Bountiful Beans

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Today’s AICR Health-e-Recipe helps you fill up, not fill out.

Three-Bean Chili uses beans to satisfy your appetite while adding cancer-fighting folate (a B vitamin), fiber and plant-based protein to your meal. Kids love ’em, they come in many colors and they’re used in almost every kind of cuisine . Beans dry mixed

And they’re cheap! Soak your own dried beans or empty a can into a colander, rinse and drain them. Then toss them into hot dishes, cold salads, or blend them with some salsa for a delicious, healthy dip.

Check AICR’s Test Kitchen for more bean recipes, or order our free brochure, Beans and Whole Grains: The New American Plate, for lots more info and recipes.

Subscribe to AICR’s Health-e-Recipes, and get a free healthy, tested AICR recipe delivered to your inbox every Tuesday.

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    Would You Like Extra Calories With That?

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    Yesterday, Mya posted about a study that showed eating fast food was associated with an increase in these measures associated with metabolic syndrome (high BMI, large waist and high blood pressure).  As evidence mounts that eating fast food can contribute to overweight and obesity, many cities and states are considering legislation to require these establishments to include nutrition information on their menus.Nathans

    Last year, New York City began requiring some chain restaurants to post calories on menus. Health officials hoped it would curb the number of obese New Yorkers. But do these measures affect how people choose their foods?

    One year later, two studies show differing results from the calorie count experiment.

    The first study examined 1,156 fast-food purchases in low-income, minority neighborhoods. The authors found that although nearly 28% of people who saw calorie labels said it influenced their choices, they did not find any change in calories purchased.

    The second study, conducted by New York City health officials and presented at the 2009 Obesity Society conference, reported that customers who took the calorie information into account (about 15% of those surveyed) bought about 106 fewer calories than customers who didn’t use the information.

    While it’s probably too early to say whether or not these initiatives will make a difference in people’s food choices in the long run, experience has shown that knowledge alone doesn’t typically translate into behavior change.

    What do you think – will putting calorie counts on the menu help people make healthier choices and reduce their caloric intake? Are there policies that could nudge people toward healthy behavior?

    AICR offers tips, self-assessment tools, and ideas for small step dietary changes to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
    Read more about calories and fast food from AICR Nutrition Consultant, Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN.

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      13 Years of Eating Out

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      With all the news of the growing obesity epidemic, a lot of stories have focused on fast food. Now, a new study suggests that eating a lot of fast food not only leads to weight gain, but it also may lead to a host of other health issues linked to heart disease and cancer development.

      This might be one of those ‘duh’ studies but for those of us who go out to eat frequently, it’s nice to see a study that differentiates between fast food and sit-down style restaurants, as this study did. (Most studies on this issue group all restaurants together.)
      In the study, the University of North Carolina researchers looked at data spanning 13 years from 3,643 young adults who were participants in a cardiovascular study. The cardiovascular study – called CARDIA – collected data on the participants every few years.

      The goal was to see how eating away from home related to a cluster of factors associated with the metabolicneon drive thru sign blue and yellow syndrome, including a high BMI, large waist, and high blood pressure. Metabolic syndrome puts people at higher risk for heart disease, but a lot of studies have shown it also puts them at risk for cancer development. This makes sense, given that AICR’s new report found obesity causes an estimated 100,000 cases of cancer a year.

      Overall, compared to the diners who ate the least fast food, those diners who ate at fast food places the most often weighed more, had larger waists, higher triglycerides, and showed many of the other signs of metabolic syndrome. Eating at sit-down style restaurants was unrelated to these risk factors. But whether it was at a fast food or sit-down restaurant, people who increased the amount of times they ate out per week over the course of the study experienced a slight increase in weight and waste size.

      Want some help choosing what to eat at restaurants? Many fast food places have their nutritional information online. You can also find a lot of the places on one site at Fatburgr.

      For those sit-down meals, visit Health Tips for Dining Out for some simple restaurant strategies.

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