocolate milk and some juices to children, citing the beverages’ links to imbalanced nutrition when it comes to fat, salt, and sugar. More from CBS News:
If he signs it, Connecticut would be the first state in the country — not just a single school district –to ban chocolate milk in school cafeterias. The law would go into effect next September.
Politicians in the state faced pressure to pass school nutrition rules or risk forfeiting funds from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a federal policy that sets requirements for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Nutrition Programs, which includes its school lunch program. However, the USDA points out that the Act does not ban individual food items. A USDA spokesperson told CBS News that it does require flavored milks to be non-fat.
Under the state proposal, schools in Connecticut would only be allowed to serve low-fat, unflavored milk and beverages without artificial sweeteners, added sodium or more than four grams of sugar per ounce.
Chocolate milk contains high fructose corn syrup and up to 200 milligrams of sodium, which means it won’t make the cut.
Some child nutritionists think the proposed law will backfire and jeopardize the health of children in the state. Jill Castle, a registered dietician and nutritionist from New Canaan, Conn., told CBS affiliate WFSB that when chocolate milk is removed from the cafeteria the overall consumption of milk goes down.
“From a nutrient profile, you’re getting calcium, vitamin D, potassium, phosphorous, protein, and other nutrients,” said Castle.
But some food experts disagree. Marlene Schwartz, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, says the ban means that the food industry will simply need to adjust.
“This isn’t going to keep out flavored milk,” Schwartz told the Hartford Courant. “All it’s going to do it make sure the flavored milk that’s in there is not going to have added salt.”
Make mornings easier with our Healthy Breakfast On-The-Go guide.
Image: Chocolate milk, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
Calling a girl “fat” may result in a greater chance she’ll become obese later in childhood or life, according to new research published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. More from Reuters:
The early stigma of being labeled that way may worsen the problem rather than encouraging girls to become healthier, but more research is needed to be sure, the study authors say.
“This study is one step closer to being able to draw that conclusion, but of course we can’t definitively say that calling a girl “too fat” will make her obese,” said senior author A. Janet Tomiyama of the University of California, Los Angeles.
“This study recruited girls when they were age 10 and followed them over nine years, so we know it’s more than just a one-time connection, which makes me believe that it’s an important question to continue researching,” Tomiyama told Reuters Health in an email.
She and her coauthor examined data from an existing study that followed girls through their teen years. At age 10, the girls answered the question, “have any of these people told you that you were too fat: father, mother, brother, sister, best girlfriend, boy you like best, any other girl, any other boy, or teacher?”
Out of just over 2,000 girls, a total of 1,188 answered “yes” to any of the choices.
Those girls were more likely to have a body mass index (BMI) – a measure of weight relative to height – in the obese range ten years later than girls who answered “no,” according to the results in JAMA Pediatrics.
“We know from considerable evidence that youth who feel stigmatized or shamed about their weight are vulnerable to a range of negative psychological and physical health consequences,” said Rebecca Puhl, deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
“This study suggests that negative weight labels may contribute to these experiences and have a lasting and potentially damaging impact for girls,” said Puhl, who was not part of the study.
Image: Heavy girl, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, November 7th, 2013
The Food and Drug Administration of the federal government has announced a that partially hydrogenated oils, which are a major source of “trans fats” in processed foods, are no longer “generally recognized as safe” in the U.S. food supply. The move is considered a first step toward a ban of the artificial fats in most foods, as CNN.com reports:
If the preliminary determination is finalized, according to the FDA, then partially hydrogenated oils will become food additives that could not be used in food without approval. Foods with unapproved additives cannot legally be sold.
Trans fat can be found in processed foods including desserts, microwave popcorn products, frozen pizza, margarine and coffee creamer, and has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Partially hydrogenated oil is formed when hydrogen is added to liquid oils to make solid fats, like shortening and margarine. It increases the shelf life and the flavor of foods. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, or shortening, was used in American kitchens as early as 1911.
However, in recent years many food manufacturers have taken steps to limit or eliminate trans fat from their products.
McDonald’s, for instance, stopped cooking its french fries in trans fat more than a decade ago. The company’s website says all its fried menu items are free of trans fat.
New York City in 2007 adopted a regulation banning partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and spreads in restaurants.
Trans fat intake among American consumers decreased from 4.6 grams per day in 2003 to about a gram a day in 2012, according to the FDA.
However, “current intake remains a significant public health concern,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a written statement.
There is no safe level of consumption of trans fat, Hamburg said. It has been shown to raise the “bad,” or LDL, cholesterol.
Image: Margarine on bread, via Shutterstock
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Monday, August 13th, 2012
A new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has found that parents eat more foods containing saturated fats than people without children. By making better food choices, researchers concluded, parents can not only prevent weight gain and health problems for themselves, but they can be better role models for their children. CNN.com reports:
A diet high in saturated fat can lead to obesity, high cholesterol, heart attacks and Type 2 diabetes.
“Parents of younger children do tend to bring in more convenience foods into the home more often,” said Dr. Helena Laroche, the lead author on the study. “That may account for the difference in saturated fat intake.”
Laroche’s study appeared in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It examined data collected in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults cohort study, which followed more than 2,000 young adults for 20 years.
Her research focused on the first seven years of a new parent’s life, comparing how often they ate and what they ate to the eating habits of people without children.
It asked people to document how much saturated fat was in their diet, how many fruits and vegetables they ate, how often they went out for fast food, and how much soda and juice they consumed.
Other than with saturated fat intake, parents’ diets were similar to those people without kids. “Ultimately, neither had the ideal diet at the end of seven years,” Laroche said.
Still, Laroche said, parents should know that what they choose to eat sends powerful messages to their children.
“The big takeaway from our study is that we really do want parents to be better role models for their children when it comes to healthy eating,” she said.
Image: Strawberry ice cream cone, via Shutterstock.
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