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Labeling GM food, autism diets, and eating what you’ve killed yourself – news to May 29 2011

With California considering labeling GM fish, a number of articles in major newspapers this week talked about the movement for the USA to label all genetically modified foods. Two different studies showed that eating dairy products isn’t bad for your heart. Caffeine consumption may make it harder for a woman to get pregnant, and nearly one in five autistic children are placed on special diets as a potential treatment. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, has taken on a personal challenge of only eating meats he’s killed himself, and says he’s learned a lot about sustainability as a result.

GM food

Labeling GM food May-19-11 Washington Post
In the absence of a federal law requiring labels for genetically modified food, 14 states are debating whether to mandate labeling for modified foods sold within their borders. The LA Times and Chicago Tribune also had articles on GMO foods and labeling.

Diets for medical conditions – heart disease, diabetes, fertility, and autism

Eating dairy doesn’t raise heart attack risk May-23-11 Consumer Reports Health
Eating dairy products doesn’t raise the risk of a heart attack, even though high-fat dairy products may raise cholesterol, according to a U.S. study.

Dairy product consumption is correlated to lower cardiovascular risk May-25-11 Diabetes Pro
The French epidemiological study DESIR showed that dairy products, despite their high saturated fat content, have cardiovascular benefits.

Gluten not linked to babies’ risk of diabetes May-20-11 Reuters
For babies at higher risk of childhood diabetes because of family history or genes, a gluten-free diet in the first year of life does not lower the chances of developing the disease, German researchers report.

Maple syrup may be beneficial for diabetes May-24-11 Diabetes Health
New research funded by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers shows that maple syrup contains compounds that possess anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been shown to fight cancer, diabetes, and bacterial illnesses.

Low-glycemic diet better than low-fat diet for some diabetics May-27-11 DiabetesPro
HbA1c reductions were significantly higher in the low glycemic vs. low fat diet group for obese T2DM patients. No intergroup differences in weight change and metabolic parameters were observed.

Caffeine consumption and fertility May-26-11 HealthDay
Caffeine consumption may make it harder for a woman to get pregnant.

Use of alternate diets common for autism May-26-11 Medscape (free registration required)
Nearly 1 in 5 children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are placed on special diets by parents as a potential treatment, new research suggests. Gluten-free and casein-free diets were the most common, with each cited by 55% of patients using dietary therapy. Fewer patients were on diets described as dye free, preservative free, low sugar, or restricted in corn or soy.

Other – restaurants and allergies, difficulties of reducing salt, Zuckerberg food ethics

Restaurants guidelines for catering to allergies May-13-11 iSante, reported in ProChef SmartBrief
Guidelines for restaurant chefs on how to handle special requests and create ways to prepare foods that you know are safe to serve.

Food makers’ challenge: Reduce salt, but keep taste May-26-11 MSNBC
The nation’s largest food producers are facing mounting calls from health advocates, Wal-Mart and even first lady Michelle Obama to reduce sodium in the processed foods that account for the vast majority of our salt intake. But many Americans are so wary that “low salt” will really mean “less flavor” that some companies are hesitant to even tell consumers when they make a reduction.

Food ethics – only eating meats you kill yourself May-26-11 Fortune
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is pursuing a new “personal challenge,” as he calls it. “The only meat I’m eating is from animals I’ve killed myself… I’m eating a lot healthier foods. And I’ve learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising of animals,” he says.

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