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food industry



Fixing Obesity: Changing How We View the Problem Could Lead to Better Solutions

obesity-drowning

At this point, it should be abundantly clear that there are no quick fixes to the obesity problem in America. Though there is plenty to be done to stop or reverse a course of obesity, when it comes to preventing it in the first place, most focus on healthy diets and plenty of exercise.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with either of those; here at DietsInReview, we fully support both. However, we may be missing a solution to the obesity problem. One that isn’t physical in nature, but mental.

David L. Katz, MD, MPH, president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, wrote in a LinkedIn post, The Obesity Fix, his belief that the obesity problem can be fixed by a shift in how we think about health and obesity. He also acknowledges change won’t be easy, saying that no one seems to mind when super sugary cereals are marketed to children, or when it’s revealed how some foods are designed to be as addictive as possible.

He believes in order for this to change, people must see health and obesity differently than they do now, in two different ways.

HEALTH IS WEALTH
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Regulation Nation: What Consumers Really Think About the Feds in Our Food

The question of whether or not the government should regulate the food industry seems like a simple one, but it’s really an incredibly complex topic. Variables like price, availability, variety of offerings, and quality of products are all involved. Also, there’s the issue of how much regulation the food industry should have. Should it all be regulated? None? Or maybe somewhere in the middle?

To help us make sense of the issue, Sullivan Higdon & Sink (SHS) has produced its latest White Paper, Regulation Nation. Through their research, they’ve learned the issue of food regulation comes down to a lot more than a simple yes we should have it, or no we shouldn’t.

regulation pros and cons

Regulation Benefits: Food is safer, healthier, better-quality.

Regulation Negatives: limit choices, restrict freedoms, and ultimately drive up costs.


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The Plot to Make Big Food Pay for the Rising Cost of Obesity

In an attempted takedown like that of the tobacco industry in the 90s, lawyers are asking state attorneys general to sue the food industry to make them pay for obesity-related health care costs.

lawsuit

Lawyer Paul McDonald, partner at Valorem Law Group in Chicago, is heading up the movement asking 16 states to take on Big Food.

“I believe that this is the most promising strategy to lighten the economic burden of obesity on states and taxpayers and to negotiate broader public health policy objectives,” he told POLITICO.

Mary Hartley, R.D. shared some of her concerns about litigation of this kind with us. “Lawyers who took on the tobacco companies are fishing for new money,” she said. “They want to take on the food companies, and they see the best route as through the attorneys general. Independent lawyers would do the legal work for the attorneys general in exchange for a cut of the settlement.”


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Big Food’s Deep Pockets Have Infiltrated the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and RDs Won’t Stand for It

The Lorax isn’t directly connected with the dietetic field, but if he speaks for the trees then they are speaking for the health of humanity. The Lorax’s sage words, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not,” could be the motto of a recently formed group called Dietitians for Professional Integrity.

For now their presence is largely on Facebook and they’re working together, with both dietitians and concerned citizens, to make sure the field’s largest trade organization, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), hears not just their complaints but their calls to action.

apple and money

See, the AND accepts sponsorship dollars to keep their organization rolling. But Andy Bellatti, creator of Dietitians for Professional Integrity, and his colleagues are calling bull – these sponsorships are paid for by the very brands these professionals are working hard against.

“Our main initiative is to have the Academy cut ties with its current sponsors,” noted Bellatti.

When you take a look at their on-going corporate sponsors, that’s where you can see how these dietitians are saying the AND “soils the good name of registered dietitians,” according to our Mary Hartley, RD.

Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Hershey, Abbott Nutrition (which produces Similac), General Mills, and Kellogg’s are some of the organization’s major sponsors. It’s cause for red flags amongst the organization’s members and the citizens who support this movement.

“The big picture issue is how Coca-Cola teaches webinars to RDs, how McDonald’s serves lunch at the California Dietetic Association conference, and how PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are financial contributors to the Academy’s Evidence Analysis Library,” declared Bellatti. To that, Monsanto sponsored the New York State Dietetic Association’s annual meeting.

“The organization chooses to align itself with these brands. It’s misguided,” he said. “It makes us look tone deaf during a public health crisis.”
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The Science of Mouthfeel and How it Feeds the Food Industry

I recently discussed how food companies carefully formulate their products for mass consumption. One of the more important elements to making a food desirable is the so-called mouthfeel, the texture and the perception of that texture, good or bad.

I am aware of this phenomenon firsthand, because even though I am knowledgeable about what is and how it is not healthy to put in my body, I sometimes find myself at the mercy of a food. Certain types of chips can make me lose control, but I happen to also be a bit of a crackhead when it comes to anything gummy.

junkfood mouthfeel

Gummies are a really great example of how mouthfeel is used in food manufacturing. There’s something about the tangy taste coupled with the chewy texture that could really set me off on a binge if I wasn’t careful.

In many cases, “mouthfeel” has no sinister connotation at all. It’s used in wine and beer tasting as just one of several descriptive factors when reviewing products. But it also describes how certain foods and drinks are a perfect match, because one is an astringent that makes you “pucker up” and the other is fatty or oily which resolves the dry feel now in your mouth and throat with its lubricating properties. Think red wine with steak or coffee and ice cream.
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