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KIND Snacks Petitions FDA to Redefine the Term “Healthy”

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KIND Snacks, with support from nutrition and public health experts, has filed a Citizen Petition urging the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to update its regulations around using the term “healthy” in food labeling.

Currently, the FDA mandates that the term “healthy” only be used as a nutrient content claim reserved for foods with 3 grams or less total fat and 1 gram or less of saturated fat per serving. Fish and meat must have 5g or less total fat and 3g or less saturated fat per serving in order to use healthy as a nutrition content claim. This guideline was established over 20 years ago and KIND Founder and CEO Daniel Lubetzky claims that it’s outdated, excluding whole, nutrient-rich foods we know to have numerous health benefits like almonds, salmon, olive oil and avocados because of their naturally occurring higher fat content.

The policy effort, which cites evidence from multiple nutrition studies in addition to current federal Dietary Guidelines, is supported by a number of leading health and wellness experts including Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts and Connie Diekman, Registered Dietitian and former President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


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The Biggest Loser Returns for Season 17 with Big Changes

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The Biggest Loser is back January 4, 2016 for its 17th season, but with a new host, a new gym and even a brand new logo, this season will be anything but business as usual.

America’s favorite trainers Dolvett Quince and Jen Widerstrom return this season to train eight teams of two contestants, all competing to shed the most weight for the $250,000 grand prize. Seven of the teams know each other well, with couplings including spouses, parents and adult children, siblings, and best friends, all looking to improve their lives and heal old wounds through losing weight and getting their health under control.

The members of the eighth team are strangers to each other, but you may know them quite well:  former “Survivor” winner and “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant Richard Hatch, 54, and “The Voice” season two semi-finalist Erin Willett, 26.  While they may be used to the bright lights and cameras, this team will still have to work  just as hard as the other contestants to lose their excess weight while figuring out how to work together and support each other in making lasting lifestyle changes.

While this season will have all the calorie-burning, sweat-dripping excitement you’ve come to know and love from The Biggest Loser, season 17 brings with it a lot of changes, too.

The new host is a friendly, familiar face: beloved former The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper. The newly renovated “Biggest Loser” gym features a brand new look, logo and modernized state-of-the-art equipment, including eight individual high-tech wall monitors that track each contestant’s stats in real time, including calorie burn and heart rate. The gym will be split, with one half dedicated to Team Dolvett and the other half dedicated to Team Jen. Weigh-ins are also getting a revamp, featuring double scales so teams can weigh in and face off side by side.

The theme for this season is ‘Temptation,’ and will focus on real world situations and roadblocks that everyone faces in their pursuit to live a healthy lifestyle. Players will spend more time off-campus this season than ever before to better prepare them for what they will face when they return home, and offer viewers helpful take aways they can implement immediately in their own fitness journeys.

The Biggest Loser season 17 premieres Monday, January 4 (9-11 p.m. ET) on NBC.



Weight Watchers is the Best Diet Deal at $377 to Lose 5 Pounds

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Want to kickstart your weight loss journey but unsure where to begin? A new study suggests that Weight Watchers diet program and the weight loss drug Qsymia may give you the best bang for your buck.

ABC News aired a story about Duke University comparing the costs and effectiveness of three diet programs and three weight loss prescription medications. Weight Watchers came out on top with the price of $155 per kilogram lost (2.2 pounds).

“If you are about to embark on a major weight loss attempt, there is more than just the number on the scale to consider. You want to make your money matter,” says ABC News’ senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

The average annual cost of Weight Watchers was $377, and users lost an average of 5.3 pounds, according to the study. Our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, RD, comments that as diet plans go, “Weight Watchers is good for providing peer support, basic nutrition education, and flexibility to individualize food selections.” Though she warns that it is still a “diet” with the external focus of translating food into other quantifiable values.

This means people have two different mentalities of what they can eat when they are either “on the diet” or “off the diet,” and Hartley is “never impressed by weight loss that is only to be regained.”
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Taco Bell Divulges What’s Really in Their Beef (HINT: It’s Not Just Meat)

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Taco Bell had an announcement this week that certainly surprised us. The fast food corporation decided to divulge what’s actually in its meat—and it turns out, it is mostly actually meat! Or at least, it’s almost 9/10ths meat. 

In an official statement, Taco Bell stated that their beef is “88% beef and 12% signature recipe.” The company also assured the nation that their beef is not grade D beef, but that it is as quality as any ground beef that you might find in a grocery store.

So what makes up the “signature recipe” that accounts for the other 12% of the filling? Mostly spices and thickeners, the chain insists. “Ingredients like oats and sodium phosphates help make sure the texture is right.” We’re of the opinion that “beef texture” is probably best produced by beef, but I guess when you operate a worldwide chain you need consistency. Maybe these fillers make the beef used in Kansas taste the same as the beef used in California?


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Vodka Shortening Life Span of Russian Men

A shocking statistic concerning Russian men has garnered some attention recently, though this one has nothing to do with the upcoming Olympic games.

An article posted on TheGuardian.com on Friday, January 31st, detailed how a large number of young Russian men’s deaths have been linked to vodka consumption. Between the years 1999 and 2010, researchers interviewed over 150,000 men in various Russian cities concerning their drinking habits. When the researchers followed up with the same men years later, they had discovered that around 8,000 of them had died since the first interview.

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From this initial selection of Russian men, the researchers concluded that approximately 35% of Russian men younger than 55 drink three or more half-liter bottles of vodka a week—which is the equivalent of more than 33 shots of vodka in a seven-day period.


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