What does healthy mean? Tell FDA

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Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced they want to redefine what the “healthy” claim on food packages means. Healthy is an official term that food manufacturers are allowed to put on a processed food if it meets certain FDA nutrient requirements.

The FDA rethinking comes after a manufacturer objected that their product could not be labeled healthy because it isn’t low fat – it contains whole nuts. They won their case, citing US Dietary Guidelines that say type of fat has more relevance to health than the amount of fat in a single food. High fat foods like nuts and avocados are part of overall healthy and cancer-protective diets, like the Mediterranean diet.

It’s important to know that these claims are designed for processed foods or food products, as a marketing tool – not for whole foods like vegetables, fruit, beans and whole grains like brown rice and barley. Marian Nestle explained this in her Food Politics blog last week. Read more… “What does healthy mean? Tell FDA”

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    Can your kitchen layout cut your calories and help with cancer prevention?

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    Can seeing food in your kitchen and easy serving make a difference in how much you eat? A study authored by an architect and an environmental psychologist published this month suggests that may be an unintended outcome of the popular open kitchen design in homes.

    That’s important because how many calories you eat affects your weight, and that affects cancer risk.

    Published in Environment and Behavior the authors looked at how much the open plan – easy to see the food and get to the buffet – affected the amount of food participants (57 university students) ate, compared to a closed plan. For one dinner they ate in the open plan, for another they ate in the closed plan. They used a university food and dining research lab and made it mimic a closed plan by putting decorative wooden screens to block the diners’ view of food. Read more… “Can your kitchen layout cut your calories and help with cancer prevention?”

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      Health Talk: How many vegetables should I be eating? What about my kids?

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      Q: I keep seeing recommendations about cups of vegetables, but I’m confused about how many I should be eating. What about my kids?

      A: If you’re like most adults, you should be aiming for 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day, as seen in the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern from the Dietary Guidelines. This amount also holds for children ages 9 and older. Targets for children age 8 and under, are less – about 1 to 1.5 cups a day.

      “Cups” of vegetables mostly refers to a portion equal to one measuring cup for raw or cooked vegetables. For lettuce, spinach or other raw leafy vegetables however, two cups count as a cup. A medium carrot, celery stalk and small pepper each count as half a cup. If you don’t want to measure, an average adult fist is a rough guide to a 1-cup portion. So you can aim for one to two fist-size portions of vegetables at lunch and dinner each day. Read more… “Health Talk: How many vegetables should I be eating? What about my kids?”

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