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New Under 400-Calorie Menu at McDonald's


McDonald's has a new online promotion to highlight both its sponsorship of the US Olympic team and its under-400 menu options. Win When USA Wins Gold Olympic promotion. This interactive quiz feature lets you learn more about the healthier options at McDonald's.
 
Do you know how many servings of whole grain are contained in the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal? How about how many grams of protein are in the Premium Grilled Chicken Sandwich? You can learn that and more from the new highlighted information. Not everything on the under-400 calorie favorites list are good options -- and most contain a very high amount of sodium. Here are some of the better choices from the new list.  
Posted 7/30/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 82 comments   29,057 views
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New Study Reveals Possible Way to Lose Weight for Good


A small study recently published in The Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed the clinical responses of three popular diet regimens in people that had already achieved weight loss. The goal of the study was to not only look at energy expenditure or the amount of calories burned but also evaluating other health markers such as hormone levels, enzymes, blood fats, and insulin sensitivities.
 
Study participants were obese or overweight adults between the ages of 18 and 40. Participants all followed the same initial diet for three months then moved to a one-month random rotation through three test diets that each mimicked popular eating plans. The initial three-month diet plan contained 45% of total calories from carbohydrates, 30% from fat, and 25% from protein. This macronutrient composition is consistent with generally accepted ranges that promote adequate intake of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. A month later, each participant began a one-month rotation with one of these popular eating plans.
Posted 7/23/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 17 comments   23,420 views
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Poll: Do You Drink Hot Beverages to Cool Off?


On a hot day, most people like to have a cold beverage to help cool down. However, some like to drink hot tea or other hot beverages to help cool down. Yes, you read that right, they drink hot beverages to cool down, but that seems counterintuitive, doesn't it? Joe Palca from NPR recently looked into this and spoke with neuroscientist, Peter McNaughton, to find out why you might want to drink a hot beverage on a hot day to cool off. The bottom line of what he found is that we have a lot of TRPV1 receptors on our tongue that respond to heat, so when we drink a hot beverage, our brain alerts our body to sweat, therefore cooling the body off.
 
Posted 7/19/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 46 comments   12,626 views
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Does 'Disney-Approved' Mean It's a Healthy Food?


Disney began focusing on providing healthier kids' meals at their Parks and Resorts beginning back in 2006. Now kids' meals routinely include low-fat milk and carrots unless parents opt out. Disney internal statistics reveal that parents will stick with these healthier side options six out of ten times instead of requesting substitutions. With more than 12 million kids' meals served annually in Disney Parks and Resorts in the U.S. alone, the changes are making a difference in how children are eating. In September of 2010, The Walt Disney Company launched Disney Magic of Healthy Living, a national multimedia initiative to help families raise healthy, happy kids.
 
Last month the Walt Disney Company took another step forward in their brand commitment to healthy eating by introducing new food advertising standards. Under Disney's new standards, after 2015 all food and beverage products seeking advertisement, sponsorship, or promotion on any Disney-owned television channels (including Saturday morning programming on Disney owned ABC), radio stations, or Web sites will need to comply with the company's new nutrition criteria for programming targeting children under the age of 12.

 
By the end of 2012, consumers will also begin seeing the new Mickey Check symbol on Disney-licensed food products. Disney anticipates this tool will help consumers easily identify nutritious choices in stores, online and while visiting Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Disney also updated their nutrition guidelines to reflect current federal standards and recommendations. The new criteria include not only specifics related to calories but also to reducing saturated fat, sodium, and sugar.

Let's take a closer look at the details of the Disney Nutrition Guideline Criteria to see how they stack up nutritionally.
Posted 7/16/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 17 comments   8,168 views
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Bacon Sundaes: Dream Combo or Nightmare Snack?



What do you get when you top vanilla soft serve ice cream with chocolate fudge and caramel sauce? An ice cream sundae of course. Now for a limited time you can top that with hardwood smoked bacon pieces when you visit Burger King and make it a Bacon Sundae!



The bacon and ice cream combination seems to be the new taste sensation of the year. In February, Jack in the Box launched its bacon-flavored milkshake followed by Denny's Maple Bacon Sundae creation. Both were only offered for a limited time and now BK is following suit. It seems that other sweet-salty combinations like Bacon Chocolate Bars, Bacon Maple Cupcakes, and Bacon Lollipops have also become popular.
 
Burger King didn't just introduce the Bacon Sundae for the summer. They are also featuring other favorites from BBQ pork or chicken sandwiches and sweet potato fries to frozen lemonade for a limited time. Their new It's BBQ Day at Burger King commercial highlights all the best things about summer in America like picnics, lemonade and ice cream to also help get you in the mood. How does the new Burger King Bacon Sundae stack up nutritionally?

Photo by SparkPeople member KALORIE-KILLAH

Posted 7/9/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 47 comments   9,745 views
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Poll: Should Skinny People Be Banned from the Gym?


Having joined a gym recently just for the fitness classes (which I am still enjoying), I was appalled when I came across an article talking about a gym in Canada saying that they don't allow skinny people to join their gym. While I can understand where the founder of that gym is coming from in regards to creating a friendlier atmosphere for those that are overweight, I believe that there are plenty of people that have feelings like they are not adequate enough to be in the gym, including "skinny" people.  
Posted 6/28/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 248 comments   22,322 views
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High Fructose Corn Syrup Won't Become Corn Sugar


The Corn Refiners Association petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) several years ago requesting a name change for high fructose corn syrup. According to the Association, the change was to alleviate confusion about the ingredient. However, some believed it was nothing more than a way to trick consumers who had become wary of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
 
Between 1970 and 2005, corn sweeteners like HFCS replaced cane and beet sugars at an increasing rate and became the leading substitute for sucrose because of its lower cost. Analysis conducted in 2005 found that HFCS-42 (one of the popular blends of HFCS) cost an average of $13.6 cents per pound compared to beet sugar that averaged $29.5 cents per pound. Because of its liquid form it is easier to blend in foods than sugar and has become a common sweetening agent in soft drinks, sports drinks, and condiments as well as numerous other processed foods.
 
Last month the FDA formally rejected the name change request largely because the FDA defines sugar as a solid, dried, and crystallized food and not liquid syrup. Did you know that HFCS is just one of many sweeteners produced through the corn refinery process? Let's get to know some of them--and take a look at the corn syrup debate.
Posted 6/18/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 13 comments   8,400 views
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Sugar, Oh How Sweet It Is


When you read the ingredient listing on a nutrition label, do the sugar terms jump out at you? Perhaps listings like sugar, brown sugar, or honey cause you to pause. What about listings such as evaporated cane juice, malt or turbinado sugar? Do they register as sources of added sugar?
 
Sugar has been in the news quite a bit recently. Learning ZoneXpress, a USDA national strategic partner, announced a new educational poster highlighting the sugar content found in popular beverages.  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) just released a newly updated position paper regarding full-calorie and low-calorie sweeteners.  Why is there so much attention on sugar?
Posted 6/11/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 3 comments   7,838 views
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Should Bake Sales Be Banned?


School groups are always trying to raise money to support their activities. Tougher economic times and tightened school budgets make fundraising from candy sales or bake sales commonplace. My daughter did her fair share of making delicious puppy chow for lunchtime sales to support the National Honor Society. Our son has sold scores of candy bars to benefit the band.
 
In an attempt to formulate new school nutrition regulations, state health officials in Massachusetts recently took some heat for their proposed ban on bake sales. Legislation set to go into effect in August would prohibit selling sweets in school during the day as well as immediately before and after the school day. After an outcry of concern with the impact the legislation would have on fundraising efforts, Massachusetts state officials backpedaled on the bake sale ban. This is not the first state to try to tighten up control on sweets in school. Back in 2010, a school district in Michigan banned cupcakes for school celebrations.This recent potential ban caused many to ask if bake sales should be banned.
 
But what if they were turned into educational opportunities?
Posted 5/28/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 88 comments   14,131 views
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Is Tuna Scrape the New Pink Slime?


Last month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration identified raw yellowfin tuna as the source of a salmonella outbreak that reached more than200 people throughout 24 states and the District of Columbia. Salmonella Bareilly was the organism and many of the people that became sick had eaten spicy tuna rolls. As a result of the outbreak, the Moon Marine USA Corporation in Cupertino California voluntarily recalled their product labeled as "Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA." Nakaochi Scrape is the scraped backmeat from the spine of the tuna. It resembles ground fish and is generally served raw, often in spicy tuna and other rolls.
 
Over the past several months we have heard a great deal about lean finely textured beef (LFTB), commonly referred to as pink slime, in our food supply. Now that attention has turned to the pulverized fish, many are asking if it is the fish version of pink slime.
 
Ken Gall, Extension Associate at Cornell University and member of the National Seafood HACCP Alliance Steering Committee believes comparing the two processes of removing meat from bones is unwarranted. This is because additional processing and ammonia treatment is required to create lean finely textured beef but not for tuna scrape. While this differentiation is helpful, it still leaves questions. If tuna scrape doesn't require additional processing or chemical treatments, what is it and is it something we should be concerned about?
Posted 5/14/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 22 comments   8,616 views
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Poll: Should States Ban Junk Food at Schools?


Earlier this year, Coach Tanya blogged about the changes being made to school lunches, but five years ago, the state of California had already started to cut down on junk food in school cafeterias. With the changes that were made in California high schools, there have been some interesting findings that may help reduce childhood obesity. The law in California put limits on the amount of fat, sugar and calories that are found in their cafeteria’s, along with the foods and snacks that are available on school grounds, such as vending machines.
 
Posted 5/10/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 66 comments   15,001 views
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In the News: Should Kids Know Where Food Comes from?


A new children's book entitled Vegan is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action was released last week with mixed reviews over concerns about the books use of graphic images and a potentially unhealthy diet message. Author and illustrator Ruby Roth's previous book That's Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things provided children in vegetarian homes with a colorfully illustrated explanation  to help them understand their family's eating style. (Learn more about the origin of the book here.) Vegan is Love continues the conversation into a deeper context by tackling tougher topics like animal testing and the use of animals as entertainment.  
 
Ruby Roth told ABCNews.com that her book is intended to introduce ideas of compassion and action that help children think, eat, and treat the environment differently. Some of the biggest concerns from critics relate to how children may feel regarding the suggestions to boycott visits to the zoo, circus, or aquarium in addition to avoiding the inclusion of meat or dairy in the diet. Child psychologist Jennifer Hart Steen shared her concern with Matt Lauer on the "Today" show about how children may process the overall message especially if they don't follow a vegan lifestyle. There is also some concern regarding the illustrations especially for younger children.
 
Here is what the author has to say about her new book.
Posted 4/30/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 39 comments   8,100 views
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Is This School Lunch Revolution in Action?


Earlier this year the First Lady unveiled the new school lunch guidelines. The revised USDA nutrition standards require schools to update menus to increase fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free fluid milk or low-fat dairy while lowering sodium, saturated and trans fat levels.
 
Implementing the revised standards is expected to increase food costs for many school districts that are already facing tight budgets. However, creative food service administrators have already begun providing healthier meals while still maintaining their bottom line. One creative program that has caught their attention seems to be a quick service option with a goal to "provide added nutrition benefits to the most popular entrée served in schools to help give kids energy to learn, grow and play." When administrators notice how the cost effective quick service option easily meets the revised USDA guidelines while also collaborating with reputable organizations like the Whole Grains Council, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and the School Nutrition Association, the program certainly increases in credibility. So what quick service program is targeting schools?
Posted 4/19/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 42 comments   9,879 views
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Food on the Run: New Burger King Menu Review


Perhaps you have seen one of the new Burger King ads with David Beckham, Jay Leno, or Salma Hayek  or heard about the controversy related to the pulled one for Mary J Blige. In either case, more than likely you have heard the company has added new menu items. With the first major food expansion since the chain launched in 1954, we thought it was important to take a closer look.
 
Critics suggest the new menu additions like frappes, fruit smoothies, specialty salads, and snack wraps are very similar to the menus items of their top-rated competitors. While the 10 new menu items do match McDonald's offerings rather closely, perhaps the new updates are also a sign of the times. With a saturated fast-food market, maybe offering nutrition conscious options is a necessity just to stay competitive. Regardless of the reason for the new menu items, here are the nutrition details for the new choices to help you decide if they are right for you and your family.
Posted 4/9/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 88 comments   25,646 views
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The Real Deal with 'Pink Slime'


If I offered you lean ground beef with the assurance that it was high in protein, low in fat, and tested to be free from Salmonella and E.Coli, wouldn't you think it was the best beef in town (except if you are a vegetarian of course)? Would you think the meat sounded as good if I told you it contained lean meat "trimmings" and had been treated with ammonium hydroxide?
 
There has been a lot of talk about pink slime in the news recently, even though this isn't new and has been reported about previously. The movie Food, Inc talked about it back in 2008. British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver taught about it on his ABC series Food Revolution several years later. Last year Taco Bell faced a lawsuit and a media firestorm over accusations that they used fillers in their taco meat. So why all the hype now about the use of anti-microbial agents and meat trimmings especially when the USDA has repeatedly cited the process to be generally recognized as safe (GRAS) with an update as recently as last year?
Posted 3/19/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 81 comments   25,828 views
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