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Low-calorie foods, clean food, vegan popularity, sustainable fast food – news to August 5th 2012

What’s in the news about food restrictions

Here are links and summaries for recent news and opinion about food restrictions.

Lower-calorie foods – Unilever, McDonalds, low-alcohol drinks, calorie measurement

Unilever campaigns to cut 100 calories from top sellers Jul-16-12 QSR Magazine
The latest World Menu Report commissioned by Unilever Food Solutions finds that while more than 65 percent of consumers surveyed said they would like a “slightly” healthier dish when eating out, they are not demanding an overhaul of menus. By pledging to the Seductive Nutrition Challenge, restaurant chefs and operators agree to reduce a top menu item by 100 calories and enhance the menu description of the dish to make it more appealing to guests.

Women are driving trend for low-alcohol drinks Jul-18-12 FoodBev.com
Demand for low-alcohol and low-calorie beverages is increasing around the world, according to findings in the new IWSR Insight Report 2012, and women are said to be driving the trend.

McDonalds “Favorites Under 400 Calories” Jul-25-12 The Food Channel
While some health organizations continue to criticize the hamburger chain’s overwhelming presence as a major sponsor of the London Olympic Games, McDonald’s USA introduced “Favorites Under 400 Calories” – a new menu platform featuring existing food and beverage choices.

Momentum builds to overhaul global calorie system Jul-31-12 Food Navigator
A storm in the US over how calories are measured could cross to Europe and an overhaul of the system is long overdue, according to one nutrition expert. Some say that the Atwater system for measuring calories, based on research in the early 1900s, would not bear the scrutiny of modern methods.

Diet and healthy eating trends – healthy eating, clean food, juicing, avoiding extremes

Increased interest in healthy eating Jul-17-12 Progressive Grocer
According to Mintel, some 31% of consumers choose healthy foods to lose weight and 30% do so to maintain weight. Some 67% of males think they are a good judge of healthy foods versus 76% of females. Perhaps that’s because 64% of women say they read nutritional information on products, while only 56% of men do the same. 67% of women and 57% of men claim to eat healthy food more often to set a good example for their kids.

Clean food movement growing Jul-24-12 USA Today
The term generally refers to the eating of food as close to its natural state and point of origin as possible, and the movement is a reaction against the health problems caused by our growing fast food-oriented diet. Eat whole, minimally processed food.

Popularity of juicing Jul-31-12 Washington Post
Juicing, said to cleanse and detoxify the body and help you take in more nutrients, is becoming more popular and easier with new-generation juicers. It’s also a way to disguise the taste of kale and other greens. Beware juices heavy on fruit as they can be high in sugar.

Shoppers driven by nutrition Aug-1-12 Shopper360
Customers are attempting to make more of their calories count for better overall health, with 55 percent of shoppers switching to whole grain bread, 33% showing an interest in protein on the label (up 10 points since 2009), and 30% switching to Greek yogurt (up 9 points versus 2011).  32% of shoppers report that they are buying more foods based on nutritional components versus last year. People are steering away from empty calories and asking, ‘what’s in my food, and how is it good for me?’

Many new diet books avoid food extremes Aug-4-12 LA Times
There is one consensus among the most popular new diet books on the market: They are largely free of food extremes. All emphasize the need to scrutinize food labels and ditch chemical-laden products in favor of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats.

Vegetarianism, veganism, and meatless days – vegan popularity, meatless Monday backlash

Vegan diets surging in popularity Jul-24-12 US News & World Report
Vegan diets have lately been surging in popularity, thanks in part to the example of celebrities who are publicly forswearing all animal products (Michelle Pfeiffer, Carrie Underwood, Russell Brand, and Ozzy Osbourne, to name a few others). While many vegans still take the stand because they believe in animal rights, a growing number are swayed by mounting research showing a profound impact on health.

USDA meatless Monday posting retracted after beef industry calls foul Jul-25-12 HuffPost Food
The Agriculture Department says a statement on its website encouraging its employees not to eat meat on Mondays was made without proper clearance. The agency removed the posting hours after the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association denounced it in a news release.

Vegetarians statistics from Gallup Jul-26-12 HuffPost Food
In the USA, 5% are vegetarians and 2% are vegans. 7% of women, 4% of men. 8% of single people, 5% of married people. 5% of 18-29 year olds, 4% of 30-49, 7% of 50-64, 7% 65 and older. 6% of people educated to high school or less or some college; 3% of college graduates, 5% of post-grads. 7% of liberals, 5% of conservatives.

Health conditions – lactose intolerance, allergies, bloating, Alzheimer’s disease

Lactose-free dairy launches tripled in 5 years Jul-18-12 New Hope 360
Global launch numbers for lactose-free dairy products more than tripled in the five-year period to the beginning of 2012, according to Innova Market Insights data.

Treating children’s egg allergies with eggs Jul-18-12 Food Product Design
New research published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests giving children with egg allergies increasingly higher doses of eggs (oral immunotherapy) can eliminate or ease reactions in most of them.

7 tips for beating bloating during PMS Jul-23-12 Joy Bauer’s Food Cures
Avoid carbonated beverages; limit gas-producing foods (such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, beans and cabbage); avoid salty foods; limit sugar alcohols; don’t overdo it on fiber; avoid large meals; incorporate protein in every meal

Allergy-friendly restaurants Aug-2-12 Fox News
Restaurants have become increasingly more aware of the array of allergens that many suffer from and have made several changes to serve those with allergies. Restaurants that cater to gluten, dairy, nut, egg, and soy allergies.

Butter flavoring linked to Alzheimer’s disease Aug-3-12 Food Navigator USA
An artificial food flavoring compound – diacetyl (DA) – used for its butter-like taste and mouthfeel may be linked with key processes in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research.

School food – smoothies, nutrition standards

Jamba Juice healthier smoothie beverage for schools Jul-16-12 BusinessWire
Jamba Juice Company and National Dairy Council (NDC) have collaborated to create a new fat-free milk and whole fruit smoothie for schools that contains no added sugars. Delivers USDA recommended one-half serving of fat-free dairy and a full serving of whole fruit in 8 fluid ounce size.

School nutrition standards – Go, Slow, Whoa Aug-2-12 Florida Today
Foods in schools now are categorized by the “Go, Slow, Whoa” concept adopted by the Coordinated Approach to Child Health program. “Go” foods are deemed safe and healthy at any time. “Slow” categorizes those that can be eaten sometimes, but not as a steady diet (e.g., pancakes). “Whoa” foods should cause children to stop and ask themselves if the food in question would be good for him or her.

Gluten-free – hospitals, quinoa

Hospital to offer gluten-free menu options Jul-24-12 6HD Omaha
The Celiac Sprue Association is teaming up with Creighton University Medical Center, Omaha to bring gluten-free menu options to the recently renovated cafeteria.

Some quinoa varieties may be unsuitable for strict gluten-free diets Jul-25-12 Food Navigator USA
A new study has questioned advice to include quinoa in gluten-free diets for those with celiac disease, finding that some varieties may trigger symptoms. Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Other – Chick-fil-A boycott, sustainable fast food, and more

Artificial sweeteners: sugar-free, but at what cost? Jul-16-12 Harvard Health Blog
The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) have given a cautious nod to the use of artificial sweeteners in place of sugar to combat obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, all risk factors for heart disease. However, use of artificial sweeteners can make you shun healthy, filling, and highly nutritious foods while consuming more artificially flavored foods with less nutritional value.

Innova Market Insights top 10 IFT trends Jul-18-12 Food Product Design
Pure is the new Natural; Green is a given; Local and regional foods; Premium foods; Food for seniors (easy to open, easy to digest, reduced acid, for strong bones, specifically formulated, nutritionally balanced, improved health, easy to read labels, and lightweight packaging); Anti-aging; Scientifically-proven claims; Reformulating after regulation (e.g. trans fat); Dietary niches; Plant protein

Sysco pledges to stop gestation crates Jul-24-12 HuffPost Food
Sysco, the world’s largest broadline food distributor, is the latest to join the ranks of other restaurant chains and organizations that have pledged to stop using pork from distributors who use gestation crates.

Chick-fil-A boycott Jul-27-12
Some people are avoiding Chick-fil-A after president/CEO Dan Cathy judged against gay marriage. Here are some other reasons people may avoid the chain.

Nature Valley products are not ‘100% natural’, lawsuit claims Jul-30-12 Food Navigator USA
General Mills is the latest food company to face litigation over claims that its products are 100% natural, with a lawsuit alleging that maltodextrin and high maltose corn syrup used in Nature Valley products are artificial ingredients.

Sustainable fast food at Lyfe Kitchen Jul-31-12 Wired Magazine
At Lyfe Kitchen, all the cookies shall be dairy-free, all the beef from grass-fed, humanely raised cows. At Lyfe Kitchen there shall be no butter, no cream, no white sugar, no white flour, no high-fructose corn syrup, no GMOs, no trans fats, no additives. Ingredients include brussels sprouts and quinoa. Mike Roberts, former president and chief operating officer of McDonald’s, is starting this venture.

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