Tag Archives: junk food

How to Choose the Best of the Worst on The Doctors

The Doctors

UPDATE: This episode will air again on June 21, 2011.

Tune in to The Doctors on Tuesday, April 26th for tips on making the best of the worst situations. Learn which junk foods are the least of all evils, how to pick alcoholic drinks that won’t ruin your diet, and how to choose healthier snack foods.

Not all junk foods are created equal! Several guests have their decision making skills put to the test at a breakfast buffet. See if they stack up the calories or manage to avoid the worst nutritional pitfalls.

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High Calorie Food Tax for Trimmer Waistlines

In public health policy, you can’t get much more divisive or controversial than the topic of taxes on high calorie foods. It doesn’t help put out the fire when researchers say that the tax actually works.

Researchers used nearly 200 college students in an experiment to see how their food purchases would change, if at all, when there is a substantial tax on high-calorie foods.

“The most important finding of our study is that a tax of 25 percent or more on (high-calorie) foods makes nearly everyone buy fewer calories,” says lead researcher Janneke Giesen of Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

The only exception was people who were already calorie-conscious in the first place – their decisions were not swayed either way with the food tax.

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Childhood Junk Food Linked to Lower I.Q. Scores

The brain grows most rapidly during the first three years of a child’s life, and so it stands to reason that the foods a child eats during that time are of utmost importance. A recent study confirms this. The long term health and well being of around 14,000 children born in 1991 and 1992 is being followed by a group known as ALSPAC, or Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. All together, data was compiled for just over 4,000 children.

Parents were given questionnaires to complete, requesting documentation of the types and frequency of the food and drink their children consumed when they were 3, 4, 7 and 8.5 years old. Overall, three basic dietary patterns were identified: “processed” (high in fats and sugar intake), “traditional” (high in meat and vegetable intake), and “health conscious” (high in salad, fruit and vegetables, rice and pasta). The I.Q. of all participants was measured using the standard Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children when they were 8 years old. Numerical scores were calculated for each child.

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Twinkie Diet Causes Man to Lose 27 Pounds

Mark Haub, a professor of nutrition at Kansas State wanted to make a point: calorie count matters more than nutritional content when it comes to weight-loss. To argue his case, he embarked on a 10-week Twinkie diet and shed 27 pounds.  He ate a snack cake or bag of chips every three hours, but only consumed a total of 1,800 calories total per day. Before the diet, he has a body mass index of 28.8, and continued his diet until he reached a BMI of 24.9, which is considered a normal weight.

However, about a third of Haub’s diet did consist of more nutritional foods. He drank a protein shake daily and took a multivitamin. He also ate vegetables, like canned green beans or several sticks of celery.

Haub deemed his super-unhealthy diet a “convenience store diet,” and does not recommend that anyone follow his example. Although his diet may have lacked many nutritional sources, many other health indicators actually improved for Haub after following the diet. His “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent and his “good” cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. Haub reduced his level of triglycerides, another  form of fat, by 39 percent.

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Nearly Half of Kids’ Daily Intake Comes from Junk Calories

We’ve heard it for years – the daily diets of America’s children are in dire straits. Now, there is concrete proof. In a study recently profiled on ABC News, researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Maryland have analyzed data that proves the assumption. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey indicated that more than 40% of the calories consumed by children ages 2-18 were empty calories – calories that contain little to no nutrition. Half of these calories came from just six foods:

  • Soda
  • Cakes, donuts, cookies and other grains
  • Sugary fruit drinks
  • Dairy desserts
  • Pizza
  • Whole milk (more…)

Project Unhealthy on The Doctors

Tune in this Monday, September 13 to the season premiere of The Doctors.

On the Season 3 launch, The Doctors are back and better than ever. In Project Unhealthy, see the toll that eating junk food and not exercising takes on Dr. Travis’ body.

While on the show’s summer break, Dr. Travis binged on junk food and avoided the gym in order to create his own firsthand lab experiment on the obesity epidemic that is affecting millions of Americans. (more…)

Baby Carrots Getting Junk Food Marketing Makeover

UPDATE 10/14/10: To date, this campaign, which challenges the establishment’s dominance over snacking culture, has been a wild success. Now carrot farmers are looking to add to the success this Halloween by creating “Scarrots”. Scarrots are 1.7 ounce single-serve bags of baby carrots, offered in a master bag containing 25 servings in 3 unique designs.  Also included is a sealed pouch containing 25 temporary glow-in-the-dark tattoos of masquerading baby carrot characters. 

If you are a food company that sells baby carrots, how do you get kids interested in your healthy product, when what they really want are those Fruit Roll-Ups, or some other snack with a flashy cartoon character and brightly colored logos?

As they say, if you can’t beat ’em join ’em.

It’s back-to-school time, so there’s no better time than now to make a bold move to be the choice snack for kids’ brown bag lunches. So, basically the entire baby carrot industry is making radical changes to their presentation, mimicking the junk food packaging that is so successful. (more…)

Pop-Tarts Cafe Offers Fun But Unhealthy Food

Pop-Tarts World Store. Image via: AP Photo/Richard Drew.

Leave it to NYC to create a culinary creation called the Pop-Tart World Store. Located in nowhere else but Times Square, the Pop-Tarts Cafe is fun and funky take on one of the country’s most processed iconic foods: The Pop-Tart.

According to the New York Times, the Pop-Tarts World Store also features the Pop-Tarts Cafe, which will offer about 30 different menu selections from Pop-Tarts Sushi to “Fluffer Butter” (“marshmallow spread sandwiched between two Pop-Tarts frosted fudge pastries”).

The fun and zaniness factor of the Pop-Tarts Cafe is clearly off the charts but sadly, its nutritional statistics are also pretty extreme. (more…)

Pennsylvania to Increase School Exercise

Last week, we got word that Oregon has the lowest childhood obesity rate in the country, at about 10 percent. Mississippi is in dead last, with 22 percent of the youth being obese.

According to a 2009 report by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Pennsylvania ranks 32 in the country for overweight and obese children. But, a new initiative may have the state making a move up in the rankings.

The Pennsylvania Board of Education has approved a proposal that requires schools to include 30 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous exercise into the school day. This is on top of the physical education classes that are already in place.

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Tweens Targeted by Junk Food Ads

Tweens, or children between the ages of eight and 12, have $200 billion dollars in purchasing power. And, marketers know it. Because of this, tweens are often targets of advertising and marketing programs, which means they are seeing ads everywhere they go.

The Federal Trade Commission is a consumer protection agency that is responsible for enforcing laws to prohibit unfair and deceptive advertising and marketing programs. The FTC recently partnered with Scholastic to help children understand the power of advertising and become more educated consumers.

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