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Are Your Kids Over-Fortified? Too Much of a Good Thing Puts Their Health at Risk

kids-overfortified

Millions of well-intentioned American parents, unbeknownst to them, are over-fortifying their kids with too many nutrients. That’s according to a report published earlier this year by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

EWG, an American-based health and research organization, analyzed the nutrition facts labels for 1,550 breakfast cereals and found that 114 cereals were fortified by the manufacturer with 30 percent or more of the adult Daily Value of vitamin A, zinc, and/or niacin. They also looked at 1,000 snack bars and found that 27 common brands were fortified with 50 percent or more of the Daily Value of at least one of those nutrients.

Among the most fortified cereals were:

  • General Mills’ Total line
  • Wheaties Fuel
  • Kellogg’s Product 19
  • Smart Start
  • All-Bran Complete
  • Cocoa Krispies
  • Krave

The most fortified snack bars included

  • Balance
  • Kind
  • Marathon

Food Awards: Best & Worst Breakfast Cereals

When foods are fortified, vitamins and minerals that aren’t originally in a food are added by the manufacturer. Classic examples include adding vitamin D to milk, iron to flour, fiber to cereal, and iodine to salt. Since 1998, folic acid has been added to breads, cereals, and other products that use enriched flour in an effort to reduce Spina Bifida and other serious birth defects. The idea of fortification was developed almost 100 years ago to treat common nutrition-deficiency diseases.
But it is possible to consume too many fortified foods, especially by children, because the Daily Values are set for the needs of adults not kids. Furthermore, the Daily Value standards were set in 1968 and so some are higher than levels currently deemed to be safe.
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Idaho has Cheapest Groceries, Virginia Most Expensive: Can You Feed Your Family a Meal for $15?

grocery prices by stateEMBED THIS GRAPHIC

Do you think you could feed your family a healthy meal with only $15? It all depends on where you live, and what you’re willing to buy.

To get the ingredients to make a simple meal at home, you would spend an average of $15. That’s compared to an average of $6.50 for a single meal from a fast food restaurant like McDonald’s. When looking at base cost, fast food certainly seems like the cheaper option, and that’s appealing to a family crunched for cash.

However, the ingredients you could get for $15 would make a meal for four people — we priced chicken breasts, potatoes, apples, and milk — and the meal would be better for you than a cheeseburger and fries from the nearest drive-through.

5 Family Menus for $15 or Less

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to fresh ingredients, nor can everyone afford them. In some states, the cost of a meal’s worth of groceries is far more than $15. In Virginia, for example, you would need nearly $30 for the same amount of food you could get for less than $10 in Idaho. How is it possible that a family can have more or less affordable food depending on where they live?

Food inequality is a growing problem in the United States, as shown in a recent study released by the Harvard School of Public Health. Though diet quality has improved among people of higher socioeconomic status, the same cannot be said for those on the other side of the spectrum.
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Trouble in Oz: Study Supporting Oz-Promoted Diet Pills Formally Retracted

dr. oz

Dr. Oz is making headlines again for products he’s promoted not passing “scientific muster.” Four months ago, the well-known doctor was skewered in a Senate hearing on false claims made in advertising for weight loss products; in part due to a lack of scientific evidence supporting those claims. Now, a study supporting diet pills containing green coffee bean extract (GCBE) and promoted by Dr. Oz has been retracted.

The study was one our own Mary Hartley, R.D. came out against, and now it seems the study’s lead researchers want to take it all back.

“The sponsors of the study cannot assure the validity of the data so we, Joe Vinson and Bryan Burnham, are retracting the paper,” the scientists posted in a statement online.


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What Do Americans Eat? Kale, Gluten-Free, and Organics Top 2014 Food Trends

food statistics

Food trends come and food trends go. One year we’re all raving about Sriracha, the next we’re falling for the cronut. For the last 30 years, Parade has surveyed those trends and other American eating habits.

This year, foods like snack bars and frozen sandwiches have risen in popularity. As more people eat on the go, convenience foods are going to see a natural rise. According to Parade‘s survey:

  • 27 percent of main dishes made at home are frozen or ready-to-eat meals.
  • 80 percent of our meals are prepared at home, and over half of them are made from scratch or fresh ingredients.


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The Brown Fat Takeaway TIME Magazine Missed

scientist

Full confession: I love to read about brown fat, a relatively newly discovered form of fat that burns calories directly. Brown fat might be the key to weight loss, writes Alice Park, who covers breaking health news for TIME magazine. Last week, she published, Why Brown Fat May Be the Key to Weight Loss. Kudos to TIME for covering valuable research (when others did not.) But there’s a lot more to add. First, some words about brown fat.

The body makes two kinds of fat: white fat, familiar to all, the storage form of energy, and brown fat that is not stored but burned directly as fuel. When triggered by exposure to the cold, brown fat generates heat (white fat just sits there). Hibernating animals produce brown fat to stay warm during the winter. Newborn babies have lots of brown fat, their own little furnaces, to protect against the cold. We used to think that adults could not make brown fat, but now we know everyone can turn white fat into brown when there is need.
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