Tag Archives: usda

Sneaky Ways to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

It’s no secret that Americans’ diets could use some improvement. Currently, the USDA recommends that for the average 2,000-calorie diet, individuals should consumer 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day.

The USDA also reported that good nutrition is vital to good health and is essential for the healthy growth and development of children and adolescents. To help improve your current health and prevent certain disease, there are plenty of easy ways to eat a little more green in your diet.

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Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered Food Scrutinized

sugar beets

Monsanto, the company behind the development of the growth hormone rBGH (more commonly known as Bovine Growth Hormone) is in the news again. The company has been referred to as the most hated corporation for unfair business practices and is currently the focus of a U.S. District Court Judge. A recent ruling directed that the USDA has to begin regulating the company’s genetically engineered sugar beets.

Monsanto originally developed rBGH and marketed it for years before selling it in 2008. They have insisted that the use of the hormone is perfectly safe. This, despite the reality that Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and all 27 nations of the European Union have outlawed its use due to studies that have shown that the use of rBGH has caused elevated markers of IGF-1 in milk. The burning questions is, are elevated levels of IGF-1 in milk unsafe? (more…)

New Dietary Guidelines for Americans: What to Expect in 2010

Every five years the USDA and the HHS (US Dept. of Health and Human Services) publishes its Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This explanation is just what it sounds like, a guide to help Americans follow a healthy diet. The information from these guidelines also appears as the Food Pyramid that we’re all familiar with. According to the USDA’s web site, “[The Guidelines] provide authoritative advice for people two years and older about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases.”

In the latter part of 2010, the newest guidelines will be published. Prior to that, a lot of work is done to ensure that the most relevant and appropriate information is shared with the public. The Secretaries of each agency (Kathleen Sebelius at HHS and Tom Vilsack at USDA) create a committee comprised of 13 leading scientists to review the newest research in order to draft an advisory report that will then form the backbone of the newest guidelines.

This advisory report was just published, and offers an opportunity for public review before the document is finalized. Everyone from you to food lobbyists will have a chance to review, comment, and ultimately help shape the document. It is speculated that this version will be one of the boldest yet, with the rising obesity epidemic reflecting a great need for public education about nutrition.

“Obesity is the single greatest threat to public health in this century,” said Penelope Slade-Sawyer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the HHS, upon the release of this advisory report.

As such, the following eight guideline revisions are what appeared in the advisory report and a good example of what we can expect to see in the 2010 version. (more…)

Find Fresh Food at Your Farmers’ Market

photo: flicker user nataliemaynor

We’ve heard for years that local and sustainable is the gold standard we should strive for in our diets. Local and sustainable, though, can be difficult. After all, when you shop at your grocery store, how do you know what is grown in your locality and what is shipped in?

That’s where shopping at a farmers’ market comes in. Buying local means often the freshest fruits and vegetables, and many farmers’ markets have dairy or butcher shops, so you can effectively skip the grocery store, and help your own community at the same time. It’s a win-win situation.

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NFL Fights Childhood Obesity with Fuel Up to Play 60

What do you get when you combine the forces of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Dairy Council (NDC) and the National Football League (NFL)? A powerhouse team of knowledge, muscles and nutrition.

nfl play 60On September 17, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA will partner with the NDC and the NFL on their new youth-led health and wellness program, Fuel Up to Play 60. The program, launching to more than 60,000 schools nationwide this fall, will empower youth to take charge of their own health by being more active and eating healthier foods as well as improve the overall health of their school environment and community.

The program is open to all children and participation is quite simple: (more…)

Logos That Really Mean “Green” or Organic Foods

More and more products are coming out touting that they are less harmful to the environment or are earthy friendly, but in order to use this type of labeling the product must be manufactured with minimal energy and packaging should be made of recycled materials (think the paper grocery bags at Whole Foods supermarkets). Not all manufacturers follow the full guidelines that entitle this “green” messaging, so by referencing the logos listed below you can ensure that the products and produce you purchase are in fact “green”:

USDA organic logo For products to use the USDA labeling it must contain at least 95% organic ingredients that have not had any chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides or genetically modified organisms used. (more…)

Nutrient Rich Foods Index Ranks Nutritional Quality of Food

You read the ingredient list and looked at the nutrition label, but you’re still uncertain as to how healthy that box of granola is that you just tossed in your grocery cart. Well, wonder no more.nutrient rich foods coalition

Developed by two doctors, Drs. Adam Drewnowski and Victor Fulgoni, the Nutrient Rich Foods (NRF) Index is a validated, objective, and consumer-driven guide that ranks foods according to how nutrient-rich they are. Using the USDA Healthy Eating Index as a base, this new NRF Index takes into account all of the nutrients a given food contains, not just the ones to avoid or limit, like fat, sodium or sugar grams. (more…)

We are Still Hungry for Change with Food Inc.

In a June blog article written by Heather Ashare, our Yoga expert and daily contributor to DietsinReview.com, she wrote about Food Inc., a film that took a hard look at food production and consumption in the U.S. I wanted to share some interesting facts I learned from seeing the movie in no particular order, but all equally astounding to me:hungry for change logo

  • On average our food travels 1,500 miles from the farm to our plate
  • Because of the long distances that food travels, we no longer eat with the seasons and therefore eat produce that does not provide our bodies with all their nutritional benefits
  • Grocery stores now boast over 47,000 products to choose from – most of which can sit on shelves for weeks or even months (more…)

Government Plans to Improve Food Safety

biden and sebeliusVice President Joe Biden is known for his verbal gaffes. But this time, he’s spot on – it’s tough enough to afford food in these uncertain economic times, people should not have to worry about the safety of that food.

Biden co-chairs the Food Safety Working Group along with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The theme will be contamination prevention.

“The focus is to have a completely different emphasis than we’ve had in the past,” Biden said. “We’re going to make our new priority preventing (food contamination) from happening in the first place.” (more…)

Food Inc. is Hungry For Change

Food Inc. is the just-released movie, by director Robert Kenner, unveiling the dark and dirty underbelly of our food industry. As the movie’s byline suggests, “you’ll never look at dinner the same way.”

Photo courtesy of Food Inc

The documentary-style feature shows how the majority of the food we consume is controlled in the hands of just a few giant food manufacturers whose sometimes deplorable and shocking processing practices have not only been hidden from the American consumer but have had the consent of the government’s two food regulatory bodies, the FDA and USDA.

The movie, which features interviews with In Defense of Food author Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser of Fast Food Nation, is more than just a jaw-dropping expose that graphically shows our food travels from farm (or machine) to fork, but it also motivates all of us to think twice before we order a hot dog at the baseball stadium, grab a box of sugar corn popped cereal or select a few tomatoes from our mass grocer for a summer salad. (more…)