The FDA is finally stepping up to remove trans fat from a list of chemicals known as GRAS – or generally recognized as safe. This morning, the Food and Drug Administration opened up a 60-day public call for comments, scientific data, and other information they can use to help guide their decision to issue an all-out ban on trans fat, also known as partially hydrogenated oil.
“Based on new scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels, the [FDA] has tentatively determined that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids, or trans fat, are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for any use in food based on current scientific evidence establishing the health risks associated with the consumption of trans fat, and therefore that PHOs are food additives,” says the formal announcement made by the agency.
If this is finalized, the FDA says “food manufacturers would no longer be permitted to sell PHOs.”
That’s news that has the dietetic community happy as heart-healthy clams. We reached out to several thought leaders from the dietetic community to hear their reactions to the trans fat ban news first.
Those foods are suspect, not only because of the link between trans fats and cardiovascular disease, but because of wide-reaching inflammation from a host of artificial products. This could give people a reminder to eat real food. — Mary Hartley, RD, our resident nutrition expert and a NYC-based dietitian (more…)
By Rachel Berman RD, Director of Nutrition at CalorieCount.com
Last month, the USDA celebrated its one year anniversary of releasing MyPlate to replace the decades-old food guide pyramid in order to help Americans make healthier choices at mealtime. In case you haven’t seen it yet, MyPlate is a visual representation of what your plate should look like, sectioned off with 50% attributed for fruits and vegetables, 30% grains, 20% protein and a smaller circle next to the plate representing dairy. But is the government implementing this nutrition guide focusing on balance when it comes to the National School lunch program? With more than one-third of the nation’s children and adolescents being obese and students taking in about 20-50% of their daily food at school during the school year, is the math adding up to more nutritious school lunches?
This year, the USDA is requiring a revamp of school lunches due to first lady Michelle Obama’s initiative and as a component of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act signed by the president. Beginning July 1, 2012, new school lunch and general nutrition standards started rolling out and will continue for the next five years. The main changes, which are in line with MyPlate recommendations, include ensuring:
- Kids are offered fruits and veggies every day
- Offered more whole grains
- Only low fat or fat free milk
- Monitored calorie counts based on age to limit portions (more…)
By Rachel Berman, RD, Csr, Cdn for Calorie Count
As summer rolls in everyone wants to take full advantage of the longer days and warmer weather. This year, make the most of your summer by focusing on simple, healthy activities that you can do every day of the week!
Get moving together with your friends or family every evening for a walk, jog, or bike ride. This is a great way to enjoy the weather, have some bonding time with your loved ones, and get your exercise in. Working out with others will motivate you and keep you accountable, too. On the weekends, head to the local pool for a great full body workout.
Take a trip to the farmers market and check out what’s in season. You’ll be surprised at the vast variety of fruits and vegetables available, and each week you’ll find something new. Because this produce is recently harvested it will be more fresh and nutritious than produce from the supermarket. Buying from the farmers market also supports the community and local farmers! (more…)
By Rachel Berman, RD, Director of Nutrition at CalorieCount.com
Whether you are a new graduate off your campus meal plan and living on your own for the first time, or just need tips on how to stock your kitchen without breaking the bank, below are tips and staples for eating healthy at home when it’s a setting for one.
Plan Your Menu
Meal planning reduces stress, saves money, and reduces food waste. A fun money saver is to pick a “theme” each week. For example, if you pick Mexican food for one week, versatile ingredients for various meals might include salsa, black beans, avocados, cheese, corn, and whole wheat tortillas. With these ingredients plus staples (see below) you could make plenty from black bean quesadillas to spicy egg scrambles and southwestern salads or wraps.
Minimize Mess and Save Time with One Pot Methods
Slow cookers are inexpensive, come in many sizes, and recipes that use them do not require a lot of effort or clean up. Same idea goes with anything that stir-fries and just uses one skillet. (more…)
By Rachel Berman, RD – Director of Nutrition, CalorieCount.com
Spring time is here and your spring cleaning may already be well under way. This year, in addition to tackling your closet and cleaning underneath the couch, focus on ‘detox’-ing to spring clean your health. No, I’m not talking about expensive drinks and celebrity cleanses which can be harmful to our bodies with short-lived results. These are marketing gimmicks to get you to shell out money for something you will have to do time and time again. By making changes to your diet, you can naturally ‘detox’ with healthy foods. Add these foods on a regular basis to optimize your health and feel your best inside and out.
Leafy Greens such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale contain cancer fighting compounds called glucosinolates. They are also a great source of calcium which is important for muscle contraction and therefore, can improve the ‘spring in your step.’ Frozen veggies can often be even more nutritious than fresh since they are frozen at the peak of ripeness. Try always keeping a bag in your freezer for quick and easy addition to meals.
Citrus Fruits are loaded with soluble fiber. This type of fiber increases the amount of healthy bacteria in your colon to help flush out toxins from your system. They are also loaded with immune boosting nutrients and antioxidants such as vitamin C, which can improve the health of your skin. Choose the whole fruits, not juices, to get the maximum fiber benefit and improve satiation. (more…)
I know it is cliché but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. When I miss it (which is very rare) I’m definitely not myself – I do not have the energy I need to get through the morning or function the best I can. Breakfast, or ‘breaking your overnight fast,’ can also help get your metabolism moving for the day.
Pictured is a typical breakfast for me, including whole grain toast, 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter, a small banana, and a Greek yogurt. This kind of meal is a satisfying blend of protein, grain, fruit, and a dairy serving. You don’t necessarily need to eat every single food group from MyPlate at every meal. I think it’s important to focus on a balance of foods so that you get the nutrients you need and feel as satisfied as possible. (more…)
by Rachel Berman RD, Director of Nutrition, CalorieCount.com
Growing your own food sounds very overwhelming but you can do it easily with very little space, even in an urban environment. March is also the perfect time to start preparing your own garden to grow plants and herbs for the spring and summer months ahead. As if you need reasons why, it ensures you have fresh produce on hand, is a great way to teach your children about eating healthy, can help you save money, plus studies show that gardening relieves stress! From an environmental standpoint, you can help decrease pollution by growing without the use of pesticides and reduce the need for trucks that transport food all over the country. Finally, what could taste more delicious than a plant that you grow and pluck at its peak of ripeness just steps away from your kitchen door?
Contain your garden
Many people in urban environments do not have a backyard let alone a square foot of land to grow plants. By practicing ‘container gardening’, basically growing in any sort of container that can hold soil, plants and drain water, you can bring your garden to a patio, or even indoors as long as there is plenty of sunshine. Check out this comprehensive guide to how to get started with container gardening and what fruits, vegetables, and herbs are easiest to grow.