Serve Health to Your Friends

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Do your friends contribute to your unhealthy food choices?

According to a series of studies published in the Journal of Consumer Research, they may do just that.

In the first  study, some participants were asked to select four foods for a friend.  They could choose from 16 foods – a mixture of “healthy” and “indulgent” choices.  The other participants were to choose from the same foods for themselves.

Those choosing for themselves selected a healthy balance of healthy and indulgent foods, while the other group chose mostly indulgent foods.

The second study at a supermarket found that shoppers did, in fact, purchase more indulgent foods for friends and family.  Yet another study in the series showed that when aware of their friends’ health goals, people chose a more balanced mix of foods.

The authors note that this could be a real public health problem as it may be yet another contributor to Americans’ weight problem.  Overweight and obesity are a cause of certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

How can you help your friends and family with their health goals?

Lots of Cheese, Chicken & Soft Drinks

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Source: ERS

Americans’ love of cheese and chicken has steadily grown over the last century. And soft drinks, first introduced in the 1940s, has now overtaken coffee and milk as the beverage of choice. These are just a few fun facts into how American’s eating habits have shifted over the last 100 years, thanks to recent USDA data.

USDA’s Economic Research Service collects information on U.S. food availability that now spans 100 years. The data measures food supply, not intake, but it’s a gauge of what we’re eating (and drinking) over time.

The fact that soft drink consumption has overtaken other common and less caloric beverages may play a role in the obesity epidemic, which is one reason AICR recommends that people avoid sugary drinks for cancer prevention.

You can look at more ERS food availability data here.

The data also suggests Americans have an ever-increasing amount of food choices, including lots of fruits and vegetables.

What’s a food that you couldn’t live without that wasn’t availble 100 years ago? For me, frozen broccoli is in the top ten.

Tuna Goes Mediterranean

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In true Mediterranean style, today’s Tasty Tuna and Bean Salad in our

Health-e-Recipe combines piquant flavors into a springtime dish. White cannellini beans are popular in Tuscany, while chickpeas (garbanzos) have been used in Turkey and Syria since ancient times. Both types of beans supply folate, a B vitamin, and healthful fiber. Combined with tuna, a rich source of omega-3s, red pepper’s vitamin C – plus more cancer-fighting phytochemicals in the onion, parsley and mint – you’ve got a tuna salad that beats the plain, mixed-with-mayo version any day. To use up leftover ingredients, find cancer-preventing recipes that use them by searching our Test Kitchen. Click here to receive weekly Health-e-Recipes.