Bonnie Modugno, MS, RD
January 27, 2011
The new proposed school nutrition standards are better: more fruit and vegetables, more whole grains, no trans fats and less sodium. These are exactly the kinds of changes that will allow kids at school to eat far more nutrient dense food. It is a great start.
Years ago a Middle Eastern women in my nutrition class wondered why our meat in America didn’t taste as good as the meat in her home country. I was teaching a basic nutrition course at Santa Monica College at the time and didn’t know what to say. I was taken aback.
Today I know exactly what she means. Most beef in America is raised in CAFO’s–centralized animal feeding operations. The animals are fed corn, soy, even a USDA allotment of stale pastry and candy products (2.5 kg per day–almost 5 pounds) because it is so cheap and apparently doesn’t matter to anyone at USDA. America’s love affair with low prices has run amok.
Whole-fat dairy products may lower diabetes risk, so says a Harvard study in Annals of Internal Medicine. The following day Stone Hearth Newsletter noted a study in the American Dietetic Association Journal that states high-fat dairy product eaters have a 40% higher risk of mortality.
Let the food fight begin.
Actually, this food fight has been brewing for about 100 years. In Good Calories, Bad Calories (2007), Gary Taubes painstakingly chronicles the historic struggle to establish the nature of a healthy diet. Of note is a particularly one sided battle over the last forty years.
Stone Hearth Newsletters leads with a story titled, “We have no idea what, or how much, we are eating: new study” Click on the link and you are sent to a story in MedPage Today titled “Recipe for Healthy Eating Not Easy to Stick To” I would have never guessed they are reporting on the same story.
While Stone Heart’s title is basically sensationalistic and misleading, I find fault with both leads. Med Page today pretends that it’s author’s version of healthy eating is the only one. In addition, Med Page quotes a senior Consumer Reports Health editor who is obviously confused. Since when is dieting the same thing as healthy eating?
Today you can read Another Reason to Avoid Fast Food by Dr. Joseph Mercola. The subject is about toxic chemicals–specifically fluorocarbons– in our food, our water and measured in our body. His answer is to avoid fast food. What a distortion of the truth.
Fast food bashing is quite popular and an intensely emotional exercise today. Some people love to hate and revile fast food despite growing sales. I find the hysteria both misguided and disingenuous.
Probably the most stated and universally accepted nutrition sound bite is this one: Fast Food makes you fat. People believe all the public health hype. If you frequent a fast food establishment, you are inherently eating bad food, food that will have your cholesterol soaring and your waistline expanding. Hog wash.
What makes perfectly intelligent and often well educated people accept and believe such a ridiculous sound bite? How does one sector of the food environment get so much grief about its food when obesity and health issues linked to food are so enormous (pun intended)? The incidence of obesity in America– and child obesity in particular– is a bigger and more complex problem than any one food source.
Higher protein, lower refined carbohydrate diets best help patients maintain weight loss. A six month diet study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that after intense weight loss, a higher protein diet coupled with low glycemic carbohydrate resulted in less weight regained. Arne Arstrup, one of my favorite researchers, recently completed the Diogenes study with colleagues at the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen.
A total of 772 European families participated in the study, which was comprised of five different diet types:
Nutrition misinformation is ubiquitous. Sometimes the misinformation is lack of deeper thinking. A recent Huffington Post entry by Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, caught my eye for just that reason.
Ms. Kirkpatrick addresses 5 dissonant myths probably tied together since it’s Thanksgiving week. She addresses myths about carbohydrates, eating late at night, weight gain during the holidays, the nutrient value of fresh vs. frozen food and the five second rule about eating food after it has been dropped on the floor. Each of the discussions left me wanting. Here’s my take on each of them.
November 15, 2010
I tend to celebrate the range of food choices in my community and forget that having choices is not always a blessing. Making choices requires that you have enough information, time and energy to make decisions. It is easy to forget that sometimes all that effort can feel overwhelming.
The sodium war heats up with USDA dietary guidelines threatening to lower sodium recommendations to 1500 mg a day. The logic escapes me when current intake ranges around 3600 mg a day and the current guideline of 2300 mg a day hasn’t enjoyed any success.
An editorial in the Nov, 2010 edition of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition argues the point. The conclusion? “Sodium intake in the US adult population appears to be well above current guidelines and does not appear to have decreased with time.”