June 25, 2019

Groups Say Balanced Diet is Healthiest

Eighteen organizations have joined forces to promote a balanced diet as the healthiest for consumers. The collaboration is called "Back to Balance Coalition", which supports a "balanced, practical and achievable dietary guidance." The group has a new website. Their philosophy is that empowering choice is more effective than restricting it, and that Dietary Guidelines should be practical, affordable, and achievable. They say that restricting food choices by classifying foods as "good" or "bad may create unhealthy behaviors. Recommendations should stress the "traditional core principles of dietary guidelines: balance, variety, and moderation." Polling data shows that dietitians and other health professionals prefer balanced information instead of prescriptive food policies. The survey, … [Read more...]

CSPI, Others Target Junk Food Marketing to Children

Center for Science in the Public Interest, along with MomsRising.org, the American Heart Association, and Prevention Institute are asking candy companies to stop marketing unhealthy foods to kids. Hershey, Mars, and Nestle belong to the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), but Tootsie Roll, the American Licorice Company, Haribo of America, Perfetti Van Melle, and The Topps Company do not participate in that program. CFBAI participants are trying to change the children's food advertising landscape. Participants pledge to only advertise foods meeting "meaningful nutrition criteria" or to not advertise to children. They also agree to be held accountable by CFBAI for their actions. CSPI says that Haribo and Tootsie Roll Industries do not have any publicly … [Read more...]

Study Finds Consumers Think Added Sugar Labels Helpful

A study published in the December issue of the journal Obesity has found that consumers think more information about added sugars on nutrition labels will be helpful. Food manufacturers believe that more information would simply confuse consumers. The study looked at 500 U.S. adults in a voluntary online survey. Most consumers, or 63%, said that knowing how much added sugar was in a food product (as opposed to naturally occurring sugar) would be helpful. Just 18% of respondents thought that adding this information would be confusing, but most of those  people gave reasons "that suggest they were indifferent to the information," according to the researchers. Those reasons included "I don't know" and "I don't care." FDA wants to declare added sugar on food labels and has proposed a … [Read more...]

Trans Fat Consumption is Linked to Diminished Memory

According to a study by the American Heart Association, trans fat consumption is linked to diminished memory in working-aged men. The American Heart Association Meeting Report Abstract 15572 states that in a study of about 1,000 healthy men, those who consumed the most trans fats showed "notably worse performance on a word memory test." The strength of this association remained even after the study results were adjusted for age, education, ethnicity, and depression. Dr. Beatrice A. Golomb, lead author of the study and professor of medicine at the University of California-San Diego said in a statement, "Trans fats were most strongly linked to worse memory, in young and middle-aged men, during their working and career-building years. From a health standpoint, trans fat consumption has … [Read more...]

FDA Finalizes Menu Labeling for Restaurants and Vending Machines

The FDA has finalized two rules requiring calorie information on menus and menu boards in retail food establishments, including chain restaurants, and vending machines with 20 or more locations. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told reporters "Strikingly, Americans eat and drink about a third of their calories away from home - often consuming less nutritious foods and also underestimating the calories that they eat. These final rules will give consumers more information when they are dining out and help them lead healthier lives." Labeling foods is critical to help consumers make healthy food choices. These new rules provide a consistent standard across the country and may help reduce consumer confusion about this issue. The proposed rules were released in 2011. The menu labeling … [Read more...]

CSPI Files Objection to Vitaminwater Lawsuit Settlement

An agreement to settle a class action lawsuit against Coca-Cola over its marketing of Vitaminwater would not stop deceptive marketing of the products or give consumers any relief, according to an objection filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. CSPI sued Coca-Cola in a California federal court in 2009 citing deceptive and unsubstantiated claims marketing Vitaminwater as being healthier than soda. Coca-Cola has used words such as "defense", "rescue", "energy", and "endurance" to describe the product. Labels on the product also make claims stating that the products promote healthy joints, reduce the risk of eye disease, and other health benefits. The product contains no more than 1% juice, but references blueberry, strawberry, kiwi, peach, mango, and other fruits on the … [Read more...]

Environmental Working Group Releases Seafood Guide

Environmental Working Group has released a "Good Seafood Guide" that helps consumers consume fish and shellfish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, low in mercury, and harvested from sustainable sources. The agency offers a calculator, a guide to seafood, and an FAQ on how much seafood people should eat. The calculator lets you input weight, age, gender, pregnancy status, and heart disease condition. A personalized list of which fish to eat will be generated which includes more than 80 species. The seafood is divided into five categories: Best Bets, which include wild salmon and sardines; Good Choices, which include Oysters and Pollock; Low Mercury but Low Omega-3s, which include Shrimp, Tilapia, and Scallops; Mercury Risks Add Up, which include Halibut and Lobster; and Avoid, which … [Read more...]

New Study Says Artificial Sweeteners May Induce Glucose Intolerance

A new study published in Nature and conducted by researchers in Israel states that while more study is needed, artificial sweeteners may induce glucose intolerance and promote diabetes. They say that the chemicals change the composition of bacteria in your gut, which changes how the body handles sugar.  Studies have shown that these artificial sweeteners do not aid in weight loss, and may actually contribute to weight gain. Non-caloric sweeteners (NAS), or artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are widely used. While they are considered generally safe, scientific data supporting that view is sparse. Obesity and diabetes are linked to changes in gut bacteria, so the scientists looked at the effect of these chemicals on the microbiome in intestines. The researchers added saccharin … [Read more...]

Sunny Delight, Others Asked to Stop Marketing In-School Junk Food

Center for Science in the Public Interest has asked Sunny Delight, maker of Sunny D beverage, to stop a program that encourages parents, teachers, and students to collect 20 labels of the product in exchange for foods. CSPI said that Sunny D "encourages families to consume a drink that promotes diabetes, weight gain, and other health problems." The beverage only includes 5% juice; the remaining ingredients are sugar; artificial sweeteners sucralose, acesulfame potassium, and neotame; high fructose corn syrup; sodium benzoate; dyes Yellow 5 and Yellow 6; and water, along with vitamins and other ingredients such as xanthan gum and canola oil. A 16-ounce bottle of Sunny D Tangy Original has almost 7 teaspoons of sugar. CSPI nutrition policy director Margo G. Wootan said in a statement, … [Read more...]

CDC Vital Signs: Children Consume Too Much Sodium

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new Vital Signs monthly report that focuses on sodium in children's diets. The report states that a bout 9 in 10 U.S. children eat more sodium than recommended. Most is consumed as salt in processed foods. Children ages 6 to 18 years in this country eat an average of 3,300 mg of sodium every day before salt is added at the table. The recommended amount is less than 2,300 mg a day. A high sodium diet can lead to high blood pressure; in fact, about 1 in 6 children in this country has high blood pressure. Lowering sodium in your child's diet today can help prevent heart disease in the future. The taste for salt is established at a young age. Children eat about 15% of the daily sodium amount at breakfast, 30% at lunch, … [Read more...]

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