Pop quiz! Which of the following are you most likely to remember?
A) The name of your prom date
B) The name of your 7th-grade nemesis
Chances are, it’s one of the first two, right? Who remembers algebra?
The point is, the average school day is filled with distractions. Most of them—like crushes, friends, and feuds—are actually good. They’re part of a different, but equally important, type of learning. But some classroom distractions aren’t so helpful, and some of the food that kids are eating these days are prime examples. The behavioral effects of poor nutritional choices include sugar crashes, foggy cognition, and hyperactivity. Not to mention the fact that plenty of kid-targeting foods are fundamentally messy, sticky, and disruptive.
Over the past few years, nutritional standards have improved in the lunchroom, but the classroom door is still wide open to the perils of junk food and empty calories. A recent study published in Childhood Obesity found that snacks brought from home are more likely to be high in fat and sugar, and that sack lunches often lack fruit, vegetables, and dairy products compared with school lunches. With that in mind, I took a good, hard look at what kids are eating these days and rounded up a list of foods that should be banned from school. Here are six foods that just don’t make the grade, compliments of the all-new Eat This, Not That! 2013 guide.
1. Cheetos (1 oz)
150 calories10 g fat (1.5 g saturated)
250 mg sodium
How unfortunate that Cheetos—the only chips represented by a kid-friendly cartoon character—are among the worst snacks in the store. They’re high in sodium, low in fiber, and are made with neurotoxic monosodium glutamate. Plus, when the iconic orange coating fuses with fingertip oil, it forms a putty-like crud that affixes to seemingly any surface. Finally, if you’ve ever seen a kid eat Cheetos, then you know that a lot of finger-licking goes into the process. Now think about all of the pathogens in a classroom—that’s a lot of sick days on the line.
THE YEAR IN BAD FOOD: Want to end the year on the right nutritional foot? Make sure to steer clear of the calorie culprits on our list of the Worst Foods In America!
2. Hostess Powdered Sugar Donettes (4 donettes)
240 calories12 g fat (6 g saturated, 0.5 g trans)
16 g sugars
The problem with this breakfast is written—or, rather, sprinkled—all over it: sugar. Each serving packs four teaspoons, enough to prime your child for a mid-morning energy crash. A bowl of Lucky Charms with milk would supply less! And don’t forget about the sugar that doesn’t make it into your kid’s mouth—that’s the sticky, chalky residue that will inevitably end up on bus seats, desktops, and in lockers. Do everyone a favor and find a better breakfast.
3. Kellogg’s Pop-tarts, Frosted Cherry (1 package, 2 pastries)
400 calories10 g fat (3 g saturated)
32 g sugars
Pop-tarts may be stocked in same aisle as the cereal and pancake mix, but breakfast fare they’re not. The primary ingredients here are refined flour, various sweeteners, and oil—fruit makes up less than 2 percent of each pastry! Plus, Kellogg’s skews the serving size. If it really intends one pastry to be a serving (like it lists on the nutrition label), then why did it package two per packet? (For other examples of sneaky portioning, check out The 9 Biggest Serving Size Rip-Offs.) A bowl of Teddy Grahams cookies—which contain fewer calories, less fat, far less sugar, and more fiber per serving—would make a better breakfast.
4. Skittles (1 package)
250 calories2.5 g fat (2.5 g saturated)
47 g sugars
What Skittles lack in fat, they make up for in sugar. They also contain nine different artificial dyes, including yellow 5, which the Journal of Pediatrics linked to hyperactivity in children. All that sugar and artificial stimulants? Not only does a combination like that make it difficult to focus on learning, but it could also lead to disruptive behaviors. Plus, all of those food dyes bleed all over kids’ hands and cause staining.
DO YOU HAVE A BEVERAGE BELLY? Americans take in about 355 calories of added sugar every day, much of it from sodas and other sugary drinks. Your best defense: Avoid everything on our list of the 20 Worst Drinks in America.
5. Yoo-Hoo (15.5 oz bottle)
230 calories2 g fat (1 g saturated)
45 g sugars
I endorse chocolate milk at any age, whether it’s served as an after-school snack for kids or post-workout fuel for adults. The problem with Yoo-Hoo is that it’s not milk. It’s actually a bizarre blend of water, high fructose corn syrup, and whey—and a high-calorie one at that. If your child drank 16 ounces of chocolate milk, she would gain 16 grams of protein. Yoo-Hoo offers a paltry 3 grams.
NUTRITIONAL REFUGE: Snag a copy of the all-new Eat This, Not That! 2013 Edition for thousands of food swaps that will help you lose up to 20 pounds in six weeks—without ever dieting again.
6. Coke (16 oz bottle)
0 g fat
54 g sugars
Earlier this year, New York City began regulating serving sizes of soft drinks for adults. If grown-ups are unable to moderate portions, do you really think impulse-heeding children will be able to, especially when soda manufacturers include multiple servings per bottle? Absolutely not. This is particular concerning considering that the Center for Science in the Public Interest estimates that caramel coloring, a carcinogen and soda ingredient, is responsible for roughly 15,000 cancers in the U.S. every year. Between that, the calories, and the caffeine, Coke—and soda in general—is one drink that every school should suspend.
By David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding
Original article: http://health.yahoo.net/experts/eatthis/6-foods-should-be-banned-school
Rob St. Mary was already traveling light when he moved to Colorado in March. He sold many of his belongings, including his car, packed his cats and a U-Haul, and set out from Detroit to a job at Aspen Public Radio.
Just a few months into his new life, he is even lighter, having shed nearly 25 pounds of Michigan fat.
He isn’t dieting or working out any more than he did in Michigan. But he’s found there’s a reason that Michigan is one of the nation’s fattest states and Colorado is the nation’s slimmest.
“It’s the lifestyle,” he said. “(Michigan) is so tied to the car culture, plus it’s gray all winter long. Here, it snows, but then the sun comes out again, and you go outside.”
St. Mary changed more than his address when he moved. He takes advantage of the admittedly unique amenities of Aspen, a wealthy town of 6,000 year-round residents that swells to 20,000 in winter and summer. He rides a bus to work and around town, or does most of his errands on foot. He has a membership in a bike-share network. Just that level of simple exercise integrated into the fabric of everyday life was enough to chip away the pounds.
But even in less-affluent parts of Colorado, a go-out-and-play mindset prevails. Cherie Talbert, a Michigan State graduate who moved to Denver from Grand Rapids eight years ago, said the city’s infrastructure, as well as its 300 days of sunshine a year, encourages outdoor activity.
“The housing is more expensive and you don’t have as much room indoors, but we have huge parks, rec centers, bike trails,” she said. “My husband rides everywhere.”
Why Michigan is obese – why any person or population is obese – isn’t a mystery. We consume far more calories than we burn with activity. But why Michigan is so fat, top-10 in the nation fat, is harder to unpack. Many factors contribute to obesity, including thorny ones like culture and poverty. And even in skinny Colorado, residents are getting fatter. The poor in Colorado, as well as Hispanic adults, have obesity levels at or near the national level, said Susan Motika, of the Prevention Services Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
And Coloradans who live away from its recreation-mad cities, particularly in the rural eastern parts of the state, have the same problem. Seven of the state’s counties track with the nation’s obesity average.
What’s more worrisome, Motika says, is the trend over time. Nearly one-third of Americans are not just overweight, but obese, defined as a body mass index of 30 or above. In Colorado, the percentage more than doubled over 16 years, from 10.3 to 21.4 percent.
Motika and others can point to many factors leading to this growing national spare tire, including but not limited to sprawl (which puts people in cars for longer periods), the explosion in fast-food restaurants, a decline in home cooking and portion creep. And so the war on obesity takes place on many fronts.
A mitten strategy
In Michigan, Dawn Rodman runs the state’s “Health and Wellness 4×4 Plan,” a public awareness campaign intended to slim down the state through four active strategies – healthy diet, exercise, annual physicals and avoiding tobacco – while educating residents on four measures of health – body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol level and blood glucose. And, Rodman says, there is good news to report:
According to the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a telephone survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Michigan’s obesity rate fell slightly this year, from 31.3 percent of residents being reported obese last year to 31.1 percent obese this year. That was enough to change the state’s national ranking, from fifth fattest to 10th.
Rodman is aware this is hardly cause for celebration, especially when one considers that another 34.6 percent of Michigan residents are considered overweight, with BMIs between 25 and 29.9. That means two-thirds of state residents weigh more than they should. And again, there are many reasons.
“It’s the environments in which we live,” Rodman said. “Are there opportunities to get outside and feel safe to exercise? It’s ‘food deserts’ – if you don’t have a car, you need a grocery within walking or bus distance. It’s where people work. The emphasis (at work) is to do more with less.” If, say, you’re working so hard that even a 30-minute lunch hour stroll is frowned upon, that’s going to be reflected in the number on the scale, too.
State and local governments, health-care institutions and corporations intercede where they can. The federal Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Acts of 2010 is pushing food served in schools in a healthier direction.
Rodman said that SNAP-Ed, the educational arm of the federal food-stamp program, tries to spread more health-conscious cooking skills to recipients. The Double Up Food Bucks program allows Bridge card holders to get tokens for twice the amount debited, if spent on fruits and vegetables at Michigan farm markets.
But both women emphasize that the effort to slim down the nation takes place at a very personal level. For all the attention paid to policy changes, from banning extra-large sugary drinks to slimming school lunches, the battle is fought in private in homes, at dinner tables, in grocery stores. Motika said that while policy analysts consider ways to provide more access to sidewalks and bike paths, ultimately the decision to live a more healthy life “has to be voluntary.”
And if Michigan can’t import Colorado’s weather or environment, it can adopt some of its ideas, said St. Mary, the Michigan expat.
“Part of the culture (here) is to take a gym break (at work),” he said. “People say, ‘I’m going to the gym, and I’ll be back in 90 minutes.’ No one would ever do that at any job I worked in Michigan. Maybe it’s part of our shift-worker mentality.”
Original Article: http://bridgemi.com/2013/12/time-for-michigan-to-drop-the-drumstick/
Take the thinking out of meal prep, suggests trainer Brett Hoebel: Find a few fast, healthy recipes for each meal of the day and keep the ingredients on hand.
It's time to put up or shut up. But that doesn't mean you have to go for broke eating healthy. The myth that eating healthy is too costly is just that: a myth. Here's the truth behind the lies about healthy eating and what it will cost you.
When it comes to eating healthy, decision is the ultimate power. Make the decision to lead a healthy lifestyle and become powerful instead of powerless.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say, "fast food is the cheapest option in my neighborhood," or "I really can't afford to eat healthy right now." The fact is a $2 bag of brown rice, $15 package of chicken and $10 in bulk veggies can feed a family of four for an entire week! This option costs much less than a $4 fast food meal each weeknight (if you can find a fast food meal that cheap these days).
Get real. There are far too many programs, web apps and meal plans that will literally show you how to eat healthy on a budget, so don't knock it until you actually try it!
"I don't have time," you say? Please … do I really have to list all the screen time on the Internet we use up doing absolutely nothing for our health? Not mention our drive time and leisure time going to waste.
Incorporate planning for meals into your daily routine, and multi-task when you can. Cooking takes up valuable time, so if you are working hard throughout the week, I suggest preparing meals in bulk on a day off, and keeping a go-to list of quick recipes for breakfast, lunch or dinner so you can make healthy meals on the go.
"These vegetables are bland," It continues to shock me how many people dislike whole foods and exchange them for processed ones. But guess what all of the processed foods try to mimic? The taste of whole foods.
Skittles are fruit-flavored, but a natural kiwi, mango, and peach are so tasty without any additives. Tossed vegetables with herbs and olive oil are divine, but we give them up for bland-tasting fried potatoes drenched in ketchup – talk about bland.
Don't believe the hype: Healthy food IS tasty, and unhealthy food is some of the most bland stuff on the planet. That's why the ample amounts of salt, sugar and other additives have to be added to processed foods – they don't have any flavor! So don't get fooled. Taste can be altered. Just take the time to find the best recipes for healthy foods that meet your taste expectations.
Grocery Shopping Tips
• Avoid the white devils – white sugar, white milk, white rice, white salt and white flour.
• Focus on lean, healthy protein like chicken or fish, loads of fruits, veggies and nuts and a huge helping of H2O!
• Stick to brown or wild rice if necessary, and choose almond milk over dairy when you can.
• Use unprocessed, Himalayan salt and a healthy dose of fresh herbs and spices for seasoning.
• Purchase healthy fats like coconut oil, egg and avocado.
The Steps to Eating Healthy at All Costs
1. Skip the four-syllable ingredients: If you can't imagine your breakfast bar growing out of the ground, falling off of a tree or running around in the wild, it probably isn't a whole food! A nutrition label with ingredients you can't pronounce is a processed mess you should avoid. My rule of thumb: three ingredients or less, period.
2. Stay away from packages: A general rule of thumb is the more packaging, the more processed. If you can pick up the piece of produce or have the butcher pass you the meat, you are in good shape. Frozen, dried, canned, bagged or boxed food is usually not whole food. Be very wary of terminology like "all-natural," "natural-tasting," "lite" or "low-calorie." Whole foods don't need a marketing campaign; they're healthy, and you know it.
3. Check the expiration date: If the product doesn't expire until next year and is from a land far, far away, it is likely chock full of nasty preservatives. If it doesn't expire on the shelf for months and months, what makes you think your stomach will easily digest it?
The first step is always the hardest because it takes a few weeks for your body to get used to the new way of eating, and many people have withdraws and cravings in the beginning. Instead of focusing on the food, focus on your positivity and health, and keep smiling. After four weeks of eating healthy, you will become happier and more energized. In twelve weeks, your family and friends will notice the difference and need to know your secret.
You are what you eat. Sound off…
By: Brett Hoebel
Orginal Article: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/essential-tips-eating-healthy-budget-article-1.1528712
People with life-threatening peanut allergies understand how vexing the wait has been for a proper remedy, prevention, or cure.
In a mouse study, researchers at National Jewish Health in Denver have discovered what might be a breakthrough in treating peanut allergies. They found that levels of the enzyme named Pim 1 kinase rise in the small intestines of peanut-allergic mice. Depressing or blocking the activity of Pim 1 significantly reduced the allergic response to peanuts.
The enzyme, Pim 1, plays "a crucial role in allergic reactions to peanuts,” said Erwin Gelfand, MD, senior author of the study and chair of pediatrics at National Jewish Health. “As such, they offer promising new targets for the treatment of allergic reactions to peanuts, and possibly other foods.”
Dr. Gelfand and his colleagues reported the discovery in the October 2012 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
In a mouse model of food allergy, the researchers found that Pim1 kinase levels increased in the intestines of allergic mice that had been fed peanuts. Levels of Runx3 mRNA, a partnering protein, dropped significantly in the allergic mice, however. When researchers inhibited Pim 1 kinase, the mice no longer experienced diarrhea and other symptoms associated with their peanut allergy.
Histamine, a potent cause of allergy symptoms, dropped to almost baseline levels after treatment with the Pim 1 blocker.
“Our data identified for the first time that Pim1 kinase contributes in important ways to the development of peanut-induced allergic responses, “ said Gelfand. “Targeting this novel ... axis involving Pim 1 kinase and Runx3 offers new therapeutic opportunities for the control of food-induced allergic reactions.”
Original article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/06/peanut-allergy-treatment-_n_2082530.html
"Path to a Possible New Treatment for Peanut Allergies" originally appeared on Everyday Health.