What’s in the news about food restrictions
- Organic food healthfulness – a Stanford meta-study questioned the benefits of eating organic foods; there was a backlash about how scientific the study was.
- Low-sodium claims are declining on new food product launches. However, this may be due to “stealth health” – companies lowering sodium in their products without advertising it to consumers.
- Most Americans believe low-fat is better than low-carb. However, more obese people now believe that low-carb diets are more effective, and a meta-study reinforced that idea.
- More companies are phasing out gestation crates for pork.
- McDonald’s is opening its first vegetarian restaurants, at pilgrim sites in India.
- A study links BPA to obesity in children – but only in white children.
- Removing soda can help fight obesity.
Here are links and summaries for recent news and opinion about food restrictions.
Organic food – healthy or not?
Why organic food may not be healthier for you Sep-4-12 NPR
A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds scant evidence of health benefits from organic foods.
Questioning Stanford meta-study on organic benefits Sep-5-12 Consumer Reports
News reports covering the findings may be oversimplifying or distorting what the study really found, according to our in-house experts, and consumers shouldn’t be misled into believing that there isn’t a benefit to paying more for organics, particularly for certain populations. Also, see Is organic meat safer?
Salt – Low-sodium claims, stealth health
Boston Market to take salt off table, cut sodium in 3 dishes Aug-21-12 USA Today
The casual-dining chain, best-known for its spinning chicken rotisseries and its tasty but often-salty side dishes, is announcing plans today to remove salt shakers from guest tables at all 476 locations. At the same time, the chain will unveil plans to reduce sodium levels in its three signature items — rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes — by 20% in the next six months. Pepper shakers will remain on tables.
New product launches with low-sodium claims decline Aug-31-12 Food Product Design
Products with low/no/reduced sodium claims have seen some decline over the past years according to new findings from Mintel. Globally, launches of foods with low/no/reduced sodium claims declined 5% over the 2010-2011 period, appearing on just 2% of total food launches in 2011.
‘Stealth health’ may account for decline in low salt label claims Sep-4-12 Food Navigator
European food manufacturers are embracing ‘stealth health’ when it comes to salt reduction, according to International Programme Lead for World Action on Salt and Health (WASH).
Low-fat and low-carb – low-fat image good, low-carb more effective
Americans believe low-fat trumps low-carb Aug-17-12 Everyday Health
A new Gallup poll indicates that 63% of all Americans believe a low-fat diet is healthful while 30% say the same about a low-carb diet. Overweight or obese respondents were more likely to believe low-carb diets are healthier.
Low-carb diet gets more support from new analysis Aug-30-12 USA Today
A review of 17 different studies that followed a total of 1,141 obese patients on low-carb eating plans — some were similar to the Atkins diet — found that dieters lost an average of almost 18 pounds in six months to a year. Overall, participants had improvements in their waist circumference, blood pressure, triglycerides (blood fats), fasting blood sugar, C-reactive protein (another heart disease risk factor) as well as an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol. LDL (bad) cholesterol did not change significantly.
Food ethics – Crate-free pork, sustainable seafood
Wienerschnitzel hot dog chain to enforce crate-free pork Sep-4-12 QSR
Galardi Group, franchisor of Wienerschnitzel, the world’s largest hot dog chain, announced that it is committed to purchasing pork only from suppliers with documented plans to end their use of gestation crates by 2022. The company operates 350 locations and serves more than 120 million hot dogs each year.
Jack in the Box to end gestation crates in pork supply Sep-8-12 QSR
Jack in the Box, Inc., has become the latest major food retailer to announce that it will eliminate controversial pig gestation crates from its pork supply chain. The San Diego-based company operates and franchises more than 2,200 Jack in the Box locations and 576 Qdoba Mexican Grill locations.
Shaw’s expands sustainable seafood program Sep-10-12 Seafood Source
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of its commitment to sustainable seafood, Shaw’s Supermarkets has expanded its fresh seafood offerings. The U.S. supermarket chain now offers 18 Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified or Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI)-verified products.
Vegetarian – McDonald’s, caviar
McDonald’s launches first vegetarian restaurants to target Indian pilgrims Sep-4-12 The Telegraph
Vegetarian restaurants will open next year as part of a wider expansion strategy in India, where McDonald’s has only 271 branches.
Is caviar vegetarian? Sep-19-12 Village Voice
Chicken eggs are vegetarian, but are fish eggs? In most cases, the fish is cut open to get the eggs. A Latvian company uses ultrasound to determine when the eggs are ready in the sturgeon from which the best caviar are gathered, then massage the eggs out of the fish, first producing a tiny incision that makes the process more comfortable for the creature.
Other – BPA, obesity, and ethnicity; soda and obesity
California Pizza Kitchen puts trendy quinoa on the menu Aug-20-12 Pizza Marketplace
Quinoa is making its debut on CPK’s menu as the quinoa salad, made with arugula.
How consumers choose healthful foods Aug-27-12 Supermarket News
Infographic. Consumers are more likely to look for positive nutritional benefits such high fiber content or whole grains than they are to seek out products with “reduced” negative attributes, such as sugar or carbs, according to a report on healthy eating choices in the U.S. from Mintel.
Fasting during Ramadan for diabetics Aug-30-12 Diabetes Self Management
Fasting is easier if you have an insulin pump. Health comes first – if you have a medical problem preventing you from fasting, you are always excused. Fasting may have benefits, especially for people with type 2 diabetes.
Fructose and sugar substitutes alter gut microflora Aug-31-12 Physicians Briefing
High consumption of fructose, artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols cause a loss of diversity in the gastrointestinal tract microflora, and may contribute to the development of metabolic disorders and obesity.
McDonalds calorie counts on menu boards in New York Tri-State area Sep-12-12 PR Newswire
McDonald’s will expand the listing of calorie information on restaurant and drive-thru menus nationwide. As of September 17, the 600 McDonald’s restaurants throughout the New York Tri-State will also post calories to further inform and help customers and employees make nutrition-minded choices.
Study links chemical BPA to obesity in white children Sep-18-12 LA Times
A study finds young whites with high levels of exposure to bisphenol A are more likely to be obese. For other ethnic groups, the link is weak.
‘Safe’ levels of Monsanto herbicide and GM crop linked to cancer Sep-20-12 Food Navigator
Long term exposure to even relatively low levels of Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup and a genetically modified resistant crop strain could result in a ‘greatly increased’ risk of tumors’ and premature death, according to new findings in rats.
Food addiction Sep-20-12 New York Times – Well column
Studies demonstrating food addiction, and how to overcome it.
Studies expand on soda’s role in growing obesity Sep-21-12 LA Times
New studies make a direct link between sugary drinks and added weight, showing that removing such beverages slows weight gain in heavy teens and reduces the odds of obesity in other children.